best of the best chocolate chip cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon each vanilla and salt
2-1/4 cups flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 1 teaspoon of hot water
1 package (12 ounces.) semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, cream butter; gradually add sugars, creaming well. Beat in eggs, vanilla and salt. Stir in 1-1/4 cups flour, then baking soda mixture. Stir in the remaining cup flour until blended. Fold in chocolate and walnuts. Roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls. Chill dough, if necessary. Or, if preferred, drop by rounded tablespoons. Place 2 inches apart on foil-lined cookie sheets. With the back of a wet spoon flatten balls to about 1/2 inch thick. Bake in upper third of preheated 375 oven 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; cool 30 seconds or until firm enough to remove to rack to cool completely. Store airtight. From Family Circle magazine.

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