No, it’s not just a matter of preference.
If you had to close your eyes and picture the best chocolate chip cookie, it would probably be something like this: a chewy, gooey treat that crumbles at first touch, held together only by the melted ribbons of warm chocolate chunks. Take note of the chocolate chunks, rather than chocolate chips, since that ideal melted puddle you’re imagining is probably made with discs, wafers or a chopped-up bar. And as it should be — the more premium kind of chocolate in any chocolate chip cookie bake.
According to anyone who’s fluent in the beautiful language of baking (I’ll include all you quarantine sourdough bakers too), this meticulous process is an intricate science (to which I must add, does not include yours truly, though I identify as a very experienced cookie taster of over 20 years) which takes careful precision and extensive weighing and measuring. A small mishap will go a long way: tilt too much towards white granulated sugar over brown will render a cookie with more crisp; too little flour-to-liquid ratio will leave it too cakey; softened butter over melted better will lose that signature sticky chew; and the sprinkling of chocolate discs over teardrop-shaped chips will, one, leave behind a more even spread of chocolate to cookie, and well, change your chocolate chip cookie preference forever more.
To get into the specifics, the difference between using chocolate chunks and chocolate chip is not actually a great deal. It comes down to, simply, each one’s ability to melt. Chocolate chunks melt smoother and more evenly, and set up firmer, threading beautifully — and evenly — into the dough. Chocolate chips, however, are designed to hold its shape even in the highest of heat. So when baked, the tiny peaks simply dip into the dough creating tiny pockets of chocolate ponds rather than streams. And meandering chocolate rivers in warm cookie dough is the standard we should all be after.
But the love for the nostalgic chocolate chip is not all lost. We still love a trusty ol’ chip and would never not pick them out of the bag as a mid-bake snack, but perhaps reserved for only the more robust bakes: speckled in your banana breads and pancakes or tucked in fudge brownies. It’s just that in the case of the cookie, we should always follow the runny chocolate stream. The messier the better.
For your next bake:
Guittard semi-sweet chocolate baking bar 64% cacao
Guittard does a versatile range of baking chocolate, from bars to wafers to chips. There’s a long list of flavours to choose from catered to whatever tastes, including a 70% bittersweet and 100% unsweetened bar. This semi-sweet 64% cacao with tart fruity notes of cherry is a wonderful meet-in-the-middle balance.
Valrhona Inspiration Caramelia 36%
A recognised favourite, Valrhona is often touted as the purveyor of quality artisan chocolate; a go-to favourite for many Michelin-starred kitchens. While any one of its flavours would make for a delicious cookie topper, no doubt this milky Caramella 36% with caramel and salted butter will hit any sweet-and-salty craving.
Ghiradelli premium unsweetened baking chocolate bar 100% cacao
Count on Ghiradelli for rich, luxurious chocolate streams; everything in the baking chocolate range is made with high-quality cocoa butter and deep-roasted cacao nibs for a true chocolatey finish. Much like this deep, dark and handsome 100% cacao bar.
Callebaut Belgian milk chocolate baking callets
With Callebaut, it’s an honest dedication to rich Belgian chocolate. They offer a selection of customised recipes, fit to all sorts of bakes and each with its own flavour notes and fluidity. For this select blend, it’s a deliciously smooth mouthfeel of cocoa, milk and caramel for the creamiest milk chocolate chip cookie.
Header image courtesy of Jennifer Pallian (@foodess)/ Unsplash