Feature #76 > April 12th, 2013 Journal Entry
Chocolate chips are small chunks of chocolate. They are often sold in a round, flat-bottomed teardrop shape. They are available in numerous sizes, from large to miniature, but are usually less than 1 cm in diameter.
Types of chips
Originally, chocolate chips were made of semi-sweet chocolate, but today there are many flavors. These include bittersweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, mint chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, and white and dark swirled chocolate chips.
Chocolate chips can be used in cookies, pancakes, waffles, cakes, pudding, muffins, crêpes, pies, hot chocolate, and various types of pastry. They are also found in many other retail food products such as granola bars, ice cream, and trail mix.
Chocolate chips can also be melted and used in sauces and other recipes. The chips melt best at temperatures between 104 and 113 °F (40 and 45 °C). The melting process starts at around 90 °F when the cocoa butter in the chips starts to heat. The cooking temperature must never exceed 115 °F (for milk and white) or 120 °F (for dark) or the chocolate will burn. Although convenient, melted chocolate chips are not always recommended as a substitute for melted baking chocolate. Because most chocolate chips are designed to retain their shape when baking, they contain less cocoa butter than baking chocolate. This can make them more difficult to work with in melted form.
Today, chocolate chips are very popular as a baking ingredient in the United States and the chocolate chip cookie is regarded as a quintessential American dessert. Chocolate chips are also available in Europe, Australia, and other parts of the world. Nestlé and The Hershey Company are among the top producers of chocolate chips.