It's true, blondes definitely have more fun.
The past two years have been all about blonde everything. In fact, I'm pretty sure we can dub 2012 the Year of the Blondes. That year, Starbucks introduced their first ever Blonde Roast coffee, Miley Cyrus pretty much broke the internet after chopping all of her hair off and debuting her now-iconic blonde pixie cut, and most importantly, Valrhona released their Blond Dulcey chocolate bar, the first ever blond chocolate to exist on the chocolate market. Well, Miley is pretty important too. (We kinda have the same hair.)
I was first introduced to Valrhona Dulcey in the form of a blonde chocolate molten cake I had last summer at Restaurant R'Evolution here in New Orleans. I'm a huge white chocolate boy, so blonde chocolate seemed like the natural next step. One bite in and I was in love.
Dulcey was created by Frédéric Bau, executive chef at Valrhona's École du Grand Chocolat on complete accident. After melting white chocolate down in a bain maire for an upcoming demonstration, he left the remaining unused melted chocolate on the stovetop. After about 10 hours, he returned to discover that his white chocolate had caramelized into a deep caramel color and tasted like toasty shortbread. Pretty genius, right? In 2012, Valrhona released Dulcey, the first ever blond chocolate, by producing what Bau had accidentally made on a larger scale.
You know when you're looking at a menu, and you see that one ingredient. You know, the one that you just have to order just because it's used in some capacity in whatever dish and you're downright obsessed with it? That's blonde chocolate for me.
I'd love to hear what ingredient you're obsessed with! Let me know in the comments below.
Legally Blondies are just that — blondies in their truest form. No more bleach blondies, no more dirty blondies, it's all about the real deal. These perfect blondies are adapted from the famed Cook's Illustrated recipe and are full of toasted pecans and you guessed it, blonde chocolate. Seriously, these are the best. I'm in brown sugar heaven right now.
There's just one dilemma: Dulcey is virtually impossible to find in America (I've only seen it available for consumer purchase in New York) and it's pretty damn expensive. An 8.8 oz. baking bar will run you back $12.99 before shipping, and a bigger bag of Dulcey baking feves are about double. So instead of teasing you with these amazing blondies, I'm giving you a tutorial on how to make caramelized white chocolate at home! 40 minutes of roasting in the oven (with a lot of stirring every 5 minutes) will leave you with a chocolate comparable in taste with Dulcey. So easy.
Caramelized White Chocolate
- 16 oz. high-quality white chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 266° F. Scatter white chocolate pieces onto a baking pan.* Bake the chocolate for 40 minutes, removing from the oven every 5 minutes to stir. (After about 30 minutes, the chocolate will caramelize and gradually turn amber.) Remove from oven and place into a bowl. At this stage, your chocolate might be lumpy and pretty gross looking. Don't worry! Stir vigorously until a liquid resembling melted chocolate forms. Pour into a glass jar and store at room temperature.
* Baker's Note: I used a 9x13 metal baking pan without parchment, but any rimmed baking sheet will do.
Valhrona Dulcey Blondies
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 ounces chopped Valhrona Dulcey blond chocolate or homemade caramelized white chocolate* (See Note)
- 1 cup pecans, toasted (optional, but well worth it)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9x13 baking sheet with parchment.
In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter and sugar until thoroughly combined. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Sift in the flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in pecans and chocolate pieces.*
Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake until set, about 22 - 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Cut cooled blondies into squares and serve (with ice cream!).
* Bakers Note: If using the Dulcey chocolate, fold into the batter with pecans, as per the directions. If using homemade caramelized white chocolate, swirl chocolate through the batter before baking.