Cooking Basics

What is white chocolate?

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white chocolate
Sweet white chocolate pairs well with the tartness of strawberries.
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White chocolate offers richness, creaminess and sweetness to any recipe

What is white chocolate? Besides delicious, white chocolate is a creamy, sweet chocolate product that can be eaten in a variety of desserts, as well as on its own.

Believe it or not, white chocolate is not really chocolate at all because it doesn't contain chocolate liquor. Most white chocolate is made from cocoa butter, milk solids, vanilla, sugar and lecithin. White chocolate is often incorporated into gourmet foods and adds a sweet subtle flavor that is quite distinct from other chocolates. Some who don't like the taste of chocolate actually enjoy the distinct taste that white chocolate provides.

Many white chocolates are available on the market, however, they are all not made the same. Some of the lower-quality white chocolates use vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter to make the pale, rich treat. Doing so often results in a waxy, tasteless product. Premium white chocolate, however, is made of the finest ingredients, including delicious cocoa butter.

Because white chocolate doesn't contain chocolate liquor, it requires a different way of cooking than the darker chocolates. White chocolate can become easily scorched, therefore, use a low heat setting when melting. To melt this creamy treat, boil a pot of water on the stove and place a bowl on top of the pot, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Add the white chocolate and stir with a spatula until the chocolate has turned into a luxurious puddle of white creaminess.

When cooking with white chocolate, know that it is softer than other chocolates, such as milk chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, because it doesn't contain the chocolate liquor. As a result, it will set up differently. White chocolate can last six to ten months when stored in a cool, dry place.

What is white chocolate good with? In a word, everything. White chocolate is perfect melted over fruit, such as strawberries and raisins. White chocolate also plays well off of the salty crunch that pretzels provide. To make this sweet and salty favorite, simply dip small pretzels or pretzel sticks into melted white chocolate and place on wax or parchment paper until the chocolate has dried.

White chocolate is simply delightful on its own, or used as an ingredient. Although typical hot chocolate tastes just fine, white hot chocolate is a truly decadent delight. To make, combine one cup each of white chocolate chips and heavy cream in a sauce pan . Turn your stove onto medium heat and constantly stir the mixture with a spatula until the chocolate has completely melted and the two ingredients are well combined. Stir in four cups of half-and-half and one tsp. of good, pure vanilla extract. Stir the mixture occasionally until it is heated through. When ready to drink, pour the hot, creamy liquid into a festive mug and top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of mint.  

Now that you know the answer to the "what is white chocolate question", you will likely want to incorporate it into your recipes and life. Just remember, the quality of your final product depends upon the quality of ingredients you cook with. Choose white chocolate that comes from a premium chocolate maker and you will likely be pleased with the results.

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