Chocolate chip cookies are one of life's greatest, simplest pleasures. As straightforward as they are, however, they're equally easy to screw up. There's one practically universal mistake that too many people make, and if you want a better cookie, you'd better listen up: Stop using chocolate chips. Use chopped chocolate instead.
No chocolate chips in a chocolate chip cookie? Of course this sounds counterintuitive, but stay with us. Chocolate chips are designed to retain their shape when baked. They might melt a little, but they're not going to spread out into the dough. As David Tamarkin of Epicurious puts it, "the chips retain their pointy edges through the baking process, sticking out of a cookie's top like circling sharks."
Not only that, but the chips' uniformity makes for one boring cookie. With roughly chopped chocolate, on the other hand, your cookies will be dynamic -- each bite will taste different. And unlike chips, roughly chopped chocolate will expand into the cookie perfectly.
Finally, there might be a lot more than just chocolate hiding in your little chips. As Alison Roman of Bon Appetit points out, "Often times, chocolate chips are a little waxy because they have other ingredients like vanilla and soy in them." Skip the chips to avoid unnecessary additives.
The final draw of using roughly chopped chocolate: you can use better, higher quality chocolate. Chop up your own bar, and be prepared for much tastier, purer and more spirited results. If you aim for chunks about the size of store-bought chips, you'll end up with some slightly bigger pieces, some smaller and some flakes. This is where the beautiful variety in your cookies comes in.
If you're still not convinced, take a note from the one and only Dorie Greenspan. In her book, "Baking: From My Home to Yours," Greenspan declares that she prefers chopped chocolate to chips, and that's all you really need to know. As Liz Gutman of Serious Eats notes, Greenspan "describes their look as 'tweedy,' which I find delightful." Indeed. Gutman conducted her own scientific taste test of chips versus chunks versus chopped chocolate, and the "clear winner," of course, was chopped. Chunks left too much chocolate in the middle of the cookie, while chips were too boring.
If you've been doing it wrong this whole time, don't worry: it's not your fault. You can't blame yourself when the very name of the cookie led you astray. But it's time to change the error of your ways. Try making your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe using chips for half of the dough and chopped chocolate for the other half. Let us know what you think!
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