Baker's Pantry Staple: Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Ingredient Spotlight

With a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips stashed away in the cupboard, I feel safe in the knowledge that I can handle any sweet tooth crisis that should come my way. In under ten minutes, I can have a batch of cookies ready to bake, a decadent glaze for cupcakes, or even a simple trail-mix to tuck into my bag. Which brand of chocolate chips do you prefer?"Semi-sweet" has a very broad definition in the chocolate world. These chips are at least 35% dark chocolate with a sugar content somewhere between milk chocolate (more sweet) and bittersweet chocolate (less sweet) depending on the particular brand. They will hold their shape when baked in a cookie or cake, but will also melt evenly when tempered or mixed with hot milk.

For general baking purposes, I usually use Nestlé Tollhouse chocolate chips. Their flavor carries a nostalgic quality for me, but I also truly like the particular balance of sweet and bitter that they bring to a batch of chocolate chip cookies and other baked goods. They tend to compliment a batch of chocolate chip cookies or muffins without stealing the show.

I've started buying Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips for the times when I want a little more from my chocolate. I find that these chips melt better than the Tollhouse variety and have a richer flavor. They're my choice whenever I'm doing something that requires tempering or for melting into batters and glazes.

What about you? What's your favorite brand of semi-sweet chips? How do you use them most often?

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Chocolate

(Image: Emma Christensen)

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