White chocolate is a highly misunderstood food. I may even go as far as to say that it is the red-headed stepchild of the food world. White chocolate is composed of cocoa butter, milk solids, and sugar. Because of its composition of ingredients, white chocolate is actually not a chocolate at all and because of this, it invokes rage from chocolate lovers everywhere.
"It is not chocolate!" people shout.
I say - who cares? It tastes good. It is creamy. I chuckled when Dave Lebovitz stated:
There's nothing odder to me than people who say, "I don't like white chocolate...because it's not chocolate!" Which is like saying, "I don't like white wine...because it's not Champagne!"
Amen to that, brother. I don't think I will ever understand people's ire in regards to white chocolate. Frankly, I find that I have a harder time resisting white chocolate more than any other chocolate. And my will power is pretty good. But if I have white chocolate in the apartment?
Diet doomsday, my friends. Diet doomsday.
When David Lebovitz recently posted about his class at L'école du Grand Chocolat Valrhona, a gorgeous site befell my eyes. Caramelized white chocolate. "The Toffee of Milk". Just the sound of that name made me salivate. I needed the recipe.
David answered my prayers. Just before I began to churn my Honey Peach Bellini Ice Cream for this past Tuesday with Dorie, I saw David's post for the recipe. I knew that it would make the perfect topping to that luscious dessert.
Unfortunately, I was rushed and did not have the time to find a high quality white chocolate. Therefore, I used supermarket white chocolate chips. David notes that, if using a lower quality white chocolate, be sure to at least use one with 20% milk solids. He also noted that the chocolate would become chalky and hard to stir, but it is nothing that a little heavy cream wouldn't fix. So I forged ahead.
The result was a creamy, complex, and addictive sauce that called my name after each bite. The original recipe, without the butter and cream, lasts for several months. So if you use a high quality white chocolate, this could be at your beck and call. The possibilities for this sauce are endless.
If I thought I was in trouble with white chocolate chips in the house, I was in for a whole new world of hurt.
But oh, it hurts so good.
Caramelized White Chocolate Sauce adapted from David Lebovitz
Depending on the quality of your chocolate, you may have to add or subtract some heavy cream. The sauce should end up being smooth and creamy.
Here are David's notes:
Basically what you're doing is checking the chocolate every ten minutes and giving it a good stir to promote the caramelization. The only danger is overcooking: you want to cook it until it's the color of natural peanut butter. If you do overcook it and it gets grainy, you can press it through a fine mesh sieve and it'll be just fine.
12 oz good quality white chocolate, chopped coarse
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 250 F. Spread chocolate in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread with a clean, dry spatula.
Continute to cook for an additional 40-60 minutes, stirring at 10 minute intervals. (it may cook faster. Remove when it reaches a peanut-butter like color.) At some point, it may look chalky or lumpy, but keep stirring and it will smooth out.
Coook until the chocolate is a deep-golden brown and caramelized. Stir in sea salt.
Scrape the chocolate into a heat-proof bowl and set it over a pot of simmering water. Stir to remove lumps, adding up to 1/4 cup heavy cream until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Stir in butter. Let cool.
Pour into a jar and refridgerate until ready to use. (When cooled, it will harden. To thin it out, rewarm in a microwave, or in a bowl set over a pan of barely-simmering water.)