Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Brand Isn't Ghirardelli, But Another San Francisco Icon

There are several tips for baking delicious cookies (including a bunch from Martha Stewart), but using high-quality chocolate chips is at the fore. After we tasted 15 chocolate chip brands, the battle of brown morsels rendered Ghirardelli and Guittard our favorites, two San Francisco staples. When compared directly, the clear winner was Guittard. The Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips at 48% cacao offered deep chocolatey flavors that surpassed every other brand — it's the combination of quality and good flavor that won our chocolate-smitten hearts.

First, Guittard's golden packet is an eye-catcher. The brand presents itself well with a shiny wrapping that makes you curious to try the product, so why not? Second, the Fair Trade Certified ingredients tell us that the product was made under ethical conditions that protect farmers, workers, and the environment from exploitation.

The chocolate chips are also hypoallergenic, except they may contain milk residue from factory equipment. Rest assured, those with a nut allergy or gluten intolerance will love the Guittard gems. But the one thing that our Tasting Table taste testers couldn't overlook was the richness Guittard chocolate chips offer. You typically go for these when you want a full-blown chocolate dessert, and the touch of vanilla adds a delightful dimension to the flavor profile.

What makes a chocolate chip good?

Good chocolate chips begin with a deep chocolate flavor. With so many chocolate chip brands competing on the market, an excellent brand will focus on elements that seize your taste buds. It's not enough for the cocoa essence to merely register without intensity. Guittard is brilliantly intense, which is a notable contrast to something like Publix's light cocoa flavor that barely registers, which is a reason why we ranked it second last.

Good chocolate chips also have a short list of basic ingredients so that the chips don't take away from the flavor of your chocolate chip cookies. Guittard cites cane sugar, cacao beans, cocoa butter, sunflower lecithin, and vanilla as its only ingredients, which is short enough. To be fair, most of the chocolate chips we taste tested followed this rule, but it's still worth mentioning that this makes Guittard an all-rounded, good chocolate chip brand. When it comes to chocolate chips, we all judge the product by its cover. It at least shows the brand's commitment to high standards, as in the case of Guittard's semi-sweet chocolate chips, these guys went for gold — literally, and the standard transferred from the packet to the product.