How do chocolate chips somewhat hold their shape and not completely melt while being baked in chocolate chip cookies?

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How do chocolate chips somewhat hold their shape and not completely melt while being baked in chocolate chip cookies?

In: Chemistry

They do melt. I’m guess their “shape” is maintained by the dough surrounding the chip as it bakes, does that make sense??

They do usually melt completely. You can see that pretty easily if you break open a cookie right out of the oven, the chocolate will spill out (though not super quickly, since melted chocolate is still pretty viscous).

They still keep their shape in the cookie because when they melt, they’re still surrounded by cookie dough (which doesn’t melt), so there’s nowhere for the melted chocolate to go. It’s just a ball of melted chocolate in a chip-shaped hole in the solid cookie dough, so it sits there. Then when the cookie cools down, the chocolate solidifies again into something vaguely chip-shaped.

The percentage of cocoa butter in a chocolate also determines melting point and viscosity. Chocolate with a lower percentage of cocoa butter (milk chocolate/cheaper chocolate than the dark 60-80%) will thus hold its form better instead of leaking out into the sorrounding dough.

I learned this after watching Alex French Guy Cooking struggling with [his Pain au Chocolat](https://youtu.be/OIyBn1tkbYM) where he used chocolate with high cocoa butter content and a lot of the chocolate leaked out.

I actually know this one!

Chocolate chips have a lower percentage of cacao butter in them, less butter means less fat, and less fat means they don’t spread nearly as much when they melt. They were actually designed this way, and ironically, the property that lets them hold their shape also makes them inferior chocolate. Chocolate chips are usually some of the worst chocolate you can find in a grocery store.

There are actually specialized kinds of chocolate for different applications in cooking. Chocolate chips are a low-tier, home chef item, but on the other end of the spectrum is a type called couverture chocolate, which is generally a much higher-quality chocolate with a very high percentage of cacao butter. Couverture chocolate will often come with a fluidity measurement as well, meaning some couverture is designed to be cast as bars or mixed into truffles, while other couverture has been formulated to melt into a very thin liquid that’s perfect for coating.

Fun fact, you can manually thin melted chocolate chips with cacao butter (which can be bought separately), so it technically becomes couverture chocolate… but the difference in quality is immediately apparent. Chocolate has a range of flavors and the nicer stuff is expertly crafted to have a certain flavor profile. Bigger chocolate producers like Valrhona, Amedei, and (my favorite) Cacao Barry actually make dozens of different kinds of couverture chocolate so you can get the exact flavor you want.

They have a bit of wax in them that helps them hold their shape. You can see it if you try making hot chocolate using chocolate chips instead of a powder mix or baking chocolate.