Turn sweet white chocolate into toasty caramel flavored chocolate by using this visual guide for how to caramelize white chocolate.
You may have heard of a chocolate called dulcey or caramelized white chocolate: this is a technique invented by Valrhona, the famous chocolatiers. Caramelizing results in a toasty, kind of nutty and you guessed it ‘caramel’ like taste. Below I show you step by step photos for how to make caramelized white chocolate at home.
Overview: how to caramelize white chocolate
One of the easiest and most delicious things you can make with just an oven, a spatula and a baking try: use good quality white chocolate and toast it on low heat and for about 40-50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes as it caramelizes on the bottom. This process removes some of the cloying sweetness, and adds notes of butterscotch to the taste.
The first step is to buy the right chocolate: you want a high quality, eating chocolate (not a baking bar). Check the ingredients and look for a high percentage of cocoa butter. Some brands known for being good quality: Green & Black, Callebaut, Guittard white chocolate chips and of course, Valrhona. I usually use lindt white chocolate bars.
Step by Step Visual Guide for how to Caramelize White Chocolate
Preheat the oven to 250 F. Break up the pieces of chocolate and spread them onto a pan. I use a silpat mat if I’m caramelizing a small quantity because it makes scraping and stirring easier without the chocolate sticking to the pan. If it’s a larger batch, I use a 13 x 9″ baking pan that hasn’t been too tarnished (no parchment paper or anything) and a rubber spatula to turn it. Set it in the oven for 10 minutes.
Below you’ll see the chocolate at the ten minute mark nicely beginning to melt.
This is what it will look like when you smooth it out with your offset spatula or a rubber spatula. Bumpy, but melty. Return it to the oven.
After another 15 minutes it’ll look a bit rough with some ‘bubbles’.
Use your spatula to smooth it out. You’ll note it’s beginning to take on some color.
Again looking rough and bubbly.
Smoother once you lift the bottom and smooth it out with the spatula, be sure to turn every part you can so you get a even browning. You’ll note the color is coming along nicely now.
Below after another 10 minutes.
And the color is now almost there, after about 40 minutes total.
I went for another 5 minutes to deepen the color and stopped when it looked quite golden and it wasn’t getting darker. At this point the chocolate is quite rough and bumpy (see below) and you might think okay I’ve messed it up. It’s fine, as you are about to see.
Now you have two options: scrape it into a food processor or use the spatula to smooth it out – giving it a lot of pressure to get rid of those ‘bumps’. Once it’s pretty smooth and looks like what you see below, you can stop. In a food processor this will go by much quicker – let it process on high for a 5 minutes until very creamy.
Once you it’s smooth, pour it into a prepared pan lined with parchment paper. You can let it set overnight or you can stick it in the freezer for a quick stint to firm it up. If you want to store it in the freezer then, once it’s firm, wrap it in foil so the top is not exposed.
And that’s it! Now you’ll have pieces that look like this and taste like chocolate gold:
I got so scared when I pulled the chocolate out of the oven the final time! It was suddenly brown and dry like Graham cracker crumbs and I thought for sure I had messed it up. I took a breath and popped it into the food processor anyways and it was like magic! It turned into this silky smooth goodness. ? I’m turning it into cookies today and I’m so excited!
Thank you so much for your guide, Sam! I found the photos very helpful when I attempted this months ago. However, checking in now, it looks like the rest of the article and photos are missing. I can only see the two paragraph overview. Any chance it’ll be re-uploaded soon?
I was really excited to try this out, but sadly it just didn’t pan out for me. First, it took nearly 3 hours to get to the golden brown caramel color for me, even though my thermometer stayed right around 250 and I used the Lindt Classic White Chocolate bars you mentioned (3 total), on a silpat. It started getting color around 50 minutes in but it was slooooooow going. The end result was a beautiful color and very smooth but honestly tasted identical to the regular melted white chocolate in a comparison taste test :/ I’ll probably dip some shortbreads in it since it does have a pretty look and anyone who likes white chocolate would appreciate it.
How long does this keep? Also in another recipe for rye ccc I saw you tempered the chocolate. Can I temper as well and then store for a month or so?
You can temper if you like (follow the instructions on the rye cookie page). Either way it’ll keep fine for a month.