Cooking

Baking with Chocolate Chips vs. Chocolate Bars

We've been making cookies wrong this entire time
Is It Better to Bake with Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Bars?
Photo: PamelaJoeMcFarlane/Getty Images

We might be low on olive oil or forget that we're out of sugar from time to time, but one thing we somehow always have in our pantry is a bag of chocolate chips at the ready when we decide Tuesday's the perfect night to make cookies. But it turns out there's a better chocolate for all your cookie needs, and it's the foil-wrapped bars sitting just a few shelves down in the baking aisle.

So why is a block of chocolate better than morsels when it comes to baking?

Chocolate chips have added stabilizers that prevent them from properly melting, whereas chocolate bars don't. 

Look at the ingredients list on your bag of chocolate chips, and you'll find stabilizers like soy lecithin, which are used to help them keep their shape when heated. Chips will appear melted right out of the oven, but once cool, they'll resolidify into something with a waxy, gritty texture.

For most of your recipe needs, it's best to spring for a snappy chocolate bar instead which will liquify into a smoother and shinier pool of cocoa-y goodness. And using bars in your famous cookie recipe is only the beginning: They're also best bet for making ganache, silky pot de crème or trying your hand at tempering.

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So what is that bag of chips good for then? You can't deny the convenience factor of being able to pour them straight into a mixing bowl without any pre-chopping, and they're also the most budget-friendly option of the baking aisle. (There's a time and place for an artisanal $8 bar of chocolate, but it's not when you have a last-minute hankering for cookies.) Not to mention plain old snacking. If you're in a pinch and only have chips to choose from spring for a quality bag that has the least amount of stabilizers.

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