White chocolate has been around for a long time (80+ years), but it can be pretty controversial. White chocolate is not considered “real chocolate” by some as it contains milk, cocoa butter, and sugar but no cocoa solids. This leads to some finding it overly sweet and lacking in flavor. In response, enter blonde chocolate.
Blonde chocolate, in essence, is roasted white chocolate. This process leaves the white chocolate with a nuttier, fuller taste and blonde chocolate’s signature caramel color.
How Was Blonde Chocolate Invented?
French premium chocolate maker Valrhona created Blond® chocolate. Supposedly, Valrhona pastry chef Frédéric Bau was doing a demonstration that involved melting chocolate over a bain-marie (hot water bath). The heat was left on, unintentionally, overnight, and in the morning, he somehow returned to a bowl of delicious, caramel-colored white chocolate.
Blonde chocolate was reportedly discovered in 2004. According to Valrhona, it took eight years of refining to create a consistent blond chocolate recipe. Their mass-market Blond® chocolate was released in 2012 though there are reports of pastry chefs roasting white chocolate before blonde chocolate became commercially available.
Is Blonde Chocolate Real Chocolate?
White chocolate wasn’t recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States until 2002. Before that, it was not legally considered “real” chocolate. Because blonde chocolate isn’t a new type of chocolate but is roasted white chocolate, so it is technically real chocolate.
How is Blonde Chocolate Made
When white chocolate is heated, a process called the Maillard reaction occurs. This is when the proteins and sugars in food are exposed to heat and combine to create new flavor and aromatic compounds. It also causes browning. In commercial products, “caramelized” milk powder (aka milk crumb) is used in creating blond chocolate.
You can make blonde chocolate at home. It is created by roasting white chocolate at 200-275°F, constantly stirring to prevent burning. Even after undergoing this process, blonde chocolate can be melted, tempered, and used in the same ways you would use any other type of chocolate.
What Does Blonde Chocolate Taste Like?
In general, blonde chocolate is described as having a nutty flavor reminiscent of toffee and butterscotch. There are two types of Blond® chocolate available from Valrhona, their older version “Dulcey” and the newer product “Orelys.”
According to Valrhona, Dulcey is “velvety” in texture, and the flavor is “buttery, toasty and not too sweet, gradually giving way to the flavors of shortbread with a pinch of salt.” Orelys has Mauritian Dark Muscovado sugar added (muscovado sugar is sugar with molasses remaining in it, check out this article to learn more). Its flavor is described as “sweet freshness” with “maple and light licorice notes” and “hints of biscuit.”
If you want to learn more about how chocolate is made, check out this article. If you’re craving something with chocolate, check out my Triple Chocolate Cookies or Orange White Chocolate Cranberry No-Knead Bread. Happy baking!