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Chocolate Chips

Chocolate ChipsChocolate 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 around 1 cm in diameter.  Many sizes are available depending on preference.

Origin
Chocolate chips are a required ingredient in chocolate chip cookies, which were invented in 1933 when Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in the town of Whitman, Massachusetts added cut-up chunks of a semi-sweet Nestle chocolate bar to a cookie recipe. The cookies were a huge success, and Wakefield reached an agreement with Nestle to add her recipe to the chocolate bar's packaging in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate.

Initially, Nestle included a small chopping tool with the chocolate bars, but in 1939 they started selling the chocolate in chip (or "morsel") form. The Nestle brand Toll House cookies is named for the inn.

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.

Uses
Chocolate chips can be used in cookies, pancakes, waffles, cakes, pudding, muffins, crepes, 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 113F (40 and 45C).  The melting process starts at around 90F when the cocoa butter in the chips starts to heat.  The cooking temperature must never exceed 115F (for milk and white) or 120F (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.

Availability
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. Nestle and The Hershey Company are among the top producers of chocolate chips.

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