Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Adventures in the Kitchen: Caramelizing White Chocolate

When I need some chocolate inspiration, I have a couple of places I like to turn. For baking, it’s Nick Malgieri. For decadent truffles, candies, and other treats, it’s Michael Recchiuti. And for detailed, illustrated narratives on any kind of process related to making any kind of chocolate creation, or really, any kind of delicious culinary creation, it’s David Lebovitz. His books are informative, and his website is a wealth of searchable information with a blog updated nearly every day.

One recipe I found there calls for caramelized white chocolate. While I haven’t decided whether or not to go with that recipe, I knew that I had to try this. Lebovitz details the process quite well in his post on white chocolate caramelization, but I’ll post some of my (less professional) pictures and discuss my experience here.

I started with about a pound of chopped white dark chocolate on a cookie sheet.

This went into the oven, which I’d heated to 250° F, for ten minutes. It came out melted with some hints of caramelization at the edges.

I then stirred and redistributed the chocolate with a spatula. Lebovitz warned that, during the process, the chocolate may look lumpy, grainy, or worse, and he was right.

I popped it back in the oven for another ten minutes, stirred and distributed again, and put it back in for about five more minutes to get it just a tad darker.

I took it out when it had the color and consistency of natural peanut butter, per the instructions. I then added a pinch of sea salt, and set this aside for a use to be determined.

Amazingly, when cooled, the caramelized white chocolate is quite smooth, and the caramel flavor is very apparent. This could work very well in a mousse, or in a cake. Updates on the final disposition of this creation are forthcoming in a future post.


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