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Jan 10, 2012 01:06 PM

Suggestions for chocolate chip substitutions

I recently got a recipe for Bittersweet Chocolate-Espresso Cookies from a local chef, and it calls for "Felchlin chocolate chips, 62%." Presumably, these would be bittersweet since the only other chocolate in the recipe is semi-sweet chocolate. Can any of you experienced bakers or candy makers suggest a more readily available substitute? Thanks in advance.

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  1. 62% isn't all THAT dark -- any good-quality semi-sweet will work well.

    Just for reference, Nestle's DARK chocolate morsels are 53% -- and Ghirardelli's bittersweet chips are 60% -- the Ghirardelli would be a good sub, if you can find them.

    7 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      I know this is a dumb question, but does the level of darkness determine the sweetness--as in semi- or bitter-sweetness?

      1. re: nomadchowwoman

        Usually, yes. But the percentage of cocoa solids is the best indicator. The problem is that neither "semi" nor "bitter" have real legal definitions. Within a brand, semi- is usually sweeter than bitter-sweet, but from one brand to another comparisons are difficult. One brand's semisweet could be another brand's bittersweet. And "dark" can mean almost anything darker than Milk Chocolate.

        1. re: acgold7

          TY both. I'm pretty sure one of our markets carries Ghirardelli chips, even their bittersweet ones--about the only alternative to Nestle's and Hershey's choc. chips I've ever seen here.

          1. re: nomadchowwoman

            Of course, you can also buy bittersweet chocolate of any cocoa percentage you choose (in this case something near 62%), and chop it into chip-sized chunks. That's the easiest way to have better-quality chocolate in your cookies than what's often available in chips.

            If you do want chips, I don't know if Whole Foods is convenient to you, but in the areas where I've lived, it carries Ghirardelli and Guittard chips in the higher cocoa percentage.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Thanks, Caitlin. Yes, we have WF here, but I have not had good luck when searching for particular types of chips although they do have a nice array of chocolate in bars. I'll look there, and if I can't find the chips, I will gulp and buy the bars and chop them (a big gulp since I need three cups!).

              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                If you are near a Trader Joe's, their big blocks of chocolate are a great price and come in different percentages.

          2. re: acgold7

            Even comparing percentages of cacao solids can be imprecise, because the percentage is the total of cocoa solids plus cocoa butter. 70% can be 40% cocoa and 30% fat or vice versa. The remaining 30% is sugar either way.

            Callebaut semisweet pistoles (chips) are 60% and you may be able to find them in bulk. I like Felchlin as it tastes good and is a lot less expensive than say Valrhona, but it doesn't seem to be widely available in retail. Like others have suggested, just use whatever good tasting chocolate you can afford that is around 60-65%.