I’m not much of a kitchen gadget person—I don’t own a garlic press (or want one) and I consider pesto made in a blender to be a defamation of the name—so it’s really no surprise that I didn’t own a chocolate chipper, but the real reason for it is that until I received one as a gift on Monday night, I didn’t even know there was such a thing. The gift was from my friend Margy, who knows I like to bake and went to Surfas, the very cool cooking supply store that some of us are addicted to, in Culver City. “I asked the woman who worked there what I should give to a baker and she told me a chocolate chipper,” Margy, a reporter, reported back to me while she told me about my gift before I opened it.
When I emailed Margy to thank her, she wrote me back: “We [meaning she and her husband, but we know who buys gifts!] are really excited that you like the chipper.” Then she followed said: “…even if it doesn’t work.” And all I could think was: “Even if doesn’t work?” I really wanted it to work.
With bakers, everything matters, right down to how chocolate for a chocolate chip cookie is chipped. It’s part of the personality profile of those of us who don’t mind meticulously measuring and following even the most banal instructions in order to achieve a certain end. I for instance get upset when I chop chocolate with a knife and it gets too shardy. Margy didn’t know this about me, but we both got lucky. And the best news: the chipper itself!
This gadget, which looks like a miniature pitch fork or a giant fork-fork, with more prongs, produced fewer shards in the process of turning a block of super dark chocolate into chunks fit for a cookie. It also did the job in a fourth of the time.
Sadly, although I can point you to the chipper and even the chocolate (deep, dark, and at least 70% cacao), I can’t give you the recipe for my chocolate cookies because if the economy gets any worse I’m going to have to sell them door-to-door to make a living. I will however tell you that last summer, the New York Times published a recipe for one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever baked or eaten. Though I do have fundamental issues with a recipe for something as basic and all-American as a chocolate chip cookie that calls for two types of flour (cake flour and bread flour), neither of which are available in grocery stores. But that’s another story.