I used to like white chocolate, but only because it was forbidden to me as a child. I can probably count on both hands how many times I had had it. I was raised to believe that it is not chocolate and that if I wanted chocolate, then I better eat the dark kind. (Nutella fell in the same category. That is why there is a picture of 2 year old me, hiding in a bookcase, with the hand in the jar and Nutella all over my face. I still put my hand in the jar, I just don’t fit on the shelf any more) Milk chocolate was where my parents drew the line. White chocolate was something that was pretty much forbidden in our house. I remember coveting the white chocolate bars of my friends, all of which in my mother’s opinion, didn’t eat well at home.
Then I grew up and I hated it. All those white chocolate flavours everywhere, that either were that, super fake or they used bad white chocolate and therefore the finished product was terrible to me. I would always replace it in desserts. Or not choose that dessert in a restaurant/café. I am still doubtful about those desserts… I don’t want to order something and hate it…
Well, it was time we changed that. White chocolate technically has chocolate in it. It doesn’t have the cocoa solids, the nutritonal constituent, but it has the butter. See, that was not enough chocolate for my parents. They made sure I got my share of flavonoids! hahaha Now that I am able to distinguish between terrible make-believe white chocolate and the real deal (30%+ cocoa butter mass) I am able to experiment. Unlike dark chocolate, I don’t think it should be your main taste/ingredient. I can eat a bar of dark chocolate, but I can only eat a few squares of white all on its own. That says something. If something is not good enough on its own, why should it be better combined into something else?
Meet the caramelized white chocolate. For the record, I was following David Lebovitz’s advice on how to procede, but there is a million and one entry on the internet. Let’s just say it makes one who didn’t eat white chocolate to convert her to rethink her life’s decisions! It caramelizes into something… delicious… I don’t know how to describe it, I just know it’s mellower than caramel and less sweet than dulce de leche. And as much as I love caramel, it can sometimes be too rich in taste…
Slight problem: it’s liquid or spreadable/pourable when warm, turns solid when cold. Therefore, if you want it as a glaze or filling, you need to stir some liquid in it, e.g. cream (David says for every cup of caramelized white chocolate, you should stir 1/4 cup of liquid) I wanted to save myself the extra calories and take the risk of it hardening. It’s not a problem to bring to its liquid state. Just warm it up in a bain marie and you’re done.
He suggests if you fear it won’t melt well, then add a few drops of unflavoured vegetable oil or cocoa butter when putting it in the oven, but not regular butter. Now this is probably because the milk and fat in the butter will separate and you’ll be left with a mess. But I don’t know if you can add later to have a buttercream frosting…. Also, another reason I didn’t add the cream (other than also not having any!) was that I didn’t know whether it could be at room temperature or should it be warm, i.e. same temperature as the white chocolate (cold and it would seize). OK, I wanted to add yoghurt to it, now see my dilemma? Since I was intending to use it as a glaze, I have no problem warming it up and glazing right before serving….
The trick here is to use good white chocolate, low oven temperature, patience, timing, stiring. Be careful not to get any water in it. The spatula should be dry, hands, area, a drop and it might seize. It’s done when it turns a pale peanut butter colour. That is when it started smelling stronger of caramel as well. It takes long and you do have to nanny it, but the reward is all yours 🙂
65 gr white chocolate
sprinkling of coarse gray sea salt (NOT TABLE SALT!)
1. Preheat the oven to 120C/220F.
2. Place in the oven and stir/spread with a dry spatula every 10 minutes. In my experience, after 20 mins. it started to harden, but it softens up after you spread it around. This happened every time. After 30 mins. I saw some colour when I broke it apart with the spatula.
3. It is done when it is a pale peanut butter colour. Sprinkle with salad and stir around. Done.
You can use it over ice cream, in which case it’ll harden up, but that’s fine, nice chunks are nice in ice cream, or drizzled in brownie batter or as a glaze.