The chips are down

New from Nestle is a boxed mix from which to prepare Toll House chocolate chip cookies. The box contains everything but the butter and egg.

The box front says it makes "over 4 dozen cookies." (The nutrition panel says it contains 26 servings of 2 cookies each, so 52 cookies.)

The box is big enough to suppose that it prepares the recipe on the 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips, which that bag says is about 5 dozen (60) cookies. In fact, the smallish bag inside the mix's large box makes just half of that recipe. It contains only 6 ounces of chips, and half of the other dry ingredients called for on the 12-ounce bag of chips.

So if you're accustomed to getting 60 cookies out of the "from scratch" recipe on the bag, and you make the same size cookies — what Mr. Tidbit will call "standard size" — from this new mix, you're going to get more like 30 cookies than 48 or 52.

All of that is by way of saying that the box should say "Makes about 2 ½ dozen cookies."

At one store, where the mix costs $3.54, the same ingredients bought separately would cost $1.92. Adding the butter and egg, the mix as prepared costs $4.47 — for 30 cookies that's about 15 cents each. The same ingredients bought separately total $2.85 — about 10 cents each.

Plenty of dough

Nestle also makes refrigerated cookie dough, in a roll or precut so it breaks into 24 (standard-size) cookies. Both are priced about the same as the new mix, which makes 30 standard-size cookies. But with the dough you don't have to buy butter and egg, so it's still about the same 15 cents a cookie.

But the refrigerated dough is made with margarine or shortening, not butter. (You didn't really think there was a way to come out ahead, did you?)

In memory

Dear friends: Monday would have been my son Joe's 42nd birthday. He died in a seven-story fall from his college dorm room in Madison, Wis., in 1989. He had taken LSD; he was 18.

Hug your kids.

Al Sicherman