I cook with chocolate chips quite a lot: chocolate mousse, boozy chocolate trifle, hot chocolate, chocolate fat bombs, random things I shouldn’t eat made with chocolate, and of course my weapons-grade whisky-cherry brownies, still legal in 22 states. I’ll try other brands, but my go-to is Ghirardelli’s 60% dark chips.
So this was an experiment. Apparently these baking chunks are made in Canada for a local company, which was news to me; I didn’t know Enjoy Life was headquartered in Chicago.
Enjoy Life’s company standards rock – all products are made in nut-free and gluten-free facilities, with most also made in dairy-free facilities. They list their products for you by your dietary needs: gluten-free, allergy-friendly, non-GMO, IBS/low FODMAP, and vegan. Which is awesome. Their FAQ page tells you stuff you will never hear from most food manufacturers. These chunks are made from “premium chocolate derived from sustainably harvested cocoa beans.” Talk about warm fuzzies!
That said, I was disappointed in the Mega Chunks. They melted okay, but they were too large for my baking needs. My brownies, which use a bag and a half of chips per recipe, become unmanageable in texture, i.e. too gloppy, with these chips. My hazy guess as to why is that these Mega Chunks are twice the size of a standard Hershey’s chip and about 1.5 times the size of the Ghirardelli 60%s I normally use. They’re oblong in shape, which may have affected their melting properties, though I can’t see how; after all, they’re in the oven for more than 50 minutes on those brownies. Besides, a good number of these teeny oblong bars of chocolate had broken in half, into squares, by the time they arrived, possibly due to getting knocked around in shipping.
The flavor was the big disappointment, however. First, the (undefined) percentage of cacao was lower than I like, closer to milk chocolate. They may have been made in a nut-free facility, but they smelled and tasted a bit like stale roasted-and-salted peanuts. The mouthfeel of the unbaked chips was dry. (Dry chocolate?) I’m not enough of a food chemist to know why that is. The ingredients list on the package is impeccable: just cane sugar, unsweetened chocolate, and cocoa butter. Wherefore not so smooth and cool a mouthfeel? Got me.
My Ghirardelli 60%s by comparison are tastier, fresher, fruity rather than stale, smoother, cooler, higher in cacao content, meltier, and a more useful size and shape.
Maybe the sample I got was stale, or perhaps it froze on the trip to my house. Freezing creates that whitish bloom you see on some chocolate that actually doesn’t damage the chocolate at all, in theory. Maybe these differences are the price you pay for a healthier ingredient. Your mileage may vary.
Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mega Chunks 10 oz. (283g) bag
See chocolate in an important role in Coed Demon Sluts: Amanda. Delilah brings fancy chocolate to a nursing home where she hopes to recruit 98-year-old Cricket to her team of succubi. Find a download of the scene here, or pick up the book at your favorite store: Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Book View Cafe, or Nook.