White Chocolate: Do You Love It or Hate it?
It may be said — by those who like to make such pronouncements — that the world is divided into two kinds of people: those who like white chocolate and those who passionately argue that it has no business calling itself chocolate at all.
Is there any way to bridge the divide? Well, maybe. Here are a few white chocolate facts perhaps we can all agree on:
1. Some countries don’t classify white chocolate as chocolate – because it contains no cocoa solids.
2. In particular, it does not contain chocolate liquor, the pure product made from the ground or melted center, or nib, of the cocoa bean that gives dark and milk chocolate their chocolatey taste.
3. It does, however, contain cocoa butter, along with milk solids, sugar, lecithin and flavorings, like vanilla.
4. Because some makers of “white chocolate” were skimping on the cocoa butter and instead using inferior ingredients, such as vegetable oil and cheaper fats, chocolate companies like Hershey Foods and the Chocolate Manufacturers Association of the United States of America, plus the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, established “standard of identity for white chocolate” guidelines, in 2002.
5. These guidelines, which went into effect in 2004, require that anything calling itself white chocolate must contain a minimum of 20 percent cocoa butter, 14 percent of total milk solids and 3.5 percent milk fat, and a maximum of 55 percent nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners.
There are white chocolates out there that are worthy of their name – and recipes that will turn even those whose hearts are hardened against the confection into admirers, if perhaps reluctant ones.
Hard-core doubters can try Ina Garten’s White Chocolate Bark, Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies or White Chocolate Lollipops, Alex Guarnaschelli’s Chocolate Drop Cookies with Caramelized White Chocolate Filling, or Sandra Lee’s White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark.