What Is White Chocolate?
Before we discuss white chocolate, we need to say what chocolate really is. It all starts with cocoa beans. The taste and type of chocolate is determined by how the beans are treated and what kinds and amounts of additives are used.
White chocolate is a type of chocolate confection consisting of cocoa butter, not cocoa beans, sugar, and milk solids. It also can include other sweeteners and flavoring like peppermint, almond or vanilla.
White Chocolate is known for it's white or ivory color and higher melting point. For more detailed information on white chocolate you can have a look here.
What forms does White Chocolate come in?
White chocolate can come in chips, squares or melts. For the record, melts are small disks that have an easy melting point and are similar to chips. It is important to know that if a recipe calls for chips and all you have is baking squares or the opposite, you do have a couple of options.
Without a kitchen scale, be aware that 1 ¼ cups of chips are the roughly equivalent to an 8-oz bar of baking chocolate. It you have a scale it is much easier weigh out replacements in ounces.
White chocolate chips tend to be thick and clumpy due to additives that make them somewhat resistant to melting. White chocolate baking squares or bars melt a lot easier than chips, which is great for making candies or a chocolate sauces.
A tablespoon or two of butter or shortening will help melt the chips or whatever type of chocolate you are using into a nice smooth texture if you're having problems and melting is not going well.
It is also necessary to discuss the type of chips or chocolate used. Cheaper brands usually include more fillers that make them in most cases, more resistant to melting.
A good rule of thumb is to check the ingredients on the package and if there is vegetable oil listed, know you will most likely need to add a tablespoon or two of butter or shortening to achieve desired results. Regardless, now you know a trick to solve the problem if it arises!
Substitutes for White Chocolate
There are quite a few substitutions for white chocolate if you don't have any around, have a look below. Keep in mind that different kinds of chocolate will possible change the flavor and color of the chocolate dessert you're creating.
Regardless, substitute the exact same amount of whichever type of chocolate you desire.
Milk chocolate is a sweet chocolate that you can either use in recipes, especially cookie recipes, or just to snack on. It contains at about 10% cocoa with added sugar, milk and cocoa butter.
White Chocolate Almond Bark (Confectionery Coating) comes in a different forms from chips to blocks to squares. Despite it's name, it doesn't contain nuts and is valued for it's texture, taste, and melting ease.
You're most likely going to have to add 1 tablespoon or two of butter or shortening as well since it doesn't contain any cocoa butter or chocolate liquor to assist in the melting process.
Unsweetened chocolate Made solely of cocoa butter and cocoa solids, the taste of this chocolate is bitter and usually unsuitable for eating, so it's generally only used in baking. It's perfect in cake, cookie or brownie recipes.
Dark chocolate Since it's sweeter than unsweetened chocolate and has less sugar, it's quite popular with those that want a sweet treat but are health conscious because again, it has less sugar than other chocolates. It has 35% cocoa.
Bittersweet chocolate is a sweetened dark chocolate that also contains at least 35% cocoa. It is mostly used in baking and is great for recipes that call for a strong chocolate flavor.
Semi-sweet chocolate This chocolate is also made with at least 35% cocoa and is the most versatile form of chocolate. It's ideal for baking and eating and can be found in many chocolate chip cookie recipes. It also has cocoa butter and sugar added.