Chocolate chips are, you guessed it, small chunks of chocolate. They're often sold in a round, flat-bottomed teardrop shape. The average size is 1 cm in diameter, but many sizes are available.
Although they're designed to retain their shape when baking, they're sometimes melted and used in sauces and other recipes. This isn't always recommended since they contain less cocoa butter than baking chocolate. This can make them more difficult to work with in melted form.
The history of the chocolate chip is a simple one...
They were "invented" in 1933 when Ruth Graves Wakefield of Whitfield, Massachusetts added cut-up chunks of a semi-sweet Nestlé chocolate bar to a cookie recipe. The now-famous homemade chocolate chips cookies were born and became a huge success. (They're regarded as the classic American dessert.)
As a way to capitalize on the cookie's popularity, the Nestlé company not only printed Ms. Wakefield's recipe on the packaging, but they also began including a small chopping tool with its chocolate bars. But then, in 1939, they started selling the chocolate in morsel form.
Today, these chips are found in an almost infinite variety of food products in the United States: brownies, granola bars, ice cream, trail mix, and more. They're also available in Europe, Australia, and other parts of the world.
While the original Nestlé chips were made of
many types and flavors are now available.
There's even a National Chocolate Chip Day: May 15th.
(Mark your calendar. What better excuse to have chocolate dessert?!)