This White Chocolate Guide will help you navigate the baking and candy aisles and the umpteen products claiming to be white chocolate.
Which white chocolate is best for you depends on what you’re using it for: baking, dipping Oreos or fruit or making candy like a bark or just for snacking.
White chocolate does tend to have a bad rap among certain dessert lovers, who associate it with mass produced candy bars and deride it for being a lesser chocolate than dark chocolate.
But, it's luxe and silky and works as a canvas for many different flavors from black pepper to raspberry--sweet to savory.
White chocolate can't be beat for making a holiday candy bark.
However, be aware that white chocolate has vast differences in quality. Some of the items you’ll see on store shelves aren’t technically white chocolate at all.
And to start, you should know, if you don’t already, that white chocolate doesn’t actually contain chocolate.
True white chocolate is made of cocoa butter and sugar.
If you’re making a dessert where the white chocolate will really be the star, you want to choose a product with a higher percentage of cocoa butter, at least 30 percent cocoa butter, preferably a bit higher.
Keep reading this white chocolate guide for more tips.
What Is a High Quality Ivory Chocolate?
Choose a brand like Valrhona or a more moderately priced Callebaut or Cacao Barry. You can probably find blocks of either brand to chop or melt at your nearest Whole Foods or a gourmet kitchen shop. El Rey is another option.
And of course, you’ll pay more for a high quality white chocolate than you will a bag of store brand “white chocolate chips” at your grocery store.
Those aren’t even white chocolate. Technically they’re made of sugar and hydrogenated oil. Those “chips” are also greasier because of all the oil.
An eight ounce block of Callebaut at my favorite shop is $6.50 white the grocery store’s “white chocolate chips” are $3 for a 12 ounce bag.
If you’re on a budget, look for Green & Black’s.
Which Is Best for Melting?
My choice for melting is Ghirardelli melting wafers, which sadly no longer contain cocoa butter.
But, having said that, white chocolate is temperamental when it comes to melting. It scorches easily and it’s difficult to get a smooth bowl of melted product.
So, many home bakers or home-based commercial bakers pick Ghirardelli if they’re going to make White Chocolate Dipped Oreos or pretzels or strawberries.
Likewise if you’re going to make a candy bark and you really want genuine white chocolate, the white chocolate wafers are a good choice.
There are lots of home bakers who love Merckens. However, Mercken's wafers are called "Merckens White Chocolate Flavored Coating Wafers." So buyer beware, they may melt well but they don't contain cocoa butter.
If you insist that your bark be made of actual white chocolate, buy a block of Valrhona or Callebaut to melt low and slow on your range, either in a double boiler or a makeshift one.
Chocolate chips contain less cocoa butter than than chocolate bars and blocks so the chips retain their shape–making it less than ideal for melting.
How Can You Tell Quality White Chocolate?
First of all, look at the color. Quality white chocolate should look yellow or ivory because cocoa butter is a light yellow.
Look at the ingredients listed on the package. You want to see a cocoa butter percentage of 30 or 33 percent and up.
If you don't see a percentage listed, choose one that has cocoa butter listed as the second ingredient.
Are Vanilla Baking Chips the Same as White Chocolate Chips?
No, they aren't. Just take a look at this label from store brand chips.
Vanilla or "white" baking chips contain sugar and hydrogenated oils along with some flavoring and milk powder.
Will life as you know it be over if you use vanilla chips? Of course not, but your cookies will probably be greasier and not taste as wonderful.
White Chocolate Guide to Best Brands
- L'Artisan du Chocolat
- Pierre Marcolini
- Original Beans
- El Rey
Recipes You Might Like
Make a batch of white chocolate raspberry muffins.
Try my favorite super easy White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.
White Chocolate Chex Mix is a must for holiday movie nights.
Pistachio Cranberry White Chocolate Bark makes a great holiday gift. Kids can help you make this one.