White chocolate is a chocolate confection made with cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids and vanilla, the same ingredients that you’ll find in milk chocolate with the exception of cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is what gives dark and milk chocolates their characteristic chocolate flavor and color. With white chocolate, you’re left with a very creamy and sweet product that has a strong flavor of milk and vanilla to it. The exact flavor of white chocolate will vary from brand to brand, and bar to bar, as the exact amount of each ingredient in white chocolate can vary a lot from manufacturer to manufacturer.
If you read the ingredients list on your white chocolate and see some kind of vegetable oil listed, you’re not dealing with real white chocolate and it won’t have the same luxurious texture as a product made with pure cocoa butter. Good quality quite chocolate will have a cacao percentage marked on the packaging, just as other chocolate bars will. This percentage indicates the amount of cocoa solids – cocoa powder and cocoa butter – in a chocolate product. For white chocolate, it simply indicates the amount of pure cocoa butter in the bar. A higher cocoa butter percentage generally means that the bar will be firmer, smoother and will often be slightly less sweet than other white chocolates.
White chocolate isn’t everyone’s favorite type of chocolate, but it can be absolutely delicious in some types of desserts and baked goods. It adds a nice amount of sweetness to white chocolate macadamia nut cookies (a classic and favorite of mine), for instance, and is an excellent contrast to tangy lemons, limes and even zesty berries in all kinds of desserts.