Why Bar Chocolate Is So Much Better Than Chips For Homemade Cookies

Worrying about bar chocolate or chocolate chips in your cookies seems like the epitome of a luxury problem. They are both chocolate, one of the most beloved treats in the world, and you are about to eat cookies. What's there to complain about? Of course, when you treat yourself to some cookies you want them to be the best cookies they can be — you want to break apart that cookie and have the chocolate melting out like you're in a Tollhouse commercial. And if you've made your fair share of cookies in the past, you know they won't always live up to that ideal. So, as picky as it may seem, it might be time to start worrying about chocolate.

Chocolate doesn't just bring flavor to a cookie, it also brings texture. Soft pockets of chocolate studded throughout a cookie bring a pleasing, silky contrast, whether they be buttery and crisp or dense and chewy. You might assume recipes use chocolate chips because they're the best option for that job, but the reality is that we use chocolate chips either out of convenience, unquestioned tradition, or both. It is called a chocolate chip cookie after all, and you have no reason to think anything other than chips are the right choice. But bar chocolate is made differently than chocolate chips, and those differences manifest themselves in how the two react when they are baked in a cookie.

Bar chocolate melts better in cookies than chocolate chips

The classic chocolate chip cookie look might be of a cookie studded with chips, but that visual focus can lead to a less pleasant eating experience. Instead of soft, melty chocolate, you sometimes get hard, tough chunks. Chocolate chips are generally made with more stabilizers and preservatives than other forms of chocolate, which help them hold their shape, but often have a negative impact on taste. Chocolate chips also use less cocoa butter, keeping them hard and uniform in structure, but making them less smooth when melted. Chocolate bars, on the other hand, melt great and have a more authentic chocolate flavor with limited additives. 

Beyond aesthetics, chocolate chips' advantage is convenience: The little pre-portioned pieces can be dumped into cookie dough. However, that's a small upside given the less-than-ideal way they've been known to eat. Bar chocolate can easily be hacked up into pieces and you have control over how big you make them. In fact, the irregular shapes of chopped bar chocolate bring their own advantages, as you get a mix of bigger bites of chocolate with flecks sprinkled more evenly through the cookie. 

Don't let the name fool you: When it comes to upgrading chocolate chip cookies, or any cookie, bar chocolate is the way to go.