Archive for: white chocolate
White chocolate is a wonderful vehicle for vanilla. Good quality white chocolate is made up of cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids and vanilla, so most good white chocolate will already have a distinct vanilla flavor and it doesn’t take much more to push that to an even better one. So that means that this White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Tart is a good choice for vanilla lovers, as well as for anyone who is a white chocolate fan.
The tart has a chocolate crumb crust and is filled with a decadent vanilla bean-infused white chocolate ganache. The ganache is made with just three ingredients: white chocolate, heavy cream and a vanilla bean. The cream is heated and infused with vanilla, then poured over the white chocolate to create the ganache. It is silky smooth with a beautiful vanilla and cream flavor that reminds me a lot of vanilla bean ice cream. The chocolate crust is made with plain chocolate wafer cookies that have a strong cocoa flavor to them. As a result, the crust is not very sweet at all, so it tempers the sweetness of the ganache and adds a crunchy texture to each bite of the tart.
Be sure to use high quality white chocolate, not anything labeled as “baking pieces” or “candy coating.” These faux white chocolates aren’t made with cocoa butter and won’t give you the silky texture that we want in this tart. They also tend to be extremely sweet. I used Callebaut white chocolate in my tart and can assure you that it is worth splurging on some premium chocolate as a base for this recipe.
If you don’t have individual tart shells, or simply want a larger dessert, this recipe can be prepared in a 9-inch tart shell instead of four individual shells. This recipe can also easily be halved to serve make just two tarts. When I halve the filling, I often make all four tart shells anyway and just tuck two away (in an airtight container) for a few days for later use, as it is nice to have a tart shell or two on hand.
Not everyone is a big white chocolate fan, but even people who don’t generally like white chocolate find that it is a great combination with macadamia nuts. Creamy white chocolate is a great compliment for crunchy, buttery macadamia nuts because the flavors work extremely well together and neither one dominates the other. Other kinds of chocolate can sometimes overwhelm the delicate flavor of macadamia nuts. I happen to be a fan of white chocolate, so it goes without saying that I like the combination, but these White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies are good enough to win anyone over.
The blondies are dense and almost fudgy, just with a very brownie-like texture despite the fact that there is no chocolate in the bars themselves. They are, however, packed with chopped macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips. The bars are rich without being too heavy, and they have a good butter and vanilla flavor to them that showcases the white chocolate and nuts very well. I used slightly more macadamia nuts than white chocolate chips, simply because I wanted a little extra crunch in my blondies, although you can boost the amount of white chocolate a bit if you want a little extra in your batch.
I also used toasted, salted macadamia nuts for my blondies. You don’t need to use salted nuts if you prefer not to (and even untoasted work well), but I like the slightly savory edge that the salt gives to the nuts and think that it creates an even nicer contrast with the white chocolate. Cut these bars into any size slice you like. I usually opt for about 16 pieces, but you could serve smaller bite-sized bars or huge and indulgent ones. They will keep well for a couple of days when they are stored in an airtight container, too, so you you can make them ahead of time.
There is no better way to bring a little dose of cuteness to your holiday table than with some of these Melted Snowman Chocolates. I first saw this kind of design on a gourmet cookie available at a local specialty store. The cookie version appeared to be entirely made out of icing, but I wanted to turn it into a candy version that could stand alone. The snowmen start out with store-bought marshmallows which are then enrobed in white chocolate and decorated with the eyes, nose and other details that bring them to life.
To start, I dipped the bottom of my marshmallows in white chocolate and let them set up on a baking sheet so that they would stay in place. I left plenty of room for pools of white chocolate between the marshmallows. I poured some white chocolate over the marshmallows to completely cover them, then tapped the baking sheet on the counter to spread the chocolate around them. Then, I allowed the chocolate to set before decorating.
I used high quality white chocolate to make my candies, and tempered it so that my snowmen would have a smooth, shiny finish and a great “snap” when you bite into them. I highly recommend using real white chocolate and following my at-home tempering chocolate guide for the best finished product. Tempering the chocolate will prevent your snowmen from “blooming” as they sit, and will allow the chocolate to set up quickly and keep very well.
That being said, you can make these with a product called “candy melts,” which are a kind of faux chocolate available in a variety of colors. The candy melts don’t need to be tempered and are easy to work with (they are especially great for kids to use), but they don’t have the same creamy vanilla flavor or smooth melt of real white chocolate.
Tempered chocolate is very glossy, has a firm finish and melts smoothly at around body temperature. Simply melting the chocolate before you use it to dip berries, truffles or other goodies does not temper it. The process of tempering involves raising and lowering the temperature of the chocolate to encourage strong, organized crystallization of the cocoa butter so that the finished chocolate will have that glossy look, a sharp snap and will be resistant to chocolate bloom. In short, tempering chocolate makes it last longer and look better, and if you are serious about using chocolate in your kitchen, it is good to know how to do it.
There are several ways to temper chocolate and this method is known as seeding. It is very simple and it is very easy to do at home, both with small and large quantities of chocolate. For this demonstration, I am working with dark chocolate. Milk and white chocolates also need to be tempered and can be tempered in the exact same way as this dark chocolate, but the tempering process happens at a slightly lower temperature.
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.