Before we begin, I have to break some news to you all. White chocolate is not technically chocolate. For some, this may be a shock, for others (who never really liked white chocolate anyway), this may actually be vindication. Chocolate and white chocolate share a common core ingredient: cocoa beans. The beans contain two component parts within their shells – the cocoa nibs, which get roasted, dried, and and turned into dark chocolate – and the yellowish vegetable fat called cocoa butter, this is what makes white chocolate. So, they come from the same plant, but are entirely different things.
At home chocolate making is a fun and easy activity. Whether you are preparing for a holiday, or just stuck in the house on a rainy day, home made white chocolate is a true treat. Part of the reason many folks are turned off by white chocolate is it’s often cited over-sweetness. When you make it at home, you can sidestep that part by simply altering the amount of sugar or stevia (yes, white chocolate can be sugar free!) you add. So grab your favorite apron and head into the kitchen.
Your Shopping List
While white chocolate chips, and those white “candy melts” can be found in any grocery or craft store, one look at the ingredient list might have you reconsidering. All those “Partially-Hydrogenated” oils are a sneaky way of saying “trans fats”. That’s no good. Luckily, you don’t have to include those things in your cooking at all. While you may never have thought of chocolate as a health food, you can at least say that your home made version is far less processed, and totally free of trans fats.
Nothing on this list is too exotic, or difficult to find, so beginning at your local grocery store should be just fine. Here is what you will need:
- 1 C. (8 oz.) Food Grade Cocoa Butter (If you prefer organic, you can often find it)
- 1 C. Confectioner’s Sugar (10x Sugar) – or Substitute Stevia for Sugar Free Version. (You can also find an organic version of either)
- 1/4 C. Powdered Milk. If you have a choice, go for very fine powder, rather than a course grind)
- 2 Vanilla Beans
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- (If Vanilla Beans are not available, just use 2 tsp. vanilla extract instead.)
You will want to set up a double boiler on your stove. To do this, fill a large stock pot about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up with water, and begin heating it up to a boil. Once you have a good, rolling boil going, carefully place a metal mixing bowl (or a metal saucepan if you don’t have a bowl) into the stock pot so that the bottom is resting in the boiling water. You will be melting the cocoa butter solids in this bowl. What this process does is add a layer of protection from the direct heat of the flame or electric burner, and keeps your cocoa butter from scorching. (Scorched cocoa butter = starting over)
Have your chocolate molds set up somewhere close by, so that you do not have to walk across the kitchen with boiling hot cocoa butter. Or, if you are planning on coating some home made baked goods in delicious, white chocolate, have those somewhere within arms reach too.
Get some oven mitts (Or a good thick towel) and a rubber spatula, and let’s begin.
- Carefully add the cocoa butter to the double boiler, and allow it to begin melting slightly.
- Combine the powdered sugar and powdered milk together to make a dry mixture.
- Slowly add this mixture to the melting cocoa butter, about one tablespoon at a time.
- Add the vanilla when mixture is thoroughly melted.
- Stir constantly until mixture is smooth and silky with no lumps.
From here, you can turn off the heat on your stove, and use a rubber spatula to help pour the hot mixture into your molds. You may find it easier to remove the finished product from the molds if you give them a quick spritz of cooking spray beforehand. This helps to ensure all your hard work comes out in one piece.
If you are adding your melted chocolate to cookies, pastries, or even using a drizzle to help decorate a cake, you can do that now too.
Let your chocolate molds stand for several hours at room temperature. If you are in a hurry, you can also carefully place the molds in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to help hurry things along (Note that it may take longer than 30 minutes for them to fully set)
A Quick Note on Sweetness
As mentioned before, many folks don’t care much for the sweetness level of white chocolate. You can experiment with this, and add the sugar slowly, until you feel you have reached the ideal flavor. Naturally, BE CAREFUL when tasting hot, melted chocolate. You will definitely want to give a minute to cool on the spoon before trying it. Once you have the sweetness level right, you can stop right there.
Some Fun Ideas for Your Home Made White Chocolate
Cake Pops are all the rage these days, and what better way to add your own special touch than coating them in hand made white chocolate? Your guests will love these cute, bite sized desserts that can be decorated to match any occasion.
Speaking of special occasions, white chocolate seems like it is custom designed to go along with baby or bridal showers. You could find some wedding bell, or baby bottle shaped candy molds, and give away little bags of chocolate goodies to your guests. For an extra special touch to the cake, try spelling out a fun message using chocolate molds. “The Future Mrs. Smith”, or “Welcome Baby Daniel” add a tasty, professional looking touch to those home made cakes.
Need to update that same cookie recipe you’ve been perfecting for 10 years? Try dipping them in melted white chocolate, for a tantalizing change.
Most of all, just have fun!