Kosher Sweep: Trader Joe's Chocolate Chips

For insight into last week’s happenings at Trader Joe’s grocery stores nationwide, referencing the vintage TV sensation “Supermarket Sweep” might not be a far stretch. The contestants were kosher customers, the prize, semi-sweet chocolate chips. The last of the pareve ones, that is.

The chocolate chips, which have been regarded for years in kosher households as some of the best for desserts following meat meals (and at the best price, a twelve-ounce bag for $2.29), will soon have their “pareve” label replaced with the “OK-D” label for certified dairy (non-Cholov Yisroel). The notice by Kashruth Administrator Rabbi Don Yoel Levy was released on Wednesday.

“The nature of the product has not changed,” said Jose, an employee at the 72nd street Trader Joe’s in Manhattan as he read an email sent to the stores from the higher ups. What has changed is the cleaning process used for the equipment that bags the chips. The supplier, who manufactures both milk and semi-sweet chips exclusively for Trader Joe’s, has switched from a wet cleaning process to a dry cleaning process. While the causes for this change are unknown, it is warranting these necessary label changes, which include allergen warnings.

The new OK-D chips are expected to arrive in stores this week, once supplies at storage warehouses depletes. But last week, customers went on the hunt — “Two days in a row we sold out of our inventory before we even opened the store… [customers] have called the store, and the first lady said ‘I’ll take everything you have,’” said Jose, who implemented an honor system last week to limit customers to 10 bags each. There have been reports of customers buying upwards of 30 bags.

It goes without saying that other pareve chocolate chips are indeed available, however they may not be as tasty and with the correct price.

So are you one of the triumphant ones who have managed to get your paws on a lifetime’s supply of delicious pareve chocolate chips? You better get cooking before your kids eat ‘em all in one sitting. Here’s something that will help, a recipe for some of the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. This recipe is based off a recipe that was inspired by New York City’s famous Levain cookies. They’re thick, gooey, and best just a few minutes out of the oven.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks of unsalted butter or margarine, cold and cut into 1 cm cubes
¾ cups white sugar
¾ cups lightly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Optional: 1 cup chopped toasted nuts (walnuts or macadamias work well!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

1) With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars for two minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.

2) In a separate, medium bowl, combine flours, salt, cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda.

3) Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix just until combined.

4) Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.

5) Divide into equal portions, about the size of lime (or bigger if you choose!) and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake until slightly browned, about 18-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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Kosher Sweep: Trader Joe's Chocolate Chips

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