Ina Garten's Favorite Brand Of Chocolate Chips Is A Nostalgic Favorite

Ina Garten — also known as The Barefoot Contessa — is a connoisseur of crowd-pleasing comfort food and entertaining. The chef's cooking approach evokes images of warm fireplaces burning next to long dining tables filled with piping-hot food, and what could be more comforting or nostalgia-inducing than a chocolate chip cookie? Of course Garten has her own go-to recipe, and her preferred brand of chocolate chips might already be in your cabinet: NestléToll House. 

On the Ask Ina section of her website, Garten answers questions sent in by fans and aspiring chefs, and in response to a question about her favorite chocolate chunks to use in cookies, she revealed her preference for the classic brand. Nestlé's chocolate chips and chocolate chunks can be found in virtually any American grocery store, and are the perfect sweet addition to cookies, brownies, and countless other dessert recipes.

Ina Garten's other cookie-making tips

Ina Garten's chocolate chunk cookie recipe first appeared in her 2001 cookbook "Barefoot Contessa Parties!", and it shares a lot of ingredients with the classic recipe that appears on the back of every Nestlé Toll House chocolate chip bag. One big difference is Garten's addition of chopped walnuts, an ingredient the Toll House recipe calls optional.

Garten has plenty of other cookie-making tips she recommends for home bakers. Her recipe calls for room-temperature butter and sugar, and Garten says that to truly get these ingredients down from fridge temperature, they need to be left out for more than just an hour — she recommends an overnight rest, if you can. To get a batch of perfectly-shaped and uniform cookies, Garten uses an ice cream scooper to scoop dollops of dough and arrange them on a baking sheet. 

Another tip from Garten applies to recipes far beyond chocolate chip cookies: Have all of your ingredients prepped and measured before you start baking. This might seem tedious if you want cookies right away, but it can save you time and energy later, on when you realize you don't remember if you put the baking soda or the sea salt in the dough yet. 

Chocolate chips versus chunks

With chocolate chips and chunks both being popular choices for cookies, you might assume they're interchangeable. While chips have that classic dollop-like shape and chunks are more rough and, well, chunky, these products appear to be pretty similar otherwise. However, if your recipe specifically calls for chips or chunks, it might be best to use exactly what's written. 

Something unique about chocolate chips is that they're formulated for baking, so they won't lose their shape even after a long stay in the oven. Additionally, chips tend to contain more sugar and less cocoa butter than their chocolate chunk counterparts, as more cocoa butter makes chocolate more prone to melting. Because of these ingredient differences, chips also help your cookies have more of a stable structure that doesn't fall apart. 

Chunks, on the other hand, are more likely to turn melty in your cookies. Your cookies may be a little bit flatter and more gooey, since the chocolate inclusions lose their structure in the oven. However, more expensive chocolate chunks are usually more high-quality than cheaper chocolate chips. Semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks can provide more balance to a sweet cookie, not to mention many bakers prefer a more gooey and melty treat. Garten's recipe happens to call for chocolate chunks. If you're developing your own recipe, your decision about which to use depends on your personal tastes.