Did you know you can make Caramelized White Chocolate? I’ve been wanting to try it for the longest time. It’s really pretty easy because it all happens in the oven. Slow roasting is the road to creamy, caramelly white chocolate.
Yep, that’s right. Roasted white chocolate. Who knew?
But first things first. Let’s talk about white chocolate in general. Raise your hand if you love white chocolate…
For most of my life, I didn’t care for it. As kids, we always hoped there wasn’t a white chocolate Easter bunny in our baskets or a white chocolate egg. Blech!
I always felt cheated with white chocolate, because, after all, it’s not really chocolate at all is it? Okay, it does have cocoa butter in it, but after that, it’s just milk and sugar.
Do you know what changed my mind about white chocolate? White chocolate macadamia nut cookies! I know that sounds pretty mundane for those of you who grew up with the abundance of choices we have today.
When I grew up, we didn’t bake with white chocolate. There were no white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Well, maybe there were, but I had never had one, at least not that I remember.
Don’t get me wrong, my parents were quite accomplished home cooks. We ate a much wider variety of foods than most of my friends, simply because my parents cooked lots of international foods.
I remember having friends over and urging them out of their comfort zone of familiar foods to try something new. Sometimes they fell in love, sometimes they made a face. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, though, right?
So, it wasn’t until I was out of college and in the work world that one of my friends introduced me to one of her favorite cookies. I remember biting into it and thinking….”Heyyyyy, maybe I DO like white chocolate!”
Yep, I loved that darn cookie. And so began a new fondness for white chocolate. Of course, it has to be IN something or ON something. I’m still not one to want to pick up a chunk of white chocolate and eat it.
But if it’s in a cookie or a scone or frosting or whipped cream or ice cream or anything? Then I’m all in. Sign me up.
Okay. So, I was never a big fan of white chocolate growing up…but, we all know I am a huge fan of caramel. I love drizzling 10 Minute Buttermilk Caramel Sauce on top of just about anything.
So, what is dulce de leche but a sweet milk cooked until it caramelizes? Today, we’re simply taking white chocolate down that same path, but we’ll be doing it in the oven.
It’s easier than you think. First, there’s only one ingredient in today’s recipe, white chocolate. That’s it. Besides that, you’ll need an oven and a baking sheet.
I opted to put parchment on my baking sheet because I figured it would be easier to maneuver as I went through the process. That does mean you’ll have to hold the sheet steady when you stir the chocolate, but in the end, I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
I used 8 ounces of good quality white chocolate. This is important. I used bars of Ghiradelli because they’re widely available, but Lindt is also easy to find. I happened to have a couple of bars ready and waiting in my pantry, so that’s what I used.
You can splurge and use Valrhona, but I didn’t find that necessary. If you’re a true white chocolate fan, maybe you should go that route, but for me, Ghiradelli worked just fine for this application. (See recipe notes for other brand suggestions.)
If you buy a low quality white chocolate, I can’t guarantee your results. The brands I mention have enough cocoa butter and good flavor to make it wonderfully through the roasting process. Lower quality brands might not survive it and taste chalky to boot. Blech!
Ready? It’s going to take about 45-55 minutes to caramelize your white chocolate. You’ll have to stir it first at 5 minutes and then at 10 minute intervals after that. Go find a good book to read, clean the kitchen, read emails, surf the web, watch a show, call a friend…just do something that keeps you near the kitchen or near your timer.
I thought the time spent making this would be tedious, but it really went quickly. Here’s how it goes…
The Stages of Caramelized White Chocolate
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Break up your chocolate into 1-2″ pieces. Spread them in one layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Put them in the oven for 5 minutes. This will be just enough time for the pieces to melt.
Using a heat proof spatula, spread the melted chocolate into a thin creamy layer. This is probably the last time it’s going to look creamy for a while. Take a look, appreciate it, and put it back in the oven.
Set your timer for 10 minutes. Take the chocolate out of the oven and stir it. Now when I say, “Stir,” I really mean scrape the bottom up and spread it, scrape and spread, scrape and spread.
You’re just trying to distribute the heat evenly. The bottom will cook faster than the top, so “stirring” is critical for an even roast.
If you used parchment paper, you’ll have to stabilize it so that it doesn’t slide all around while you’re scraping and spreading. The edges of the parchment were free from chocolate, so I just used my oven mitted thumb to hold it down.
When you stir it after the first 10 minutes, it may seem a bit chunky or grainy. Just scrape and spread and get it back into the oven. Take note of the color, you’ll begin to notice a slight change. In this stage, the color will be a little creamier than when you started.
Once it’s mixed, spread it evenly again and pop it back into the oven for another ten minutes.
When you take it out, you’ll see the color really starting to change. We’re now at a total of 25 minutes. Do the whole scrape and spread mixing action and send it back into the oven. It will seem to dry out a bit as moisture evaporates from the chocolate.
This is why the cocoa butter is so important. If there’s not enough cocoa butter in the chocolate, what will help keep it smooth and spreadable? Right. Buy good chocolate.
It goes back into the oven for another 10 minutes. We’re now at a total of 35 minutes. Look at the color! We’re starting to get somewhere now. Stir, scrape and spread and put it back into the oven.
After another ten minutes (a total of 45 minutes now), I stirred it and wondered if I was done or if I should push it another 10?
I was looking for a toffee color or a peanut butter color and it seemed as if I was almost there, but not quite. The color still looked a little blonde for me. I decided to go with my gut and roasted it for a final 10 minutes.
That last ten minutes (a total of 55 minutes) did the trick. The color was perfect! I scraped and spread, scraped and spread. But this time, the chunkiness started to smooth out. As I stirred it, the mixture became beautifully creamy and super glossy.
Look! It even cascaded in ribbons off of my spatula! Gorgeous!
Now what to do? I could transfer it to a jar and let it cool, then store it. I could let it cool in a dish and chop chunks off of it.
But I knew I was going to be using it in a specific recipe, so I spread it out into a thin layer. It wasn’t perfectly even and I didn’t try to make it so. I just spread it around the sheet just as I did when I was popping it back into the oven.
I let it cool right on the same parchment lined sheet. Once it was at room temperature, I put it into the freezer to set up for about 10 minutes.
When it was completely hardened, I removed it from the freezer, lifted it easily off the parchment paper and started cutting it into various sized pieces. I used a knife to start the job and used my hands to break the pieces into 1-2″ pieces.
Once I had it all broken up, I put all of the pieces into a jar to await my future recipe.
Well, all of the pieces didn’t go into the jar. I had to taste it, after all. Because I had such thin shards of chocolate, the piece I tried melted instantly in my mouth.
It was perfectly smooth and creamy with a distinctly different flavor than plain old white chocolate. It had a deeper flavor, a very creamy mild caramel flavor. It was still reminiscent of white chocolate but with hints of caramel. Delicious!
At that point, I wondered if I could have pushed it for an extra 10 minutes during the roasting process. I wondered if I could have gotten an even deeper caramel flavor without burning it.
Even so, I was quite happy with how it turned out. It was an easy process that went by rather quickly while I busied myself with other things.
Oh, and since I knew I was going to use the Caramelized White Chocolate in an upcoming recipe, I had to threaten my family to stay away from my little jar of chocolate until I had used what I needed.
Consider this your heads up :)
Caramelized White Chocolate
- 8 ounces premium white chocolate
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, if desired. See recipe notes.
Break chocolate into pieces about 1-2" in size. Place the pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Bake for 5 minutes. This will be long enough to melt the chocolate. Using a heat proof rubber spatula, "stir" the chocolate and spread into a thin layer. Return to the oven and stir every 10 minutes until you've achieved a deep toffee or peanut butter color. It's going to be lumpy and bumpy through the process, but it will smooth out in the end. Make sure you are using your spatula to scrape the bottom up and over the top when you're stirring it so that the mixture roasts evenly. Spread the chocolate evenly on the baking sheet before returning to the oven each time. The whole process took me about 55 minutes, but time will depend on your oven.
When the chocolate is done, it will be the color of peanut butter or toffee. Use your scraping and spreading motion to stir the chocolate for a minute or two. It will get smoother and shinier as you stir. At this point, you can transfer it to a jar for storage. I had plans to use it in a specific recipe, so I spread it thinly on the sheet and when it was cool, put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm it up so that I could break it up into pieces.
*I preferred using the parchment, but you will have to hold it steady every time you stir. You can opt out of the parchment and just bake it directly on the sheet. It will make stirring easier. I decided the non-stick, easy clean up was worth the extra maneuvering, but you can do without if you prefer.
*It's important to use a good quality white chocolate. I would avoid white chocolate chips or any kind of white "melting" chocolate. I used Ghiradelli white chocolate bars because I had some in my pantry I wanted to use up, but you can use Lindt, Valrhona, Scharfenberger, or Callebaut as well.
*My chocolate bars were rather thin. If you start with a chunkier piece of chocolate, it might not look as creamy as mine does after the first 5 minutes in the oven. Don't worry about it. Just stir it and put it back into the oven.
*When you "stir" the chocolate, it's more like a scraping and spreading motion. I make sure to scrape up the bottom and spread it out. Scrape and spread. Scrape and spread.
*When you're done roasting the chocolate, think about how you want to use it. You can scrape it into a jar if you just want it to be one solid chunk of chocolate, or you can create a thick layer so that you can break it up into big chunks. I went with a thin layer for a future recipe.
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