Cooking With White Chocolate

Find out how to properly handle white chocolate when you're cooking or baking with it!

Technically, there is no such thing as "white chocolate." This sweet confection is made from cocoa butter, milk solids, sugar, lecithin, and flavorings. There is no "chocolate" in the ingredients at all. But, for lack of a better category, and because it comes from the cocoa plant as well, it's included in the same category as chocolate.

With that said, you can cook and bake with white chocolate and create many types of delicious recipes. Keep in mind, though, that when you're looking for this sweet confection at the grocery store, that you buy the real thing! There is a sweet, white product called "Summer Coating." Even though it looks like white chocolate, it doesn't contain cocoa butter. (Cocoa butter is the ingredient that makes chocolate stay solid when it's at room temperature.) Instead, it contains vegetable fat, milk solids, sugar, lecithin, and flavorings. Summer coating is a little easier to use, but it lacks the delicious taste that true white chocolate has.

You can certainly use white chocolate in its solid form, but many recipes call for it to be melted in order to use it. If you're going to use it to dip fruits in, mold it into candy, or stir it into a cake frosting, for example, then it will need to be melted first.

There are basically three different methods to melt chocolate. You can melt it in a microwave, on a stove stop in a double boiler, or in a baking oven. But, whichever method you choose, you must be careful with white chocolate because it's easily affected by heat more than its dark cousin is. If you put too much heat to it, white chocolate can scorch, turn grainy, or separate. White chocolate is even more sensitive to heat because it contains less cocoa butter than other types of chocolate.

To heat chocolate in a microwave, you'll need to, of course, place the desired amount in a microwave safe bowl. Then, cook it at a low power - fifty per cent works well for most ovens - for thirty to forty five seconds. Stir the white chocolate with a spoon, and repeat this process until it is completely melted and creamy.

To use a double boiler, you'll need to place the confection you want to melt in the top part. Turn the stove burner to low, and use a spoon to periodically stir it. You can use a kitchen thermometer to keep a check on the temperature of the water. It should be between one hundred and ten and one hundred and twenty degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful that you DO NOT get any water in the white chocolate because it will ruin its smooth texture.

And finally, to melt white chocolate in a baking oven, you'll need to place the desired amount in a metal bowl. Set the oven temperature to one hundred and ten degrees Fahrenheit. Place the bowl in the oven and then check it periodically; stir it with a spoon. It will take approximately one hour or so until the white chocolate is completely melted.

You should only buy as much white chocolate as you will use at one time. White chocolate can be properly stored in a cool, dry place for up to a year. Of course, the fresher it is the best it will taste when you use it to cook or bake. To properly prepare it for storage, wrap it in aluminum foil. Then, place it in a resealable plastic bag so it doesn't pick up odors. Avoid storing white chocolate in a refrigerator or freezer. Instead, the perfect temperature to store it at will be around sixty five degrees Fahrenheit.

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