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Substituting One Form of Semisweet Chocolate for Another

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Q. I have a recipe that calls for 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips. Here's my dilemma: the bag I bought only has 10 ounces. Can I use the entire bag plus 2 ounces of semisweet baking chocolate, broken into small pieces? Are the chocolate chips and the baking chocolate the same or do they have different ingredients?

A. Are you the pastry chef at the White House, putting the finishing touches on a magnificent dessert for the Sultan of Brunei? The king of Sweden? The president of Peru? If not, for heaven's sake, do what you want. Chop up the baking chocolate to approximate chocolate chips. Or — gasp! — just use 10 ounces of chocolate. Cooking is very seldom rocket science, and what is it going to hurt if you use a little less chocolate or a similar chocolate from another source?

There is probably some difference between the chocolate chips and the baking chocolate — we often notice substantial differences in taste and in the tendency to melt among different brands of chocolate chips. But we substitute one for the other willy-nilly. We're just that way. Throwing caution to the winds is one of the things we do best.

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