Chocolate Ganache

Learn how easy it is to make this rich chocolate glaze with the fancy-sounding name.

Chocolate Ganache
Photo by sweetserenade

What’s it Mean?

Ganache is a French word meaning “cushion”–as the cream seems to “cushion” both the flavor and texture of chocolate.

Basic Ganache

Basic ganache consists of just two ingredients: semi-sweet chocolate and heavy cream. Here’s how it’s made:

  • Bring the cream to a boil, then remove from the heat at once and pour over a bowl of chopped chocolate.
  • Let it stand, covered, for a moment to soften the chocolate, then whisk until smooth. For best results, let it cool overnight at room temperature.

Chocolate ganache can be poured as a coating, chilled and made into truffles, whipped into a delightfully light frosting or filling, or just mixed into white frosting or whipped cream for instant chocolate flavor.

Ganache I
Photo by Kathy B

Ganache with Panache

You can enhance the basic recipe by adding butter, extracts, or flavored liqueurs.

Add liqueurs or extracts after mixing the cream and chocolate together. Start with 2 tablespoons for each half cup of cream, adding more to taste if you prefer.

You may also try using milk chocolate or white chocolate to make ganache. These do well when extra flavors are added because they are so sweet. Some recipes using white chocolate may require a higher chocolate-to-cream ratio than dark chocolate, depending upon the quality of the chocolate.

You can also substitute water or milk for all or part of the cream. However, using anything other than cream will affect its shine and luxurious texture .

Chocolate Ganache
Photo by Lyrik03

Using Ganache

Truffles

Mix chocolate and cream in a ratio of 3 parts chocolate to 1 part cream. This will create a firm-textured ganache that can hold its shape. Once your ganache has cooled, scoop little balls using a melon baller or small ice cream scoop. Dip the truffles in an additional layer of coating chocolate, or simply roll in cocoa powder, sprinkles, or sugar. These make amazing gifts!

Easy Decadent Truffles
Photo by LaurenM

Glazing

Using a ganache as a glaze to coat cakes, soufflés, éclairs, or petit fours is a delicious and fairly simple way to create stunning desserts. For a pourable glaze that sets up soft and shiny, use equal parts chocolate and cream. Some people like to add a little bit of corn syrup or butter to enhance the shine. If using the next day, melt over a double boiler, stirring frequently until smooth and shiny. It is also great warmed in a fondue pot with fresh fruit and pound cake for dipping.

Eclair Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Photo by Laney Jane

Filling

Let it set up at room temperature, then chill. Beat with an electric mixer or stand mixer using the paddle attachment. You can heat it up slightly, but it will maintain its texture better if it is kept cold. Use to fill or frost cakes as you would any pre-made frosting from a can.

Chocolate Whipped Cream

Use one part chocolate to one part whipped cream. Chill at least eight hours or overnight. Like whipped cream, it works best when the beater and bowl are kept cold. Use to fill or frost cakes as you would use whipped cream.

Troubleshooting

Occasionally you might encounter a dry-looking or cracked ganache. This is usually due to over-heating or cooling too rapidly. If you allow the cream and chocolate to get too hot, especially when reheating, the oils might separate out of the chocolate and float to the top, leaving you with a dull, dry-looking finished product. You can still use it for truffles, whipped filling, or simply melt it into a glass of warm milk for a delicious cup of hot chocolate.

Sending your ganache straight to the refrigerator after mixing can also cause it to separate. The process of cooling the ganache slowly helps the molecules from the chocolate and cream to bond more securely, giving it a nice shine. It’s best to allow it to cool at room temperature before transferring it to the fridge.