Chocolate Callets versus Chocolate Chips

By Cook's Illustrated Published September 2017

What happens when you use melting chocolate in chocolate chip cookies?

During our search for the best milk chocolate chips, we came across callets, which are chocolate morsels formulated for melting rather than baking. We wondered how they would compare with our favorite chocolate chips, so we ordered Callebaut Chocolate Callets from an online retailer and put them to the test. While the cookies made with this high-end Belgian chocolate were tasty, they were flawed; rather than turning out perfectly tall and chewy, these cookies were flat and thin, with indistinguishable layers rather than definite morsels of chocolate.

We reached out to Greg Ziegler, a chocolate expert and professor of food science at Pennsylvania State University, and learned that fat appears to be the difference between true chips and callets. He pointed out that the callets we tested have 5.6 grams of fat per 15-gram serving, while our favorite chips have just 4.5 grams of fat in the same size serving. More fat causes the chips to melt into the dough, changing the composition of the cookies enough that they bake differently and spread thin. Less fat helps the chips maintain their shape and remain distinct from the dough, so the chocolate doesn’t impact the final structure of the cookie. The result? Perfectly tall and chewy cookies. 

So how can you tell if chocolate morsels contain more fat without doing the math? Ziegler shared some tips: First, fattier chips will likely have a lighter color from the combination of added milk and fewer cocoa solids, which give chocolate its characteristic darker color. Second, a fat-heavy chip will list milk and cocoa butter higher on the ingredient list (meaning there is proportionally more of those fatty ingredients), whereas leaner chips will list cocoa solids or unsweetened chocolate before the milk or cocoa butter.

Bottom line: If you’re using bits of chocolate for a melted application, either type is fine. But for recipes where you want distinct morsels, such as cookies, make sure you use true chocolate chips

The chocolate chips’ fat content affected the texture of cookies. Why? Chips that contain more fat melt into the dough and produce flat cookies. Chips with less fat—like our favorites, which contain only 4.5 grams of fat per 15-gram serving—maintain their shape and produce perfectly tall and chewy cookies.