The world of baking chips is vast and wide. There are so many different colors, flavors, sizes, and shapes–the last two being the most frustrating when it comes to measuring baking chips. Which method is most accurate? Which one is easier to convert? And when a recipe doesn’t give you any details about what baking chips to use, how are you supposed to accurately measure out these ingredients that are nowhere near the same shape or size? It Turns out, there is a way! In fact, there are technically three ways to measure in baking: weight, volume, and count. And we will break each of these down with their distinct pros and cons.
Measuring by Weight
The best and most accurate way to measure is by weight. This is why so many professionals scale out recipes in grams and ounces. It allows the recipe follower to make a recipe exactly how the baker intended, with less room for error. It is also why we cannot emphasize enough the need for a reliable scale as part of your arsenal of kitchen tools. Measuring by weight will give you so much more accuracy and versatility when measuring out ingredients. And halving or doubling or tripling a recipe becomes that much easier when you don’t have to try and convert all those ¾ cup measurements.
Measuring by Volume
That said, if you don’t have access to a scale, then your next best bet is measuring by volume. Most recipes will still reference cups, tablespoons, etc. And thank goodness! These standardized measurements make it super easy to measure and count out the right amounts for ingredients. Unfortunately, when using cups, there is plenty of room for mistakes. No two bakers will fill up a measuring cup the same. And this means the recipe follower could end up adding more or less of an ingredient than intended. In fact, the same measuring cup used to measure in different ways can account for a 25-30% margin of error in weight. For example, how do you measure out a “heaping cup of flour?” Is it a cup of flour that is full just up past the rim? Or is it a cup of flour with an additional tablespoon, quarter cup, or handful? And scooping a loose cup of brown sugar will be significantly different from packing the brown sugar down inside the cup. You can see the problem.
Measuring by Count
For obvious reasons, measuring baking chips by count should be used as an absolute last resort. Maybe you have giant chocolate chunks and highly exacting standards (ahem, picky children). And maybe each cookie needs to have exactly five chocolate pieces in it. Worse things have happened and counting out the chips is a small sacrifice you can make to keep the peace. But then think about having to count out five chocolate chunks for three dozen cookies. Doable? Yes. But practical? Not at all. Now imagine having to count out something as small as micro chocolate chips or sprinkles. No thanks! We much prefer the cups or the scale for that.
Measuring Baking Chips with Your Heart
Ok, let’s be real. There is actually one more way to measure in baking–measuring with your heart. Don’t get us wrong, we follow the recipe to the letter for most ingredients, especially the ones that impact the rise and bake. Those ratios are important. But when it comes to mix-ins like baking chips and toffee nibs, we give ourselves plenty of leeway. These don’t impact the bake as much as the flavor. And the sweet spot for these ingredients will vary from person to person. This is also where chip size can really come into play when measuring out ingredients. while the measurement was exactly the same–the end results are vastly different. With larger chips, one cup doesn’t seem to go as far and you end up with a couple of cookies that have only one or two chips in them. And with the mini chips, measuring out one cup will put hundreds of tiny chips in every cookie. In these cases, we measure with our heart, adding a little at a time until the dough or batter looks to be just the right ratio.
Who knew measuring baking chips could be such an ordeal? The good news is you have plenty of options to choose from. And when you are baking with chocolate chips or flavored morsels, it is almost impossible to go wrong with how many or what kind you choose to use in a recipe. Experiment away! Try new things! Measure out with different methods! Have fun and eventually you will find what works best for you. Check out all of the different baking chips we offer at Gygi and let’s get baking.