What Is White Chocolate?

White chocolate is a chocolate derivative that isn't as sweet as other chocolates and, instead, has a milky taste. It was first introduced in the 1930s when Nestle made the candy bar Milkybar.

block of white chocolate on wooden surface

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What Is White Chocolate Made Of?

Chocolate is made from pods of a cacao tree. The pods are harvested, fermented and roasted before the shells are removed to produce cacao nibs, the "meat" of the bean. The nibs are then liquified before being cooled into either cocoa butter or cocoa powder. The cocoa butter helps give chocolate its texture, while the cocoa nibs produce the chocolate's smell and taste.

White chocolate is different. It does not contain cocoa nibs, which is why it has an off-white color instead of brown, but white chocolate still uses the cocoa butter to achieve its creamy, chocolate-like texture. White chocolate is made from combining the cocoa butter with sugar, powdered milk and flavoring ingredients such as vanilla extract. Because white chocolate doesn't use the nibs of the cocoa bean, there is actually a debate about whether white chocolate should actually be considered a type of chocolate at all.

close up shot of white chocolate chips

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Make Your Own White Chocolate

Even though white chocolate might not be as sweet as milk chocolate or as bitter as dark chocolate, people still love it for its creamy, milky qualities. If you are a white chocolate lover, you can easily make your own at home with this simple recipe:

What You Need:

  • 2 ounces cocoa butter edible
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered milk or soy milk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract, or flavor of your choice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger, or a spice of your choice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Silicone Molds

Instructions:

  1. Melt the cocoa butter in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl for about two minutes or until the butter is completely melted.
  2. Stir in the powdered sugar and milk powder. Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the molds.
  5. Refrigerate until cool
wooden spoon with white chocolate chips on it

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Baking With White Chocolate

Before you begin incorporating white chocolate into your baking routine, there are some things you need to know about what you can expect when working with this ingredient.

Do NOT Mix White Chocolate With Water-Based Food Coloring

If you are making a sweet treat and need to use food coloring to make it pop green or purple or whatever, it is a no-brainer that you would think to use white chocolate as a base to add bright colors to. But this assumption is very, very wrong. Water-based food colorings react with white chocolate and solidify it, making the mixture like chocolate pavement -- hard as a rock and impossible to work with. If you must color your white chocolate, make sure to use powder or oil-based food coloring.

white chocolate chip cookies on a cooling rack

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Be Careful When Substituting With White Chocolate

It's important not to assume that you can use white chocolate as a substitute for other types of chocolate. If a recipe calls for dark chocolate, adding white chocolate in its place is not the best idea because the color and flavor will be greatly impacted. If you choose to substitute milk chocolate with white chocolate, the taste and color of the final product will still be affected, but not as greatly.

Melt White Chocolate Slowly And Carefully

White chocolate burns at a lower temperature than darker chocolates. If you are using a microwave to melt the chocolate, first finely chop it before adding it to a bowl. Then heat it on low or defrost for a few minutes at a time, take it out of the microwave, stir it and heat it again in increments of up to 15 seconds at a time. Otherwise, you run the risk of burning your chocolate.

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