Why You Shouldn't Use Chocolate Chips When Melting Chocolate

Is there anything sweeter than melted chocolate? It's basically a delicious candy broth that you can slather over strawberries, nuts, or whatever else your heart and taste buds desire. In a perfect, well-adjusted world, they would serve bowls of warm, creamy chocolate for dessert at restaurants. Little chocolate fountains would be at every table, right alongside the salt and pepper. While we aren't exactly close to such a utopia, we can take comfort in knowing that making melted chocolate at home is an incredibly simple process.

Just in case you're new to melting or tempering chocolate, the process is relatively easy to master with practice. You can use either a microwave or a double-boiler, according to The Spruce Eats — if you don't have a double-boiler, a saucepan or pot filled with hot water with a heat-proof bowl on top will suffice just fine. All you need to do is break up your chocolate, place it inside the bowl, and slowly stir until the chocolate has a smooth consistency. Maybe you decide to melt some chocolate and reach for the chocolate chips in your cabinet. After all, aren't chocolate chips basically pre-chopped chocolate? Well, sure, but some people say it's far from the best type of chocolate for the job.

Chocolate chips aren't good for melting

Food & Wine interviewed several chefs about techniques involved when melting chocolate. According to Antonia Grandberry, a pastry chef at the Alpareno Restaurant Group, chocolate chips are filled with "stabilizers", which help retain their shape. It's why chocolate chips stay chocolate chips after your chocolate chip cookies come out of a hot oven. The stabilizing properties of the chocolate chip, however, are exactly what keeps them from melting completely and evenly. Rather than smooth, creamy chocolate, you'll wind up with a lumpy and uneven mixture. Instead, Grandberry suggests using "your favorite high-quality chocolate bar."

Ironically, the non-melting properties of the chocolate chip are somewhat famous — without them, the cookie that bears their name wouldn't have been invented. History credits Ruth Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Restaurant and Inn back in the 1930's, as the inventor of the chocolate chip cookie. A popular rumor is that Ruth had expected to make chocolate cookies and, having run out of baking chocolate, added smaller chunks of chocolate to the batter, expecting it to melt all the way through. The truth, according to The Sugar Association, is a bit less fantastic. Wakefield had deliberately added chocolate chips to her cookies, intending to serve these new cookies alongside ice cream.

Although chocolate chips are perfect for cookies, when you want to make some rich, silky melted chocolate, it might be time to splurge on that expensive chocolate you've been eyeing.