Lately it seems like everyone is searching for that no-fail two-ingredient dessert hack. But let’s talk about the original two-ingredient sweet: ganache. It can be tricky to make at home if you don’t know the proper proportions for the type of treat you’re making, but once you do, it’s a snap.
First, what is ganache?
As I write in my book, “Bean-to-Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution,” ganache is “a smooth blend of chocolate and cream. Firm ganache can be used as the filling for truffles and bonbons; pouring ganache can be used on cakes and pastries.”
Bean-to-Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution
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In other words, those two delicious ingredients—chocolate and cream—can be transformed into a variety of textures and desserts.
How do you make ganache?
To make ganache, you chop chocolate into fine pieces, gently heat cream, then add the chocolate. As the chocolate starts to melt, mix the two together quickly, emulsifying them into one creamy, decadent sweet. You can do this in a food processor or by hand, but if it’s by hand, make sure you’re stirring as quickly as possible. (P.S.: For best results, always use dark chocolate, somewhere in the 70 percent range. And if you need to sweeten it, add sugar slowly, a teaspoon at a time.)
What do you do with ganache?
Now, if you’re a heathen like me, you could eat this on its own, straight from the bowl. But most people will incorporate their ganache into fancier, less-bowl-related desserts like layer cakes or truffles. “In order to create a beautiful ganache,” says Ginger Hahn of Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates, “the formula and technique must be just right.” Here are the ratios for perfect ganache every time.
For Thin Glazes and Icings
If you’re looking for a cake glaze that drips down the sides in delicious dribbles and drabbles before it sets, you need your ganache to be relatively thin. Translation? This version needs more cream. Try two parts cream to one part chocolate, and be sure to use the ganache when it’s still pretty warm, so that it spreads easily.
For Thick Glaze
Are you making a chocolate layer cake for your best friend’s birthday this year? Why thank you, I’d love one! To make the perfect mousse-like frosting for between those layers, or to whip up a chocolate dip for fruit and shortbread cookies, use equal amounts of cream and chocolate. The ganache should be somewhat warm so that it’s still spreadable when you use it.
For Truffles and Bonbons
That super rich center of your favorite truffle is also a ganache and uses those two same ingredients: cream and chocolate. To make these bite-size sweets, the ganache needs to be very thick, so use one part cream to two parts chocolate. Also cool it completely in the fridge before using so that it can be easily rolled into individual balls.
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Speaking of truffles and bonbons...
More Chocolate-Covered Questions:
- What’s the Difference Between Truffles and Bonbons?
- What Does Chocolate Percentage Actually Mean?
- What’s the Difference Between Cocoa and Cacao?
- Is White Chocolate Really Chocolate?
- What’s the Difference Between Chocolate and Fudge?
- What’s the Difference Between Bittersweet and Semisweet Chocolate?
- Why Do We Give Chocolate on Valentine’s Day?
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