Wednesday, April 17, 2013


When you hear the word "Ganache", do you automatically search for a different recipe without such a scary word? It's ok, I used to do the same thing.  It is such a serious baking term that many think you need culinary training to create it.  Do you know what it is? It's melted chocolate with cream.  Still sound hard? I didn't think so.

The silly thing is that it is so simple to make and very popular, but most people don't really know what it is.  Yet it makes a huge difference when talking about dessert.  If you go to a restaurant and the waiter asks, "Would you like plain cheesecake with melted chocolate on top?" you wouldn't be as excited to say yes as you would be if he said, "Would you like a New York cheesecake with a ganache?"  Apparently there is something in a name when it comes to dessert.  Sorry Shakespeare, a dessert by any other name would not sound as sweet.

So, let's break it down.  Ganache is literally heated cream poured over chopped up chocolate (or chocolate chips) and combined.  Simple.  Now, let's dress it up just for fun.  It's kind of like when you get a beer in a keg cup versus a frosted mug…there is just something about the frosted mug that makes it seem to taste better, right? Am I the only one that thinks that?

Here you can find the printable version.

Instructions: (These can be altered depending on what type of chocolate you prefer, it is a very forgiving recipe.  But the better quality of chocolate the better the ganache will be).

1 C. Heavy Cream
10 oz. Chocolate, chopped*

*The type of chocolate is up to you, as long as you prefer dark chocolate.  White chocolate and milk chocolate are made a little differently than dark chocolate, so you need to change the recipe if you are wanting to make anything other than dark chocolate. But within dark chocolate you have a variety of choices based on the percentage of cocoa content.  The higher the percentage, the more bitter and dark the chocolate will be.  The lower the percentage, the sweeter it will be…but that doesn't mean it is anything like milk chocolate.  If you are good with algebra, here is a basic formula to help you remember which type of chocolate you want.  

Dark Chocolate = Sugar + Cocoa 
*There are a few other ingredients, but for the purpose of this helpful tip just focus on these two ingredients.

So, the more cocoa means less sugar and therefor more bitter.  Less cocoa means more sugar and a sweeter taste.

Ok, let's move on to actually making this delicious treat.

Step 1.  Chop up your chocolate into small pieces, large ones will not melt so make sure they are at least 1/4 inch.  Or you can use chocolate chips but you might need to reduce your cream to 2/3 of a cup.  Place your chocolate into a metal bowl, or plastic if that is all you have but make sure it is heatproof.

Step 2.  Pour cream into large pan and put over medium-high heat on stove.  Continue heating until boiling, which means that it actually rises and creates large bubbles throughout the entire pan.  Be careful because milk can heat fast and boil over very easy. Keep stirring so that the bottom doesn't burn.

Step 3.  Pour boiling milk into melt bowl over chocolate pieces, but don't stir quite yet.  You need to let the heat of the milk begin melting the chocolate, so wait a few minutes.  Then take a whisk and mix it until smooth.

Boiling heavy cream is poured onto chocolate...

Melted chocolate begins to mix together with cream...

…and this is ganache!

At this point, you have ganache…congratulations! But why stop here when you could easily do a few more steps and REALLY impress people!

Plain Ganache: Simply let the ganache cool after you have mixed it thoroughly, then dip your dessert into it.  Just remember that it is hot, so depending on what you are coving with the glaze be cautious.  If you are coving a cupcake the heat won't affect it as much as a strawberry or ice cream bar.

Glazed Ganache:  Make sure the ganache has cooled but still in liquid form, and that the dessert you are glazing is colder than the ganache. Pour the ganache over the center of the dessert and let it spread out naturally.  As you pour it will spill over the sides and, depending on the look you are going for, you can leave it as is or smooth it out with a spatula.  Once you have covered the dessert to your satisfaction, chill for about 30 minutes to let the glaze set up.

Whipped Ganache:  This requires you to chill the ganache overnight and then bring it back to room temp to whip.  Once you have it back to room temperature, all you need to do is put the whisk attachment on your mixer and whip it for a few minutes, or until it looks fluffy.  Be careful not to over whip, though, because it will start to look grainy.  This makes a really tasty filler between layers, but it also is a delicious frosting if you like dark chocolate.

Ganache Icing:  This is a bit of a marriage between American icing and ganache. Let the ganache cool to room temperature, you can even leave it out overnight with plastic wrap over the top to prevent a film. Then mix in a half cup of butter, one small chunk at a time, and 2 cups of powdered sugar.  This will lead to a much sweeter taste, obviously, which might be better for kid parties who don't tend to like the bitterness of dark chocolate.

Whipped Ganache…yum...

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