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How Do I Choose the Best White Chocolate?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2016
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When choosing white chocolate, you should typically look for one that is made using cocoa butter and does not contain vegetable fats. Despite its name, white chocolate is not actually chocolate, since it does not contain any chocolate liquor or cocoa solids that come from cocoa beans. This is what allows such chocolate to have a pale, almost white color and allows some people who may have negative reactions or allergies to chocolate to still eat it. Cocoa butter is still often used to make this type of chocolate, though some inexpensive products may appear similar to it but use vegetable fat.

The name “white chocolate” is something of an inherent misnomer, since this type of food is not actually chocolate. One of the defining characteristics of chocolate is the presence of chocolate liquor, which is a combination of oils and solids from cocoa beans. This is what gives milk and dark chocolate the distinctive flavor and aroma of chocolate, though various other ingredients are added to different types of chocolate. White chocolate, however, does not contain cocoa solids or chocolate liquor; though it should still contain cocoa butter that is essential to the signature flavor of this particular confection.

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As you are looking for the best white chocolate, you should be sure that anything you purchase and use indicates “cocoa butter” among its primary ingredients. It is not unusual for it to be the second ingredient listed, even for high quality white chocolate, since sugar is usually the first ingredient. Some brands even indicate exactly how much cocoa butter is present in the mixture they use, which you might also find on the product’s packaging. In the US, a product typically must contain at least 20% cocoa butter to legally be called white chocolate, often mixed with milk and vanilla.

There are a number of other products that may look similar to white chocolate, but which do not actually contain cocoa butter. These are frequently marked as “confectioner coating” and have a texture somewhat like that of chocolate, but the taste lacks chocolaty richness. Imitation vanilla is typically added to these types of coatings to give them some kind of flavor, and vegetable fats are commonly used to give them a consistency and melting point similar to chocolate. You should avoid any chocolate that contains vegetable or animal fat instead of cocoa butter; keep in mind, however, that “soy lecithin” is often added to chocolate as an emulsifier and does not indicate poor quality.

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pleonasm
Post 3

@indigomoth - It's used in quite a few chocolate baking recipes, so you might be able to get it at a store that sells cake supplies or a whole foods store.

I like making my own chocolates, just because I like trying out different flavors. It must be particularly nice to make your own from scratch and with white chocolate you'd be able to play around with the flavors and the colors a lot more.

indigomoth
Post 2

White chocolate is actually pretty easy to make at home if you are the type who likes to do that kind of thing. Then you can make sure that it contains as much cocoa butter as possible.

In fact homemade white chocolate is just melted cocoa butter with sugar and vanilla and anything you care to add to it and it can pretty much all be done in a microwave.

I'm not a huge fan of white chocolate myself, as I prefer milk or dark chocolate, but my mother really likes white chocolate, so I've been meaning to make some of this for her.

One of these days I'll get around to it, although it can be difficult to find cocoa butter in the supermarket.

bythewell
Post 1

You should avoid the vegetable fats not only because they have an inferior flavor, but also because they are worse for you.

There are several studies indicating that generic vegetable fats are generally bad for the health. They are often made with trans-fats which have been shown to cause cardiac problems and increase the chances of breast cancer.

Eating chocolate should basically be a guilt free exercise. White chocolate isn't as good for you, but as long as you get the good stuff, like gourmet white chocolate it doesn't have to be that bad either.

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