Taste test: chocolate chips

Serving size One tablespoon One tablespoon Thirty pieces
Calories 80 70 70
Fat/Fiber 4g / 1g 4g / 0g 4.5g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium 8g / 0mg 8g / 0mg 8g / 0mg
Carbs/Protein 10g / 1g 10g / 1g 10g / 1g


Holiday cookies are a big draw this time of year, but many families still favor the old standby, chocolate chip. Our judges sampled 10 brands of semisweet chocolate chips, including one from Trader Joe's in Sarasota (it's a haul but many folks are making a trip down to see what the fuss is about). When shopping for chips, we looked for ones that didn't show any bloom, the white film that sometimes develops on them. It is usually caused by dampness or when the fats separate from the cocoa, and shouldn't make much of a difference once the chocolate is melted or baked. However, the appearance can be off-putting. Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Trader Joe's 81Hershey's 71Guittard 68
Judges'

comments
Big, dark, glossy and rich were the words judges used to describe these chips. Trader Joe's store-brand chips have just the right amount of sweetness. "They have a really appealing bite," said one panelist. "They have loads of chocolate with a wonderful, lasting finish — almost like a fine wine." Another said the plump morsels likely "were picked at their peak ripeness from the lush chocolate foothills of Mocha Valley." One judge raved about the fresh snap to the chocolate, saying these bits were the "Chanel of chips."This familiar chocolatemaker produces a chip that is well-balanced, according to our panelists. They liked the flavor of the chips, saying they aren't overly sweet. The chips are dark and bold with more gloss than some of the others sampled. "I would be putting extras of these in my chocolate chip dough," said one judge. Another said, "This is very good chocolate, proud and upright. It's a chocolate that does its homework, stays up late and still gets an A." Two judges complained the chips were a tad too waxy.Judges said the price of these chocolate pieces, one of the more expensive chips we purchased, was worth it. "Great shape, great taste — these are yummy, yummy, yummy," said one panelist. Another said the chips were rich "with the perfect intensity versus sweetness." He described the chips as "sophisticated," saying they would be a boon to a cookie.
Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$1.99 for a 12-ounce bag.$2.19 for a 12-ounce bag from Publix.$4.99 for a 12-ounce bag from the Fresh Market.


Also Sampled: Log House ($1.88 for a 12-ounce bag from Walmart, 50 points); Nestle ($2.45 for a 12-ounce bag from Publix, 64 points); Ghirardelli ($2.89 for a 12-ounce bag from Publix, 46 points); Publix ($2.19 for a 12-ounce bag, 57 points); My Essentials ($1.98 for a 12-ounce bag from Sweetbay, 58 points); SunSpire Organic ($5.99 for a 9-ounce bag from Publix, 57 points); and Market Pantry ($1.89 for a 12-ounce bag from Target, 65 points).

Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Janet Keeler, Times food and travel editor; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to jkeeler@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste test: chocolate chips

11/27/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:30am]

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