If you're craving a new addition to your hot chocolate repertoire, give hot chocolate made with Caramelised White Chocolate a whirl. It manages to combine toasty, nutty butterscotch flavours with a mellow sweetness that is sure to please. Pure magic.
Have you ever tried Caramelised White Chocolate? If you've never made it, then I'm urging you to try it out. As soon as possible. I'll be honest with you - it does take a little time. But the technique is very simple and the result is so impressive that you'll left be left in no doubt that it was worth the time and effort involved.
There are really only two rules to follow when making Caramelised White Chocolate, but these rules must not be broken:
- Use quality white chocolate with at least 30% cocoa butter
- Do not rush the cooking process - keep the temperature low, stir frequently and keep on cooking for as long as necessary (typically around 60 minutes)
A high level of cocoa butter is essential, since it is this, along with the sugars in the white chocolate that slowly caramelize when cooked at a low heat. Eventually, the baked chocolate turns into a golden brown liquid bursting with mellow, toasty, nutty, butterscotch flavours (sigh).
From this point there are multiple uses for the Caramelised White Chocolate, but a great starting point is to transform the golden, molten chocolate into a hot chocolate drink. Alternatively, just fr the adults, it can be used to turn out a batch of Caramelised White Chocolate Liqueur - absolute heaven.
Now I've piqued your interest I want to go back to those rules and re-affirm them.
All of the literature I have read suggest using the best quality white chocolate you can lay your hands on. And 30 is the magic number. Don't let your cocoa butter dip below 30% otherwise the result will be dry, grainy and a total waste of (under normal circumstances) perfectly acceptable chocolate.
To get across the second rule, I'm about to break character with my normal style of food photography and share with you some pictures of ugly food. Wait… what? I’m feeling bold.
I hope this is the only time I need to do this to your eyeballs, but I really do think that the pictures will help prove that a low cooking temperature, perseverance and trust is the order of the day for this recipe. The truth is, before white chocolate can be turned into the golden wonder that is Caramelised White Chocolate, it has to go through a nasty transition period. Yes it looks lumpy, dry and grainy. And yes, for a length of time it looks totally unappetising. To the untrained eye it will look beyond redemption.
Are you ready for the visual nasty?
Just look at the top right and bottom left images. Gruesome. But these images show that with patience, and the reserve not to throw in the towel and dump the lot in the bin half way through the cooking process, the white chocolate will come through in the end. Rather like the story of the ugly duckling, all of a sudden the transformation is complete and out pops a smooth, elegant and completely unrecognisable creature. That my friends, is Caramelised White Chocolate.
Be patient. Don't throw your mess out. Carry on cooking... slowly.
Now on with the recipe. Once ready, there are various ways to go with Caramelised White Chocolate:
- Pour into a pot and stored away for later use
- Let it firm up, break into pieces and use in baking
- Blend with milk to create a sublime hot chocolate
I'm all for the latter option right now.
Although I could happily devour a regular hot white chocolate any day of the week, I'd say that the caramelised version I'm presenting today is a much more sophisticated drink. Using Caramelised White Chocolate creates an altogether mellower chocolate drink. It still retains plenty of sweetness, but with undertones of butterscotch and a hint of toasted nuts.
Granted, to make that pot of Caramelised White Chocolate in the first place is a labour of love. But once you've got the knack, it's easy to double up the recipe and stash a little extra away in the cupboard for future use.
Now please excuse me. I'm desperate to get back to the kitchen and play about some more with Caramelised White Chocolate. Feel free to anticipate a few additional recipes from me featuring this magical golden chocolate soon.
Caramelised White Chocolate "Hot Chocolate"
- 100g/ 4 oz/ White Chocolate (at least 30% cocoa butter)
- 400ml/ 1 ¾ cups Whole (Full Fat) Milk
- ⅛ teaspoon Sea Salt
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Whipped cream
- 1 teaspoon Grated chocolate or caramel curls
To Make the Caramelised White Chocolate
- Preheat oven to 120C/ 250F/ Gm½ and line a small baking sheet with baking parchment
- Roughly chop the chocolate and lay on the baking sheet
- Cook for 10 minutes then give it a good stir
- Continue to cook, stirring at 10 minute intervals, until the chocolate turns a lovely deep, golden brown. It will soften as it is stirred and later in the cooking process it will begin to feel more fluid. Cooking times will vary depending on the chocolate used. Anything between 40 minutes and 70 minutes is typical - judge by the colour - aim for a runny chocolate the colour of peanut butter.
- If, once the cooking is complete, the chocolate is still a little lumpy, push through a metal sieve to break down the lumps
- Either use immediately or scrape into a sealable jar, let cool to room temperature and seal. Store for up to 2 weeks
To Make the Caramelised White Chocolate Hot Chocolate
- If using Caramelised White Chocolate that has cooled and set just reheat very gently in the microwave until it is back to liquid form
- Heat the milk in a saucepan then, when it is hot, pour in the caramelised chocolate, add a few flakes of sea salt & vanilla (if using) and stir, or whisk, until smooth (or to get a frothy bubbly top blitz in a blender for a few seconds)
- Pour into mugs, top with cream and chocolate or caramel if using and serve immediately