White chocolate is a finicky beast. Scorching happens, but so does browning. And, unlike dark chocolate and milk chocolate, there is a space between melted and scorched where white chocolate becomes crunchy, and develops a creamy caramel flavor. Don’t toss that burnt white chocolate, use it as an elegant textural garnish.

Spoiler alert: white chocolate has no cocoa solids and is mostly composed of cocoa butter, sugar, other fats, and (maybe) added flavorings. Depending on who you ask, it may or may not be “real” chocolate. Regardless of what side of the chocolate fence you’re on, the fact is white chocolate is different from milk and dark chocolate, so it acts differently when heated (and overheated).

White chocolate doesn’t melt and pool the way brown chocolates will. It’ll hold its shape, but the color will change from white to yellow, then brown, and finally black. The brown to black stage is when the texture changes from slippery and wet, to an open-pocketed, dry, crumbly consistency. At this point in browning, you can’t use white chocolate for most of the traditional purposes like tempering, dipping strawberries, making peppermint bark, or stirring into cheesecake batter. Most folks will call this “burnt” because they think it’s unusable. Nay, it is toasted.

Deeply browned white chocolate tastes like creamy caramel. It maintains a note of its original white chocolate flavor, but with a powerful toasty element in the foreground and a completely new texture. The broken, crispy, crumbly texture makes for an incredible garnish. Pile it onto your oatmeal or smoothie bowl, sprinkle it onto your ice cream or pudding, or add it to cereal, granola, or yogurt. Get fancy and use it as a bed under your panna cotta, or quenelle of raspberry gelato.

Toasting white chocolate in the microwave as a “happy accident” might happen to you at any time, but if you want to make some on purpose you can do so easily in the oven. Grab some white chocolate morsels, or break a white chocolate bar into chunks and sprinkle them over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for five to eight minutes, or until the bottoms are toasted and the surface looks bubbly and dry. To make a crumble, drop the pieces into a food processor and pulse until you reach an even consistency. Happy toasting.

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