Swapping Chocolate Bars For Chocolate Chips Isn't The Best Idea

Chocolate chips and chocolate bars are both glorious in their own right, especially when you eat them after a long, hard day. They're both sweet and delicious, and in certain foods like s'mores, chocolate chips, and chocolate bars can be used interchangeably in a pinch, per Substitute Cooking.

Chocolate chips and chocolate bars aren't exactly the same, though. So the question is, can you use specialty baking chocolate bars in recipes that call for chocolate chips? It sure sounds like a good idea, considering that both are sweet, full of that cocoa flavor, and could reasonably seem to pair beautifully with other sweet treats in your favorite recipes. But the truth about chocolate types and their uses is a little more complicated, 12 Tomatoes explains. So it's important to know the composition of each type of chocolate to understand how each type will ultimately affect the taste, texture, and overall quality of your baked goods. After all, you wouldn't want to spend time making your favorite chocolatey recipe to find that it doesn't taste quite right.

Can you swap chocolate bars for chocolate chips?

Pick up a "plain" chocolate bar, and it might look like a great alternative to chocolate chips when you've accidentally run a little too low. But swapping chocolate bars for chocolate chips isn't the best idea, and it all depends on the cacao percentage in each type of chocolate. When chocolate is in "bar" form rather than in "chip" form, it typically has a higher cacao percentage and therefore tastes stronger, according to Cook's Illustrated. This may seem like an advantage in baking because you'll be able to pull out that distinctive cocoa flavor, but not so fast — the higher cacao percentage affects more than just the flavors of your baked goods. 

Chocolate bars for baking work, but only certain recipes call for them, while others call for their less cacao-rich counterparts: chocolate chips. This is because chocolate chips have added stabilizers — usually soy lecithin — that help them hold their shape (via Substitute Cooking). Sarah Fennel of Broma Bakery explains in an Instagram reel that melted chocolate chips tend to produce a baked good with a thicker consistency than melted baking chocolate does, so although you can try to swap the two, it often doesn't work well.

Types of recipes where you can substitute chocolate bars for chocolate chips

Although, as a general rule, you shouldn't use baking chocolate bars instead of chocolate chips, in some cases, you don't need those stabilizers in chocolate chips. If you're baking the treat you're making, you'd usually stick to the recipe if it calls for chocolate chips, but in recipes where you don't need chocolate to hold its shape, it might be okay to use baking chocolate instead of chocolate chips, Substitute Cooking claims.

The differences between the two types of chocolate might blow your mind, but regardless, you can use baking chocolate interchangeably with chocolate chips in some recipes. The fat-to-chocolate ratios will be slightly different, but you can swap chocolate bars for chocolate chips in ganache, sauce, frosting, and cake recipes. To fix the issue of the skewed ratio, add a bit of canola oil or coconut oil to the chocolate. It'll smooth out the chocolate and "fatten" it to even out the ratio (via 12 Tomatoes). Although swapping baking chocolate bars for chocolate chips might initially sound like a great idea, it typically doesn't work well — unless you're making a select few types of chocolatey treats.