In the May/June 2009 issue of Cook’s Illustrated, the magazine staff took on the challenge of rating various brands of chocolate chips to try and find the very best for making chocolate chips cookies. In the test, they looked for brands that had a good chocolate flavor and a good amount of cocoa butter in them. Many brands of chocolate chips – especially when you get into less expensive brands – use less cocoa butter than, say, a chocolate bar does. This means that the chips retain their shape more during baking – not necessarily a good thing because it means that you end up with bits of chocolate, not chocolate evenly melted throughout the cookie. Cook’s Illustrated winning chip was Ghirardelli’s 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips for their excellent flavor and great melt. Finishing in a close second were Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Chips, Guittard’s Semisweet Chocolate Chips, Hershey’s Semisweet Chocolate Chips and Ghirardelli’s Semisweet Chocolate Chips. The Nestle Tollhouse chips and chocolate chunks finished at the bottom of the list and were not recommended.
I think that chocolate chips, much like chocolate, are really a matter of personal preference. Of course, it’s great when the chocolate is melting and gooey when a chocolate chip cookie comes out of the oven, but you’re only going to snack on a brand you really like straight out of the bag. I’ve tried just about all of the brands mentioned above and liked them. My current favorite brand is Guittard, but I also regularly (meaning just about always) stock up on Ghirardelli chips and the semisweet chocolate chips from Trader Joe’s, which are made with great chocolate and are a great deal, to boot.
Here are a few more chocolate chip reviews: