A box of potential

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No pastry chef in the world will suggest using chocolate chips for anything but baking cookies.

I cheat, and I’m OK with that.

Chocolate chips are my all-purpose melting and baking chocolates of choice. They are durable enough to withstand the temperature swings of the kitchen (40 degrees on quiet winter days, 85 in summer’s brutal heat and humidity). They’re cheap. They’re ready to use. And they easy to dump out and store in 5-gallon pails.

And every time the 25-pound box of Hershey’s chips arrives, I look at it as a box of potential.

In the next two weeks, these chips will become:

— Espesso-chocolate sauce.
— Ganache-iced chocolate brownies.
— Banana-chocolate chip bread.
— Chocolate mousse.
— Chocolate ice cream.
— Chocolate tortes.
— Chocolate truffles.
— Chocolate chip cookie dough (with pasteurized eggs, so it can be eaten raw and sold in our snack shop).
— “Becca’s blue-ribbon cookies,” an awesome oatmeal and chocolate-chip cookie that’s become a new go-to lunch dessert.

ironically, Hershey’s chips aren’t very good for chocolate chip pancakes. For that, we use Nestle chips, which don’t smear quite as much.

Would I recommend a purist doing this? Absolutely not. Chocolate chips are a one-note chocolate, lacking the depth of more concentrated varieties and no easy way of infusing natural bitterness. But for camp cooking, it works.

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