Saturday, May 2, 2009
Caramelized White Chocolate, Oh My!
This recipe was one of the things I saw on a food blog and thought immediately "I HAVE to make that!" David Lebovitz mentioned it briefly in his post about the Valrhona chocolate school, and the mere suggestion of caramelizing white chocolate intrigued me. Until this year I haven't been a big fan of white chocolate, but all of a sudden it has started to taste good to me - and I also LOVE all things caramel.
When I googled "caramelized white chocolate" and discovered that it tastes something like browned butter frosting and butterscotch, that sealed the deal for me. And it's easy to make, to boot! This website, The Chocolate Life, gave simple instructions that I put to the test, to fabulous results. My apartment filled with an amazing smell almost immediately, and I quickly found myself making a ganache and dreaming up ways to serve it (macaron filling? cupcake topping? cookie frosting? something with fleur de sel? never mind the fact that I scooped most of it into my mouth with my fingers...). I was already bemoaning the fact that Trader Joe's has discontinued their white chocolate chips, but now I'm practically in mourning. I may start buying them whenever I find them, since I'm finding them to be increasingly scarce.
Caramelized White Chocolate
12 oz. white chocolate chips
for the ganache:
1/2 C heavy cream (increase for a thinner ganache)
1 T unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Spread 12 oz. white chocolate chips (or more!) in a roasting pan and place in the oven. Stir every 8-10 minutes, for an average of 25-35 minutes in the oven. Be careful not to burn them (I often take them out of the oven at 25 minutes after stirring every 8 minutes). They will start out looking as pictured above - crumbling slightly and browned. They should liquify eventually. The time for this process varies greatly with different sizes and brands of white chocolate chips, so allow enough time for this to take more than an hour if you're trying a brand for the first time.
To make into a ganache, heat 1/2 C of heavy cream in a small saucepan until bubbles form around the sides of the pan. Then pour over the chocolate chips and stir smoothly until all the candy is melted, or process together in a food processor (keep the processor with the chocolate in it running while you pour the heated cream into it in a constant stream). Stir in/process 1 tablespoon unsalted butter. Let cool; whip with an electric mixer when cooled if you want a lighter whipped ganache. Makes approximately 1 1/2 C ganache.
If you don't want to make this into a ganache, well, get creative! I'm considering sprinkling them on top of, or maybe inside of, cupcakes...but the crumbly nature of the roasted chips makes them a little difficult unless they are mixed while warm with warm cream into the smooth ganache, or perhaps they would work in a buttercream frosting. It's certainly worth the time to explore the options for this wonderfully rich dessert flavor! I will be sure to post on caramelized white chocolate again and again.