White chocolate seems to divide people between those who love it and those who hate it. Moreover, the debate about whether white chocolate is real chocolate has existed ever since it was first made in the 1930s.
In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about white chocolate from what it really is, the history of white chocolate, how it’s made, and where to buy it.
What is white chocolate made of?
The ingredients of white chocolate are cocoa butter, sugar, milk powder, and sometimes vanilla. Although white chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa solids, it does contain cocoa butter which also comes from the cocoa bean.
In fact, around 50% of the weight of a cocoa bean is cocoa butter. And because of the inclusion of cocoa butter, white chocolate really is chocolate.
In the USA, Canada, the EU and the UK, white chocolate must contain a minimum of 20% cocoa butter. It must also contain at least 3.5% milk fat.
Why is there a minimum requirement for cocoa butter in white chocolate? Because cocoa butter is a nutritious and expensive edible fat that’s used in the cosmetic industry. To avoid companies substituting cocoa butter for cheaper vegetable fats like palm oil, a minimum was put in place.
History of White Chocolate
White chocolate was first created in the 1930s by Nestlé. Like many other brilliant inventions, this type of chocolate was actually created by accident.
At the time, Nestlé was manufacturing a dietary supplement for children and adults called Nestrovit. This was a milk powder that was enriched with minerals and vitamins.
To make Nestrovit more appealing to children, Nestlé attempted to turn the milk powder into a solid bar. They mixed the enriched milk powder with cocoa butter which created the very first white chocolate.
Nestlé realised how delicious it tasted and Milkybar arrived on the market in 1936.
Which type of cocoa butter should I use for white chocolate?
Nearly all white chocolate you find in supermarkets is made with deodorized cocoa butter.
The problem is that in the process of deodorizing the cocoa butter, the original aromas are removed. Moreover, deodorizing cocoa butter also strips it of its beneficial nutrients.
Because deodorized cocoa butter doesn’t have much flavor, chocolate manufacturers add a lot of sugar and synthetic vanilla. This is why this type of chocolate has a bad reputation for being overly sweet.
Good quality white chocolate is made with undeodorized cocoa butter. Although this isn’t always stated on the packaging, we recommend you go for white chocolate that has a higher cocoa butter content, as this is usually a good sign.
White Chocolate Varieties
When it comes to white chocolate, you may find different types. Below we’ve listed out the different varieties of white chocolate.
A classic white is made up of good-quality cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder. But did you know that the milk powder in classic white chocolate doesn’t need to be from animal milk? In fact, white chocolate using alternative mylk is becoming more and more popular thanks to brands such as Solkiki who use coconut milk.
Caramelized or toasted white
Caramelized or “blonde” chocolate, is where the milk is heated until its caramelized. This gives the chocolate a delicious toasted and syrup-like flavor.
Makers add powdered flavourings or essential oils to add an extra dimension to the chocolate. These bars can have beautiful colors. For example when matcha powder is added to produce green chocolate or raspberry powder to create a striking red.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on white chocolate
Does white chocolate have cocoa?
Yes, white chocolate contains cocoa butter, which is derived from cocoa beans and is naturally white. White chocolate doesn’t contain cocoa solids, which is brown in color and is used for milk and dark chocolate.
Why do they call it white chocolate?
White chocolate is called white chocolate because of its white appearance thanks to the cocoa butter and milk powder.
Is white chocolate actually chocolate?
Yes! White chocolate contains cocoa butter which comes from the cocoa bean, the same bean that milk and dark chocolate come from.
How is white chocolate made?
White chocolate is made by blending milk powder with cocoa butter and sugar. White chocolate is made up of 20- 45% cocoa butter, 25 – 40% milk powder, and 25 – 40% sugar. Vanilla is sometimes added to white chocolate in order to compliment the sweet flavor.