Mr. Tidbit stumbled upon Hershey's new Baking Melts, subtitled "chocolate baking pieces," too late to rush the news into discerning kitchens in time for the annual Christmas cookie frenzy, but maybe that's just as well. They are still a little hard to find -- and, Mr. Tidbit must say, a little confusing.
A video at Hershey's website suggests that the quarter-size Melts (milk chocolate or semisweet) can be used anywhere you might use chocolate chips -- cookies, bars and so on. But it's pretty vague about why you would want to do so, noting only that if you use Melts "You'll get an equally delicious but slightly different result." (Nowhere is it suggested that they taste any different, and they don't.) In discussing Melts, both the bag and the website refer to "chocolate layers."
Mr. Tidbit's best guess at what all of that means is this: The Melt is notably wider (but thinner) than a chocolate chip, so if your cookie contains fairly few, Melts' wide little stripes of chocolate would increase the probability that a given bite will contain some chocolate. But if you pack your cookies full of chips (or Melts), that distinction disappears.
So what's the real difference between Hershey's chocolate chips and its new Baking Melts? Oh, go on -- guess!
Correct! They cost more. The shelf price of Melts where Mr. Tidbit found them was the same as that of Hershey's chips, but the bag of chips contains 12 ounces; the bag of Melts is 10 ounces. (That's a 20 percent higher price per ounce.)
More Mini Wheats
Every once in a while Mr. Tidbit suddenly notices that a product he thinks exists in three or four versions has gotten completely out of hand. Such, he must report, is the case with Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats. While scoping out new Frosted Mini Wheats Crunch (which doesn't seem to be available everywhere yet), he discovered that among the three sizes of Mini Wheats (original, Big Bite and Little Bites) there are now no fewer than 13 kinds of Kellogg's Mini Wheats (one of which isn't frosted). What a country!