It’s overwhelming to walk through the baking aisle in a grocery store. So many choices. You see morsels, baking squares and whole chocolate bars and this can be difficult to know which to buy as a substitution. If you are choosing chocolate morsels, also called chocolate chips, instead of semi-sweet baking squares, this is an easy substitution to make, if you keep in mind a few caveats. Understand the differing melting properties between morsels and baking squares, because morsels have less cocoa butter than baking squares, and the two types of chocolate will act differently when heated.
Similarities and Differences
Chocolate morsels were created to be a simple addition to any cookie or quick bread. Almost identical in taste to semisweet baking squares, the ability of semisweet morsels to maintain their shape when heated makes them ideal for many bakers. Morsels retain their shape better than baking squares because morsels have less cocoa butter than squares.
Recipes often call for ounces of semisweet baking squares, with one square equaling an ounce. When substituting morsels, you don't have to weigh equal amounts; instead, use 3 tablespoons of the semisweet chips for every 1 ounce of semisweet chocolate called for. If substituting unsweetened chips, use the same ratio, but add 1 tablespoon of sugar for every ounce called for.
The best recipes for morsels are chocolate chip cookies or sweet breads where the chocolate bits are expected to keep their shape and texture through the cooking process. Do not use morsels in batters where melting is required, such as in cheesecake or red velvet cake, as morsels will change the texture of the finished product. Since morsels have less cocoa butter than baking squares -- which makes the morsels more stable when heated -- you can use morsels in recipes that call for melted chocolate, but not as part of a batter. You can also use morsels in ganache, chocolate frosting, or in a simple chocolate dip for fondue. Pour the morsels into a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 45 seconds. Remove and stir. Continue to microwave for 10-second intervals until the morsels are smooth when stirred. In baking recipes that ask for chopped chocolate squares, use the morsels, as called for. If desiring finer flecks, pulse in a blender for a few seconds to chop the morsels into tinier pieces.
Though morsels can retain their shape despite heat, store them in a sealed container in a cool, dry and dark area of your kitchen to prevent them from going rancid. Use before the “Best before” date on the package, as the oils in the chocolate morsels can turn bad if you store them for too long.
Based in Kingston, Canada, Samantha Lowe has been writing for publication since 2006. She has written articles for the "Mars' Hill" newspaper and copy for various design projects. Her design and copy for the "Mars' Hill" won the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker award in 2008. Lowe holds an Honors BA from Trinity Western University, and a MSc in Occupational Therapy from Queen's University where she is currently doing her PhD.