Like many chocolate lovers, I used to be a little snobby about white chocolate. It’s so sweet, I would get a headache just thinking about it. But when I noticed Valrhona was making a caramel-colored white chocolate using toasted milk powder, I was intrigued. Who doesn’t like the nutty flavor of dark caramel? White chocolate seemed like the perfect medium to carry that toasted taste.
When I did a little research, I learned that you don’t have to be a chocolate maker to make toasted white chocolate. You can caramelize white chocolate in under 30 minutes in your home oven! The only thing I find more amazing than this is how few people know about it. Which is why I’m trying to spread the word.
White chocolate caramelizes so beautifully for the same reason many people don’t like it: it contains a massive amount of sugar. If you stick a tray of chopped-up white chocolate in the oven at 250 Fahrenheit for 20 – 40 minutes (it will depend on your oven, just keep an eye on it), stirring every 10 minutes, it will go from this…
And finally, to this…
It’ll look a little grainy, but it turns into a beautiful ganache if you add cream and blend it with a hand mixer (it will be too thick for a whisk). I eyeballed my proportions, but I probably used about a 3:1 ratio of white chocolate to cream. Try to heat the cream to the same temperature as the melted chocolate, and add it a little at a time — the chocolate might look like it’s seizing at first, but keep adding more cream and it will eventually smooth out again into a beautiful, silky ganache. It’ll have the texture and taste of caramel, but with less stickiness and sweetness.
When your ganache is silky, pour it into a frame (I used a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper) and let it set. Use it as the filling for bonbons. Or melt it and pour it over vanilla ice cream. Or eat it with a spoon. The possibilities are endless.
You can even temper it to make bars and bonbon shells. I haven’t tried this yet, but here’s a drool-worthy pic of successfully tempered caramelized white chocolate bars from Celia’s lovely Fig Jam and Lime Cordial blog.