White chocolate is a creamy, sugary confection with a taste that is quite different from dark chocolate or milk chocolate but still considered a dilecable treat on itís own. The difference between the white and other chocolates is that the white version is lacking chocolate liquor and cocoa solids. However it does contain sugar, cocoa butter, and milk solids in the manner of milk chocolate.
As with many wonderful foods, white chocolate was introduced by the Swiss after World War I and has been used in many candies and baked goods since. This chocolate combines vanilla, sugar, cocoa butter and milk solids for itís unique taste and texture. If you want the ďgood stuffĒ be sure to buy a brand that has cocoa butter as one of the ingredients - there are cheaper versions out there with no cocoa butter but they are not considered to be a quality white chocolate.
White chocolate should be stored in itís original wrapper in a cool dry place. Donít use the refrigerator though - a cool pantry might be best. Stored in this way it will generally stay fresh for over a year. Never freeze chocolate.
The subtle flavor of white chocolate makes it an excellent compliment to many other baking ingredients. But be careful when melting, as it scorches easily. You can purchase white bars specially made for baking and, of course, those fun little chocolate chips in white which are great for putting in brownies and cookies.
Melting white chocolate can be a bit tricky and different brands will melt differently due to the amount of fat content. If you are melting it in the microwave, your best bet is to melt a small amount at a time - no more than 8 oz and check frequently, every 2 minutes or so. Beware, it might retain itís shape even though it has significantly melted. So stir or at least prod it with a spoon every time you check.
Although white chocolate doesnít have the health benefits of dark chocolate, it can still be used in the same way that other chocolates are used. Eat it plain in bars, melt it for fondue, add it to brownies, cookies and cakes and mix it with cream cheese for a cheesecake. No matter how you serve it, white chocolate is just plain good!