Caramelized White Chocolate Recipe
I don’t like to make promises I can’t keep. So when I posted on my classes at the L’école du Grand Chocolat Valhrona, everyone began clamoring for the secret technique for the caramelized white chocolate that was shown. Technically, even though I didn’t promise anything, I can’t say I blame you—if I saw a picture of it, I’d want to know how to make it, too.
Since I was otherwise engaged in dipping something that day at school—or more likely, dipping my hands in something—when they caramelized the white chocolate in the adjacent ovens, I didn’t follow along. (Which, I swear, had nothing to do with staying up late drinking Côte du Rhone.) So I e-mailed chef Alex Espiritu who gave me some tips. And as a follow-up, Valrhona generously sent me 3 kilos of their top-notch Ivoire white chocolate to play around with. Let’s hear it for free chocolate! (Or more specifically, let’s hear it for having another big bag of chocolate to dip my hands in around here.)
Ivoire is 34% cocoa butter, which is higher than many other white chocolates, but I don’t see any reason why this technique shouldn’t work with one with a lower cocoa butter content*. Of course, be sure to use real white chocolate, and stay away from those silly imposters that deceptively call themselves “white coating” or something like that.
This is pretty simple and anyone could do this; all you need is a block, or some fêves of white chocolate, an oven, and a baking sheet. Just be sure not to let any drops of water get near the white chocolate at any time, which can cause it to seize and ruin the whole thing.
Because it’s pure white chocolate, once cool, the liquid caramelized white chocolate will firm up again and become solid. White streaks of hardened cocoa butter may appear, but they’re harmless. To thin it out, rewarm in a microwave, or in a bowl set over a pan of barely-simmering water: it’ll come back and be smooth again in a jiffy. At the school, we mixed it with white chocolate ganache, but if you want to thin it out to use as a swoop or a swirl, you should add about 25% of the volume of liquid to the volume of caramelized white chocolate. (That is, if you have 1 cup of caramelized white chocolate, you should add at least 1/4 cup of liquid to it.)
So here’s the recipe and the technique for you. As for me, I’m playing with a few ideas for using this and my mind is racing with possibilities. I’m thinking it would make a cerveau-blowing glaze for a chocolate-coffee cake, a topping for sticky buns or even white chocolate-sour cherry scones. Maybe fill some macarons?
And then there’s butter pecan ice cream, which could certainly be improved with a few ribbons of this looping through each scoop. My head is spinning, as my ice cream maker is certain to be doing a little later on this afternoon.
Note: I did try this with ‘supermarket’ white chocolate, which probably had the minimum of cocoa butter (20%) and it was quite chalky and hard to stir. When it was done, I blended it with heavy cream and it was nice and smooth. But be aware if you use a white chocolate with a low cocoa butter content, it will be quite dry during the caramelization. Check the package and look for one with a high cocoa butter content, boasting at least 30%, for best results.
Related Links and Recipes
Valrhona Ivoire Fêves (Amazon)
Valrhona Ivoire White Chocolate (Chocosphere)
White Chocolate Sorbet (Recipe)