I've always had a soft spot for white chocolate. Well, actually, I have a soft spot for all chocolate, but there's something in particular about white chocolate. Maybe it's because it doesn't receive the same attention milk and dark does; it's the little guy — the one that never gets as much respect.
Some argue white chocolate isn't really chocolate at all. And while yes, it's true that it doesn't contain any cocoa solids (which is what gives milk and dark chocolate their brown color and signature flavor), it does contain cocoa butter, which also originates from the cocoa plant. Plenty of cocoa butter, along with milk solids, is what gives white chocolate its characteristic velvety richness.
I don't need much convincing to indulge in white chocolate, but for those who do, there's an easy way to turn up it's flavor 100 percent. Caramelizing white chocolate is an easy technique that makes both white chocolate haters and lovers swoon. All that sugar, milk, and fat in it makes it a wonderful contender for caramelization, which turns it into something that's complex and nutty instead of just plain sweet — think butterscotch or caramel with the creamy, milkiness of white chocolate.
How to Make It
Caramelizing white chocolate is actually quite simple. The trick is to start with a good-quality product that's at least 30 percent cacao butter — anything less can result in something chalky and n where near silky-smooth. Skip the bag of white chocolate chips, too — they tend to have stabilizers in them that make for a waxy flavor and less-than-creamy end results as well.
Lay out an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet, or glass or ceramic baking dish. Bake it in a 300°F oven, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until it melts and takes on the color of peanut butter or toffee. It should be deep-golden brown and creamy, which will take about 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven, stir in a big pinch of flaky sea salt if you want to add even more complexity to it, and then try to resist inhaling it all right there with a spoon.
How to Use It
The chocolate will solidify as it cools, but it can easily be remelted to make the ultimate twist on hot chocolate or these cardamom-spiced shortbread cookies. Alternatively, you can chop it up to stir into blondies or drop cookies, or turn it into a unique ganache to make truffles or glaze a cake.
Have you tried caramelized white chocolate? How do you like to use it?
(Image credits: Sarah Jane Sanders)