White chocolate brownies with a strawberry-balsamic swirl. The title sorta says it all…and yet we can’t stop ourselves from gushing a little more about this unexpected dessert. The brilliance lies in roasting the white chocolate (yes, roasting) until it takes on rich, complex overtones of caramel and dulce de leche. Then it’s mixed with the usual brownie or blondie fixings and swirled with a gently sweet tart strawberry balsamic jam. Okay. We’re done talking now. Time for more noshing on these blondies.–Angie Zoobkoff
Why Roast White Chocolate?
We did a double take when we first saw this white chocolate brownies recipe. Roasted white chocolate?! It was novel, to be certain. Although just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something. We weren’t convinced until we read what author Irvin Lin had to say on the topic and then we simply had to try it. And we’re sooooo glad we did. Here’s what Lin explained: “Too many chocolate snobs dismiss white and milk chocolates as one-dimensional and too sweet, choosing dark chocolate with high cacao percentages. They clearly have not tasted roasted white and milk chocolates. Roasting these sweeter chocolates in the oven caramelizes the cocoa butter fats, creating complex flavors reminiscent of buttery caramel, toffee, butterscotch, and dulce de leche. Roasting white chocolate for baking is easy (just toss it into a 300°F (150°C) oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or at lower temperature like 250°F (120°C) for 20 to 30 minutes if you want a smoother end result). Milk chocolate requires longer in the oven (20 to 30 minutes at 300°F (150°C), or longer at lower temperatures). Either can be used in place of dark chocolate in recipes to create something closer to a caramel or blondie bar with chocolate undertones.”
White Chocolate Brownies
For the roasted white chocolate
- 1 2/3 cups good-quality white chocolate*, chopped into 1/4-inch (6-mm) chunks
For the white chocolate brownie batter
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
For the strawberry-balsamic swirl
- 1 cup strawberries, chopped into 1/2-inch (12-mm) chunks
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1 to 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Make the roasted white chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
- Spread the white chocolate on a rimmed baking sheet and slide it in the oven for about 10 minutes. Stir with a spatula until the browned chocolate at the edges is evenly mixed in with the uncooked white chocolate in the center. Continue to bake, stirring every 5 minutes, until the white chocolate is the color of dark peanut butter, 5 to 10 minutes more for a total of 15 to 20 minutes. Watch the white chocolate closely as it can go from perfect to to burnt pretty fast. It’s okay if the white chocolate isn’t completely melted or if it looks a bit grainy. Let the white chocolate cool on the baking sheet while you make the brownie batter.
Make the white chocolate brownies batter
- Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) metal baking pan with cooking spray and then line it with parchment paper, allowing at least 2 inches (5 cm) overhang at the edges of the pan.
- Increase the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).
- Place the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until incorporated. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition until completely incorporated and and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl before adding the next egg. Add the oil and beat until incorporated. Scrape the roasted white chocolate into the bowl (it may have hardened and gotten a little grainy but don’t worry it’ll still be fine) and mix until completely combined. Add the flour and mix on low speed until no trace of flour remains, about 30 seconds. Don’t worry if there are tiny lumps of melted white chocolate in the batter as they’ll melt during baking. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Make the strawberry-balsamic swirl
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the strawberries and sugar and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon and smashing the strawberries with the back of the spoon, until the strawberries release their juice and fall apart, 7 to 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch into the water and then drizzle the mixture into the strawberries in the pan, continuing to stir and cook for a minute or two until the mixture has thickened into a sticky, somewhat jam-like consistency. Continue cooking for about 2 more minutes, stirring constantly, and then remove from the heat. Immediately stir in the balsamic vinegar.
- Drop generous tablespoons of the strawberry swirl over the brownie batter and then use a butter knife or chopstick to swirl the two mixtures together by gently pulling the strawberry swirl here and there and then pulling some brownie batter over the strawberry swirl in places. Don’t overmix the two as you want the swirl to remain distinct.
- Bake the white chocolate brownies until the surface is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies (not in the strawberry swirl) comes out clean, 30 to 45 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the brownies by grabbing the sides of the parchment paper and gently pulling directly up. Transfer the entire slab of brownies to a cutting board where you can slice them whatever size you fancy.
How To Choose a Good-Quality White ChocolateWhen you’re standing at the store staring at your white chocolate options, the best indicator of quality white chocolate isn’t necessarily just the price tag but the ingredients list. Take a look and make certain that cocoa butter is listed. Some lesser-quality white chocolate uses vegetable oil in place of the cocoa butter, which will lack flavor and won’t melt or caramelize well.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Yum! These were really terrific. I didn’t know what to expect but was definitely rewarded with incredibly rich flavor that contrasted with the sweet tart strawberry swirl. Roasting the white chocolate produced a deeply caramelized flavor that reminded me of a really rich chocolate chip cookie dough. I loved the strawberry swirl though only noticed a hint of balsamic vinegar and only then in bites with enough of the swirl relative to the dough itself. Roasting transformed the white chocolate from extremely sweet and somewhat bland to complex and layered. A minor flaw is that by using the oil the finished bars were a bit oily in the center. I used King Arthur Gluten Free Flour. Since there was no leavening in the recipe I didn’t know if using gluten free flour would be a problem, but it seemed to behave exactly the same way AP flour would and no one who tasted the bars could tell the difference. The bars needed 40 minutes in the oven and probably could have stayed in for another 5. At 30 minutes there was a crust on top, but the batter was still loose underneath. It continued to firm up and at 40 minutes, a toothpick came out clean. After cooling it became clear that another 5 minutes would have firmed the center a bit more and reduced their oiliness (their only minor flaw).
These beautiful and delicious white chocolate brownies were adored by all of my tasters, including someone who doesn’t even like white chocolate! They are very moist, full of warm caramel-y flavor, and the tart strawberry-balsamic swirl is lovely and almost tastes like raspberry jam. I used Ghirardelli white chocolate baking bars. The chocolate didn’t melt to a pourable consistency and was rather grainy, but the finished brownies were completely smooth in texture.
I was so excited to make this white chocolate brownies recipe and I was not disappointed! The flavor was absolutely fantastic! I loved the tart and tangy balsamic swirl with the sweet roasted flavor from the white chocolate. I will definitely be making this one again. I did have an issue with it getting down. I cooked it for 50 minutes and it was still doughy in the middle. I think maybe I didn’t get my strawberry balsamic swirl quite dry enough and it added too much moisture. With that being said, the flavor of these white chocolate brownies was so incredible that they were still great. The next time I make them, I’ll cook the strawberry balsamic swirl longer. I was also really nervous about burning the white chocolate while roasting it, but it turned out fine. I baked it for 17 minutes and it seemed pretty good. I was a little paranoid of over-baking it, but it turned out great in the final brownie. Overall, the flavor was just fantastic and such a great twist on the traditional brownie.
I cannot say enough good things about this white chocolate brownie recipe. This is a dessert I will make again and again, and not just for dessert as it paired well with coffee in the morning. The batter came together easily. The strawberry balsamic mixture didn’t drop easily onto prepared brownie mixture without the use of my hands but it worked just fine. The brownies were deceptively soft with an almost gooey perfection. This bar is dense and more complex than a traditional brownie. Actually, I wouldn’t call this a brownie, but maybe a blondie. These are sophisticated! I was nervous that the olive oil as well as the balsamic vinegar would overpower the rest of the flavors, but neither of these stood out or were even solely detected. My only complaint was that I didn’t think there was enough strawberry-balsamic swirl and so next time I’ll double this mixture. These bars are so pretty and will go on my holiday baking list—they will be cut small and put into a mini cupcake paper liner. I can’t wait, and in fact, I don’t think I will wait until the holidays to make these again.