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#@%* White Chocolate

I am giving up on any recipe that calls for white chocolate to be melted. I am making Pistachio Coins. A pistachio cookie with a thumb print in the dough and after baking and cooling the thumb print gets filled with chopped sour cherries and chopped pistachios. I measured out the butter and white chocolate. Put both in a small heavy saucepan on my induction burner on the lowest setting. The butter melted but the chocolate resisted. I upped the heat a bit and with stirring with a whisk I finally got it melted and and blended. After filling a dozen cookies and topping with the nuts and fruit the damned chocolate seized. I've got enough cookies for this evening's dessert. The other 3 dozen are going to get regular chocolate. Never again!

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  1. Maybe if the w. chocolate was grated and melted in a double boiler? Is this http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... the recipe?
    Regardless, the cookies sound perfect for Christmas.

    1 Reply
    1. re: blue room

      Yup that is the recipe. A waste of top quality white chocolate. I also thought it would be good for Christmas

    2. Is the white chocolate pure white or more ivory? The pure white 'chocolate' has more fillers and pretty low quality. It's pretty bad regarding taste and texture. I find if you use the ivory ones, they have a nice flavour, lovely texture, and easier to work with. For a compromise, you can consider the new Varlhona Dulcey chocolate. It's a blond lovely chocolate

      3 Replies
      1. re: Nevy

        This is the first I've heard of Dulcey chocolate -- a
        sweet maybe for Holiday baking this year.

        1. re: Nevy

          Agreed, the Dulcey is super delicious, especially with a pinch of salt. Valrhona also makes Opalys, which is a less sweet, more opaque white chocolate, and Callebaut has a less sweet white as well, but I don't recall the name.

          1. re: Nevy

            No, it was Lindt white chocolate and very creamy.

          2. White Chocolate is really touchy you can not heat above 85F/29C!.I have had the most success by:
            Using very high quality Chocolate
            Chopping very finely before melting
            Over hot Water(not simmering) not really stirring till it is almost completely melted.
            I would think if you are doing it with Butter to, melt the Butter first then after confirming that the Butter is not too hot adding your finely chopped Chocolate and allow to sit till chocolate is almost completely melted.
            Hope that helps, White Chocolate is a Pain in the Ass

            4 Replies
            1. re: chefj

              Not true. When tempering white chocolate, you still need to heat it to 120F to melt all the cocoa butter. Working temp for tempered white is 85-87F.

              1. re: babette feasts

                Corrected but still very hard to achieve on direct heat or over Steam.
                Though Valrhona states 113-122 F for Melting White Chocolate so your 120 is higher than needed

                1. re: chefj

                  I temper white chocolate over steam routinely. You do have to not let it get super hot, but I still prefer a bain marie to direct heat. I always forget about the microwave, but that works too, as long as you stir frequently.

                  1. re: babette feasts

                    I did not say impossible, just touchy. I find that folks often over do it in the Microwave as well as "Simmering" Water. Just over hot Water with a bit more time is a much safer way to achieve the same result.

            2. I've found that I can't melt white chocolate without a seized up mess. Now I just use white bark when I want to dip.:(

              1 Reply
              1. re: mariars

                You're talking about this:

                Sugar (Sugar, Cornstarch), Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Whey Powder, Soy Lecithin (An Emulsifier) And Artificial Flavor. Contains Soy And Milk Products.

                This thread is about this:

                100% pure cocoa butter, milk powder, sugar, pure Bourbon vanilla.

              2. I remember hearing sometime in my life that white chocolate in particular is melted easiest in a microwave.

                1. Yes, white chocolate can be more trouble than dark, but I think the actual culprit here is the butter. Butter contains 15-20% water, adding small amounts of water to chocolate makes it seize. When you add enough water to change it from a solids in fat system to a fat and solids emulsified in water system, you get a nice creamy ganache. When you add only a tiny amount of water, you get frustration. I bet the recipe would work better if you clarified the butter first, or used a pure (no H2O) fat like coconut oil.

                  If you haven't already tossed the seized white chocolate-butter mix, try warming it with a little more liquid (water, milk, liqueur...) to turn it into a ganache. Start with 2 tsp per ounce of white chocolate, you may need a little more but you don't want it too runny (shouldn't need more than 4 tsp per ounce). A ganache will be softer and add a little moisture to the cookies, but if you are serving them tonight they should be fine.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: babette feasts

                    Yes, this. If the purpose of adding butter to the chocolate is to keep it from being too firm when it sets, you'll have better luck adding a bit of vegetable oil or other pure oil (ghee would work too). You might also find that cream works better than butter, since it's fat is more emulsified in its liquid state.

                  2. White chocolate, depending upon formulation, is always more difficult to melt successfully because of the high proportion of milk solids. It does need to be melted slowly and absolutely uniformly, which means it's very unwise to try to melt it directly in a pot in contact with the heating element. Isolating it in a bain marie makes a difference, and you need to make sure the water doesn't come to a boil.

                    Don't stir with a whisk, either, because that will create too much aeration and therefore uneven/rapid *cooling*. Use a metal spoon or something that really minimises air incorporation. Small quantities are also problematic because they react much more quickly to sudden temperature changes, to be precise, they have smaller heat capacity so that a small change in temperature may mean a large change in heat. And finally, break the chocolate into small pieces so that it melts uniformly, too. It's all about having uniform, controlled melting.

                    Moisture from bits like pistachios and particularly the cranberries can also cause seizure. And because you're spooning out small dollops, the mixture will cool very quickly, so if you fill first, top second, the first ones filled may congeal before you've even topped. And since you're also removing chocolate from the overall mixture, unless you're keeping it over a gentle heat source, it's likely that the remaining amount in the main vessel will congeal too, because you're steadily decreasing the amount in the vessel. If you're allowing the spoon to touch anything other than the chocolate, furthermore, the contamination may act as nuclei, so you have to make sure the spoon stays absolutely clean (of anything but the chocolate mix) until you're finished.

                    Maybe that's too much effort or obsession to detail for you, which is understandable if so (white chocolate really does demand an obsessive personality type to work with successfully) but it is possible, as long as you strictly resist the urge to play it fast and loose.

                    One final recommendation for all: by far the best white chocolate available is El Rey Icoa. It's really a quantum leap over anything else. I've also found it fairly accommodating to work with, in part because it's got a high cocoa butter percentage, relative to many other white chocolates. I *regularly* mix butter and El Rey Icoa together, without ill effects (but as you can see, I'm prepared to obsess over technique, as well).

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: AlexRast

                      Odd that none of this was mentioned in the recipe!
                      I wonder if you could somehow spoon an amount of grated white chocolate into the (already baked) cookie hollow and *then* melt it, in a hot oven for few seconds, or a microwave.

                      1. re: blue room

                        No, that wouldn't work; the bits wouldn't flow together and would stay distinct. There would also be a very great risk of separation unless the melting was agonisingly slow: think 100C oven temperature. In a microwave, I don't think you could control the heat that precisely.

                        Many recipes don't mention all sorts of critical technical details, because the recipe-maker does them instinctively and subconsciously. Also, it often seems that recipes written down take liberties with what the person *actually* did. That's difficult or impossible to confirm of course, but I can look at recipes and see some suggested steps that are guaranteed not to work if you follow the directions exactly as stated.

                        1. re: AlexRast

                          This could be a new thread. I was just thinking earlier about how truly difficult it is to write recipes well. Knowing how much detail to include, how to state it clearly and consistently, not leaving out anything important - all things that are harder to do than it sounds.

                          And then you have Jamie Oliver. He just says, "Frow it all togever!" and it works.

                          Recipes are a strange animal to understand well.

                    2. I would be tempted to try either adding the chopped, unmelted chocolate in the thumb print before baking or the minute the cookies come out of the oven.