The Lie People Still Believe About White Chocolate

While white chocolate is a popular dessert ingredient for everything from ice cream to cookies, it's something of a misnomer because it's not actually chocolate. Typically, the main ingredients for white chocolate are sugar, cocoa butter, milk products, vanilla, and lecithin (via Bon Appetit). Nowhere in that list is the main ingredient that makes chocolate, well, chocolate. That lacking ingredient is chocolate liquor, which is derived from the nibs inside the cocoa beans that have been fermented, dried, roasted, and ground. 

Though the term "liquor" suggests that there is alcohol involved in the making of the ingredient, this is incorrect as it's completely booze-free (via Mental Floss). Chocolate liquor can be separated into two substances: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. The cocoa solids in their purest form ae known as cocoa powder, which you'll find in a Hershey's cocoa can — the cocoa butter contains the fat from the beans, although it doesn't have much of a flavor (via Wisegeek).

The labeling of white chocolate

While white chocolate does contain an ingredient from the cocoa plant, it's simply a flavorless fat. The Food and Drug Administration requires that for something to be labeled "white chocolate" it has to be comprised of 20 percent cocoa butter. Given the fact that some high-end, regular chocolate bars are made up of more than 70 percent cocoa solids, this is not a particularly high bar — sorry, we couldn't resist (via Chocolate Expert). 

While chocolate connoisseurs tend to write off white chocolate due to its lack of cocoa nibs (remember, that's the stuff the no-liquor liquor is derived from) and think that it has a nauseatingly-sweet flavor, oh, and that it is nothing more than sweet fat (which it technically, actually, truly is) some confectioners have been moving into fancy white chocolate offerings including white chocolate with goat milk, hops, and turmeric. And white chocolate can still come in handy for baking, or snacking on (via Saveur). We won't judge!