Did you know there was such a thing as blonde chocolate? I didn’t either. It’s a whole new kind of chocolate, and the chocolatiers at Valrhona invented it. Well, they actually created it by accident when they left a pot of melted white chocolate on the heat for too long. It basically caramelized…taking on a nice golden color and rich toffee/biscuit flavor. It’s pretty neat, but after I saw the price tag on a little bag of Valrhona Blonde, I decided to try it for myself.
My friend Christina from Christina’s Cucina, told me about it, so I looked it up and, sure enough, you can caramelize white chocolate yourself, in your home oven. You spread out white chocolate on a baking sheet and heat it in a low oven, stirring every 10 minutes, and it eventually caramelizes into a golden toffee color and takes on an absolutely heavenly flavor. It can be saved in a jar for later use, or you can use right away like I did. I added some salted roasted macadamia nuts and made an unusual bark. You can use it just like you’d use any chocolate, it will remelt perfectly. I’d like to try truffles, frosting, ganache…there are lots of possibilities.
Several blogs have outlined the process of turning white chocolate ‘blonde’. It was pretty straightforward, but a little tedious. My chocolate took over 90 minutes to finally start to turn color. It needs to be stirred every 10 minutes, so you need to hang around and be patient. The longer you let it go, the darker it will get. I stopped mine at a nice golden ‘blonde’. Is it worth it? Well, yes, if you consider that a small bag of the Valrhona blonde is very pricy, and it’s kind of a kick to create a new kind of chocolate in your own kitchen. I think it might be something I’d save for special occasions, like my annual holiday candy making session in December.
And by the way, I was able to do a batch successfully in the slow cooker. I placed the chocolate into the pot, turned it on the low setting. and let it go for 2 hours. After 2 hours the chocolate had turned a caramel color. I turned it off and began stirring. After a lot of stirring it eventually became smooth, and glossy. You would have to experiment with the settings on your particular slow cooker, though. Mine seems to run hot even on the low setting. I was also able to successfully caramelize regular Nestle white chips even though all my reading said this could not be done. The experts says use good quality white chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa butter. That will yield you the best taste, but I can attest that you can do this with lower quality chocolate, and even white chips, I think that’s because it’s the sugars in the substance that actually turn that golden color, not the cocoa butter. I may revisit this project at some point when I have more time, it’s fascinating.
- 12 oz white chocolate, chopped in small pieces
- 1 cup roasted and salted macadamia nuts, rough chopped
- a pinch of sea salt (optional)
- Set the oven to 250F
- Spread the chocolate out on a baking sheet.
- Put the pan in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes. Remove the tray and stir the chocolate. Repeat this process, stirring every 10 minutes, for as long as it takes for the chocolate to take on a rich brown color. I used a silicone 'spoonula' which was perfect for scraping up the chocolate as I stirred.
- The chocolate may appear lumpy or grainy at times...just keep stirring and it will smooth out. When the chocolate has become a nice rich brown, remove it from the oven and either use it right away, or spoon it into a jar. Keep at room temperature.
- To make the Macadamia Bark, mix the hot chocolate with the nuts, and salt, if using, and then spread out into a rectangle. I did this right on the same baking sheet. Let the chocolate harden at room temperature, or in the refrigerator.
- Break or cut into pieces when it is firm.
Caramelizing technique from Will Cook for Friends
So there you have it, another little bit of kitchen whimsy from TVFGI. My taste testers went CRAZY for this bark, the crunchy salty macadamias with that complex blonde chocolate was pretty great. If you’re at all intrigued, I’d encourage you to give this a try.