We’re about half way through the tasting process for our 3rd annual Taste Test Awards (revisit our 2010 winners and 2011 winners). Last Friday, our team looked at semisweet

chocolate baking chips. I had them taste each brand—there were a whopping 13 in all!—by itself and in a chocolate chip cookie to see how it held up to the baking process (special shout out to our test kitchen staff, who baked all those cookies using our June 2007 recipe). 

I had many eager volunteers when I announced we would be tasting chocolate chips that day, but as the tasting wore on, everyone grew a little chip fatigued and buzzed on chocolate and sugar (there are worse ways to end a Friday afternoon, right?). My tasting team was pretty surprised by the differences they detected in the chips: some were creamy, some were chalky, some were waxy. Comments ranged from the laughable (“tastes like a burnt banana”) to the lyrical (“smaller chips mean there are more of them in the cookie, and who doesn’t love that? To quote Stephen Sondheim, ‘One is fun, but why not two? And if you have two, why not a few, why not a slew more?’”).

Stay tuned for more news from the tasting frontlines, and look for our lyrical winner to appear alongside other standouts in categories like quinoa and reduced-fat cheddar in our October issue.