MILK CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Published Friday, May 01, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

We were looking for a chip with intense chocolate flavor, moderate sugar, and a goodly amount of cocoa butter.

PRODUCT NAME DESCRIPTION SUGAR FAT (COCOA BUTTER AND MILK) PRICE
Recommended
  Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Chips

“Great chocolate flavor—I don’t believe this is milk chocolate!” exclaimed one taster. This chip had the same fat-to-sugar ratio as the brand’s second-place dark chocolate chip and was praised for its creamy texture and a flavor that was “a little nutty, with hints of caramel.”

53% 30% $2.50 for an 11.5-ounce bag (22 cents per ounce)
Recommended with Reservations
  Nestlé Toll House Real Milk Chocolate Morsels

Tasters applauded this chip’s “good cocoa flavor” but noted that it tasted “a little acidic,” as well as being “pasty,” “grainy,” and “a little too sweet.” Some noted a “fake” vanilla taste.

57% 29% $2.50 for an 11.5-ounce bag (22 cents per ounce)
Recommended with Reservations
  Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips

Though the “caramel” and “butterscotch” flavors in this chip were favorable, many tasters couldn’t get past its “saccharine-like” sweetness—it contained the most sugar of all the chips. Its low fat content resulted in a texture that tasters ridiculed as “Styrofoam-like” and reminiscent of “fake, low-fat ice cream.”

67% 23% $3.50 for an 11.5-ounce bag (30 cents per ounce)
Not Recommended
  Guittard Real Milk Chocolate Chips

“What is this? White chocolate?” commented one taster. Many questioned if this “toothache-sweet” chip, with a flavor “like sweetened condensed milk,” was really made of chocolate.

60% 30% $3.29 for an 11.5-ounce bag (29 cents per ounce)

DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Published Friday, May 01, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

Do Nestlé Toll House morsels still deserve to be the nation’s top-selling chips?

PRODUCT NAME DESCRIPTION SUGAR CACAO FAT (INCLUDED IN CACAO PERCENTAGE) PRICE
Highly Recommended
  Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

Distinct “wine,” “fruit,” and “smoke” flavors made this “adult chocolate” a clear winner. Low sugar content allowed the chocolate flavor to shine. In cookies, a wider, flatter shape and high percentage of fat helped the chips melt into thin layers for a pleasing balance of cookie and chocolate in every bite.

40% 60% 44% $3.50 for an 11.5-ounce bag (30 cents per ounce)
Recommended
  Hershey's Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate Chips

Tasters liked the “simple yet strong cocoa flavor,” which stood up to the sweetness of cookies. This chip was the only one that contained Dutch-processed cocoa powder, resulting in a “bold” though “not complex” chocolate flavor. A higher fat percentage gave it a creamier texture in cookies.

53% 45% 38% $2.39 for a 12-ounce bag (20 cents per ounce)
Recommended
  Guittard Real Semisweet Chocolate Chips

A “smoky,” “complex” chip with cinnamon and caramel undertones. Some tasters felt it needed a bolder chocolate presence to stand up to other flavors when baked in cookies. This lack of chocolate flavor also made its sweetness more pronounced.

53% 43% 29% $3.29 for a 12-ounce bag (27 cents per ounce)
Recommended
  Hershey's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Though praised for “good cocoa” flavor in cookies, this “too sweet” chip didn’t have enough chocolate flavor to balance out the high sugar content. This chip also had a distinct “milky” flavor that tasters found more similar to milk chocolate than semisweet chocolate.

53% 42% 30% $2.29 for a 12-ounce bag (19 cents per ounce)
Recommended
  Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chips

The unique "tangy, fruity" chocolate flavor of this chip rated well when baked in cookies. But tasters commented that it was "a bit too sweet," lacking the "strong chocolate flavor" of its 60 percent cacao sister chip.

53% 46% 34% $3.50 for a 12-ounce bag (29 cents per ounce)
Recommended with Reservations
  Baker's Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks

Tasters detected “pleasant coffee and cinnamon tones” in this chip but also an “off, coconut-like” flavor. Overall, tasters noticed “more sweetness than chocolate flavor.”

53% 47% 35% $2.69 for a 12-ounce bag (22 cents per ounce)
Not Recommended
  Nestlé Toll House Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

With the highest sugar content in the lineup, tasters agreed this best-selling chip was "unpleasantly sweet" and compared its "fleeting" chocolate flavor to "cheap Halloween candy." Tasters noted a strong "fake" taste, which could be attributed to artificial vanilla.

57% 47% 30% $2.50 for a 12-ounce bag (20 cents per ounce)
Not Recommended
  Nestlé Toll House Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunk Morsels

Tasters panned this chip’s “odd, woodlike” flavor, also variously described as “grassy,” “like dirt,” “vegetal,” and “oily.” Others noticed that the chunks, which are heavier than the classic morsels, didn’t melt enough.

50% 45% 27% $2.50 for an 11.5-ounce bag (22 cents per ounce)