Serious Eats: Sweets
Cookie Wars: Chips vs. Chunks vs. Chopped
I had an insane hankering for chocolate chip cookies the other day, so I decided to bust out my copy of Dorie Greenspan's Baking and make a batch. But something caught my eye: a sidenote about how she prefers to chop chocolate from a block instead of buying premade chips.
I remembered seeing a similar note on David Lebovitz's blog a while back, and was a little surprised I hadn't tried it before. Clearly the only option was a head-to-head cookie comparison.
Note: This tasting was less about the quality of chocolate, and more the chocolate distribution. If you want to know what brands we prefer baking with, check out our taste test results.
Once the dough was mixed, I divided it equally into three bowls and devoted each to a different variety: the chips, chunks, and chopped bits.
One difference was readily apparent: the much more even distribution of chocolate in the "chopped" bowl. All the little slivers and bits reminded me of stracciatella gelato (which is made by drizzling chocolate into the churning ice cream, as opposed to folding in chunks at the end, and results in a much more even chocolate distribution). I could already see where my vote was probably going. But onward in the name of science!
I distributed each of the cookie types on the baking sheet, so none would have a convectionary* advantage.
*Sure, it's a word. It must be if it's in this column, right? Right?
This one tastes like, well, childhood. This recipe is really similar to my mom's, and I got a little nostalgic. If you go with chips, definitely spring for a nicer brand of semi-sweet (between 45 and 60% cocoa is a good range) to cut through the sugar. And there are always those couple of cookies you bite into, which end up being a veritable chocolate chip desert.
The chunks themselves tasted nicer, but to me, chunks are just too much chocolate in the middle of my cookie. I like a little more cookie in my bite. The chunk-heavy bites are more like chomping on a chocolate bar. Which is fine, except, you know. I want a cookie.
The Winner: Chopped
The clear winner for me was the chopped! Completely aside from the difference in quality of the chocolate itself, the even distribution made for a more interesting cookie. Chip-less bites tasted richer, though not quite chocolatey, and the punctuation of the larger pieces was perfect.
Greenspan describes their look as "tweedy," which I find delightful.
Dear readers, I want your opinions too! Chips vs. chunks vs. chopped: which do you prefer?
About the author: Liz Gutman co-owns the Brooklyn-based candy business Liddabit Sweets, which means she spends a lot of time around chocolate (and a lot of time eating it). She moved to New York in 2001 to go to, wait for it, acting school. But when the acting life wasn't for her, she wound up in the French Culinary Institute's pastry program while working at Roni-Sue's Chocolates in Manhattan's Lower East Side. She befriended Jen King, aka the other half of Liddabit, at FCI and founded Liddabit in May of 2009.