Saturday, December 29, 2007

White chocolate

White chocolate is a confection of sugar, cocoa butter, and milk solids. Unlike chocolate, white chocolate contains neither chocolate liquor nor cocoa solids. The low melting point of cocoa butter allows white chocolate and chocolate to remain solid at room temperature, yet melt easily in the mouth. As such, white chocolate has a texture similar to that of milk chocolate.

Origin and production

White chocolate was first made in New Hampshire after World War I. M&M Candy was the first to produce white chocolate in the United States, having seen the product made in Europe just one year earlier. It was first popularly distributed in America in 1984[citation needed] with the introduction of Nestlé's Alpine White Chocolate bar, which contained white chocolate and chopped almonds.

Composition and regulations
Since white chocolate contains neither cocoa solids nor chocolate liquor (cocoa mass), it does not meet the standard to be marketed as chocolate in many countries. Regulations also govern what may be marketed as "white chocolate": In the United States, since 2004, white chocolate must be at least 20% cocoa butter (by weight), at least 14% total milk solids, at least 3.5% milk fat, and less than 55% sugar or other sweeteners. Before this date, U.S. firms required temporary marketing permits to sell white chocolate. The European Union has adopted the same standards, except that there is no limit on sugar or sweeteners.

Some "white chocolate", known as confectioner's coating or summer coating, is made from inexpensive solid or hydrogenated vegetable fats, and as such, is not at all derived from cocoa. These preparations may actually be white in color (in contrast to white chocolate's ivory shade) and will lack cocoa butter's flavor.

Because it does not contain any cocoa solids, one benefit of white chocolate is that it also does not contain any caffeine, which means it can be consumed by individuals who must avoid caffeine for medical or religious reasons. Caffeine is only found in the cocoa solids and other ingredients of chocolate that give it the characteristic brown color. In contrast to white chocolate, dark chocolate contains the largest amount of caffeine, because it contains the largest amount of cocoa solids. The caffeine content of milk chocolate falls somewhere between white and dark chocolate.

Use in baking
White chocolate can be difficult to work with. When melted, the cocoa butter can occasionally split and create an oily compound that can be recovered by re-emulsifying. This can be done by melting a small amount of butter or chocolate and whisking in the "oily compound". As with chocolate, as soon as any water is introduced into the melted product it rapidly turns lumpy and grainy, i.e. split. Again, it can be saved by re-emulsifying. Some brands respond better to baking than others. Some have a tendency to brown from being baked.

Like chocolate, it may be purchased in large or small bricks, but these can often be difficult to work with as one must cut off chunks with a knife, often resulting in inaccurate portioning. Pastilles/Feves (small chips) are often a more precise way to use white chocolate.

White chocolate can be used for decoration of milk or dark chocolate confections or in any way chocolates might be used.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Chocolate (pronounced /ˈtʃɒklət/) comprises a number of raw and processed foods that are produced from the seed of the tropical cacao tree. Native to lowland tropical South America, cacao has been cultivated for three millennia in Central America and Mexico, with its earliest documented use around 1100 BC. All of the Mesoamerican peoples made chocolate beverages, including the Maya and Aztecs, who made it into a beverage known as xocolātl, a Nahuatl word meaning "bitter water". The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste, and must be fermented to develop the flavor. After being roasted and ground, the resulting products are known as chocolate or cocoa.
Much of the chocolate consumed today is made into bars that combine
cocoa solids, fats like cocoa butter, and sugar. Chocolate has become one of the most popular flavours in the world. Gifts of foil-wrapped chocolate molded into different shapes have become traditional on certain holidays: chocolate bunnies and eggs are popular on Easter, coins on Hanukkah, Santa Claus and other holiday symbols on Christmas, and hearts on Valentine's Day. Chocolate is also used in cold and hot beverages, to produce chocolate milk
and cocoa.
Chocolate contains
alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which have physiological effects on the body. It has been linked to serotonin levels in the brain. Scientists claim that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can lower blood pressure. The presence of theobromine renders it toxic to some animals.

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