To purists, this is not chocolate because it is made only from the fat or butter of the cacao bean and contains none of the flavoursome cocoa solids that give dark and milk chocolates their admired flavour and colour. It’s believed to have been created in the 1930s and is essentially a pale, milky solid with light undertones of chocolate flavour.
The basic additions are powdered or condensed milk and quite a lot of sugar (up to 55% in some versions); flavourings and other ingredients might be found by inspection of the label. The texture is notably fattier than dark chocolate and because it is essentially sweetened fat it is very much higher in calories than a dark chocolate, at least twice and up to three times higher, depending on which chocolate is being compared.
Watch our video tutorial on how to work with different types of chocolate:
See also: CHOCOLATE
White chocolate is less widely stocked than other varieties.
Chocolate does not need to be refrigerated but in hot weather or centrally-heated houses, lightly chilled chocolate is nicer to eat.
At a cool, constant temperature chocolate keeps its virtue for many weeks, perhaps months.
White chocolate is increasingly used to add lightness of appearance in desserts but is often teamed and paired with so many other ingredients that its original light chocolate flavour is overwhelmed; this is particularly true when combined with cream, as with white truffles, which can often taste more of cream and butter than of any colour of chocolate. Best advice, to ensure the virtue you expect, is to use white chocolate very simply, not to add extra sugar – and then to ask why you’re not using a more flavoursome real chocolate.
White chocolate desserts should always be served well chilled as this reduces their inherent sweetness and fattiness. When used in such baked products as muffins, it should be in good sized chunks or its flavour will be lost.
Gentle pulsing in a microwave is possibly a better way to melt chocolate than over hot water, possibly because it is so much faster; it will be molten even though holding its shape, so use only short bursts and stir often.
Discover our white chocolate recipe collection.