Milk Chocolate Chips

Published May 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

Overview:

If intense chocolate flavor, moderate sugar, and a goodly amount of cocoa butter make for a superior dark chip, what factors contribute to the best milk chocolate morsel? Surprisingly, the same three characteristics. Milk chocolate, by definition, contains enough milk solids and milk fat to give the candy a distinctly milky flavor, but when we compared the four top-selling brands of milk chocolate chips (plain and in cookies), tasters still overwhelmingly preferred the chip with bolder chocolate flavor, higher fat content, and lower sugar content. In this tasting, our winning dark chip brand tanked for a milk chocolate chip that was “saccharine” sweet and texture like “Styrofoam.”

If intense chocolate flavor, moderate sugar, and a goodly amount of cocoa butter make for a superior dark chip, what factors contribute to the best milk chocolate morsel? Surprisingly, the same three characteristics. Milk chocolate, by definition, contains enough milk solids and milk fat to give the candy a distinctly milky flavor, but when we compared the four top-selling brands of milk chocolate chips (plain and in cookies), tasters still overwhelmingly preferred the chip with bolder chocolate flavor, higher fat content, and lower sugar content. In this tasting, our winning dark chip brand tanked for a milk chocolate chip that was “saccharine” sweet and texture like “Styrofoam.”

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    Price*

  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Recommended - Winner

    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.”

    $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.

    $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.”

    $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.

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

*PRICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE
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