Reviewed by Colin Hewitt
Sadly, everyone knows that Christmas is going to be a little different this year. Due to national, local or personal restrictions, visits to the shops are likely to be more difficult or impossible; therefore, gifts will be trickier to purchase. However, one of the unforeseen benefits of the summer, and ongoing, lock-downs has been the number of people discovering, or rediscovering the joys of home cooking. If you haven’t considered doing it already, homemade food presents are not only a lot of fun to make but are highly personal to receive.
The Guittard Chocolate Company is based in San Fransisco, and since being established in 1868, their chocolate products have been championed by numerous confectioners, chocolatiers, and bakers around the world. Their products are now starting to be found in UK retailers (notably Waitrose and Lakeland).
I was kindly sent the following packs of chocolate chips to review.
Milk Chocolate Baking Chips (100% real Chocolate containing 31% Cacao).
Smooth and luxurious – actually, delicious right from the bag, but I can imagine these being beautiful in chocolate chip cookies or incorporated in a rich shortbread.
Extra Dark Chocolate Baking Chips (100% real Chocolate containing 63% Cacao).
These packed a gorgeous bitter chocolate punch, and if I was blind tasting them, I would have guessed a higher cacao content than 63%.
Each bag contains 326g of chocolate chips.
The Guittard Website lists the full range of their produce (hopefully a few more will become readily available in the months ahead), the site also has numerous recipe suggestions.
Purely in the name of research, I used the Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Baking Chips to make some Bourbon Malt Whiskey and Raisin Truffles. The recipe isn’t one listed on their website but one I made up. It’s a simple variation of numerous rum and raisin truffle recipes which can be found on-line.
Bourbon Malt Whiskey and Raisin Truffles (makes approx 14)
65g Double Cream,
30g Bourbon Malt Whiskey (I used Woodford Reserve but any will suffice, in fact, any spirit could be substituted)and 20g of raisins blended into a puree
175g Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Baking Chip
Warm the double cream in a bowl held over boiling water. When the cream is hot (not boiling) melt all the other ingredients into the cream, stirring continually.
Allow time to cool completely.
Shape into 14 balls and dust with cocoa powder.
As an alternative to dusting with cocoa powder, you could dip the truffles in some more melted Guittard Chocolate Baking Chips and allow to cool, this will give a crisp outer coating.
I was intrigued to see how the Guittard Chips would perform. Some of the recipes I’ve seen advise not to use chocolate chips (or, at least process them before use) because they can sometimes cause a grainy texture; however I had no problem whatsoever, they melted into the warm double cream perfectly.
The end results were luxurious. The texture was extremely smooth and silk-like.
Rather than making it into truffles, the mixture could easily be used as a ganache for cakes or biscuits, you could even add more liquid to make a sauce for a very boozy adult ice-cream dessert.
Unfortunately, due to my self-imposed rigorous quality control procedures, this batch didn’t quite make it into any gift hampers, but they certainly earned my personal seal of approval.
Guittard isn’t the cheapest brand of chocolate chips you’ll find; however, the price is justified by their quality. I’m looking forward to trying them in other recipes, I think it will be chocolate brownies next time.
These chocolate chips are an ideal gift for anyone who enjoys baking, and they’re perfect to utilise in consumable gifts for friends and family (or why not merely indulge yourself?)
A well deserved, and tasty 5/5
For more information, please visit the Guittard website: https://www.guittard.com/
RRP can vary, so it’s worth shopping around, but on average about £5.00 – £5.50.