I have alway been a fan of chocolate: milk chocolate was my favorite when I was a kid, and I now prefer bittersweet. Though I would never say no to a piece of chocolate, no matter how dark or light, or even white. Yes, you read me right. White chocolate. I found white chocolate absolutely delicious. It’s smooth, delicate, it never overpowers other flavors in the recipe, and it goes well with almost anything.
White chocolate is made with a blend of sugar, cocoa butter, milk products, vanilla, and a fatty substance called lecithin. Technically, white chocolate is not a chocolate—and it doesn’t really taste like one—because it doesn’t contain chocolate solids. When cocoa beans are removed from their pods, fermented, dried, roasted, cracked open, and their shells discarded, what remains is a nib. Chocolate nibs are ground into a paste called chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor can be separated into cocoa solids, which provide the flavor, and cocoa butter, which is the fat. Though white chocolate contains extracted cocoa butter, it lacks the component that defines real chocolate.
The history of white chocolate is largely unclear, but “the general consensus,” says Eagranie Yuh, author of “The Chocolate Tasting Kit” (Chronicle, 2014), “is that Nestlé was the first to develop white chocolate commercially in 1936 in Switzerland. The story is that it was a way to use up excess milk powder that had been produced for World War I and was no longer in demand.”
According to Yuh, there are still a few things to look for in white chocolate. First, check the ingredients list, says Yuh, “which should include only sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids or milk powder and, possibly, lecithin and vanilla. If you can, also check the color. If the bar is bright white, it’s been bleached and probably deodorized. High-quality white chocolate tends to be slightly yellow because cocoa butter is naturally yellow.” Yuh also recommends purchasing chocolates from a specialty grocer or dedicated craft chocolate shop. “Chances are, whoever is buying the dark and milk chocolate will be as discerning with quality when they choose white chocolate.”
When I can, I purchase Callebaut chocolate. The local Health Food Store sells it in pieces, but it can also be purchased in bulk – there is nothing more satisfying than a 5 kg block of chocolate. During this COVID shutdown, I have relied on Amazon more than usual and I was able to find Callebaut white chocolate callets. Also know that any regular brand would do it – no need to go out and buy chocolate if you already have it in the home.
I used to sell these Gluten-free White Chocolate Blondies at my bakery. The had quite a following, and it’s because of these former customers that I want to share this recipe. These pieces of pure heaven look rustic but have a delicate flavor, and they melt in your mouth.