In Praise of White Chocolate

We've been thinking a lot about white chocolate since hearing it discussed on Good Food last week. This chocolate definitely gets short shrift in the food world, and we admit to often passing it over ourselves in favor of dark, bitter chocolates. But David Lebovitz and Evan Kleiman are right - white chocolate deserves a little more credit. What do you think of it?

It's true that white chocolate isn't "real" chocolate in that it doesn't contain any actual cocoa nibs. Instead, white chocolate is made almost entirely of cocoa butter with sugars and other solids mixed in.

The flavor is milky and light - like eating solid cream. We think it's very smooth and has a great melting quality. Like anything, there are great white chocolates and not-so-great white chocolates out there. Finding one you like requires sampling different kinds whenever you can - what a tough job!

As Lebovitz mentions in the Good Food interview, white chocolate makes a good foil for other flavors. Tart fruits and berries are a sure bet, as are any other strongly-flavored, forward ingredients. It also goes extraordinarily well with tropical flavors like coconut, macadamia nuts, and mango.

Used in baking, we think that white chocolate adds a rounded background flavor. You wouldn't know it was there if it wasn't pointed out to you, but it mellows out other flavors and gives richness.

We like making white chocolate mousse for dessert and then topping it with a sauce made of seasonal berries. Lebovitz, of course, makes ice cream!

How do you use white chocolate in your cooking and baking? What are your favorite flavor combinations?

Related: Chocolate's Savory Side: Don't Wait for Dessert!

(Image: Flickr member kim siciliano salem licensed under Creative Commons)