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Why Chocolate Ganache Needs to be in Your Wheel-House

I’m going to let you all in on a little secret…… chocolate ganache is kind of a big deal! It can catapult your cakes, cupcakes, donuts, and brownies from pretty good to WHOA!!…what kind of next-level chocolate heaven is this?

As much as I’d like to keep this little gem of a recipe all to myself, what kind of world would it be if we didn’t share our guilty little pleasures with friends? So here it is… my ever-so-well tested, tried and true, best friend of a recipe for hardening chocolate ganache.

This recipe is versatile enough to be used in all kinds of different ways in your baking lineup. I’ll show you my easy ratio so that you can use it on drip cakes, as a filling, as a whipped frosting and as a glaze on cupcakes. 

I can pretty much promise you two things by the end of this post. 

  1. You’re going to crave chocolate
  2. You’ll want to mix up a batch of this as soon as possible!

So, what exactly is ganache?

The science of ganache is based on an emulsion. It is a fancy way of saying: let’s take these two liquids that do not normally want to combine together and get them all nice and silky smooth. Things like mayonnaise, salad dressings, and hollandaise sauce are classic examples of emulsions. In the case of a chocolate ganache ingredients, we want to emulsify the water from the cream and the fat from the chocolate. 

Let’s talk for a second about the cream and chocolate. Heavy cream is the way to go in this recipe. You need those fat molecules to make a nice, thick emulsion. This is not the place to lighten things up. Stick with heavy cream here. When it comes to chocolate, I recommend bittersweet. My favorite is Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet baking pieces. They are easy to find in Walmart or at Sam’s Club. Don’t be tempted to substitute semi-sweet chocolate chips. It just won’t turn out the same. 

Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache

Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Dessert

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz Heavy Cream
  • 8 oz Bittersweet Chocolate pieces

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl place bittersweet chocolate pieces. Set aside while cream heats.
  • In a sauce pot over medium heat, bring heavy cream to a simmer. Watch it carefully, it will go from simmer, to boil all over your stove in a matter of seconds.
  • Pour hot cream over chocolate pieces. Use whisk to gently move around chocolate pieces so cream can evenly heat chocolate.
  • Allow chocolate to soften from the heat of the cream for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Using a whisk, stir mixture until it becomes silky and thick.
  • Store covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, or refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when mixing up a chocolate ganache emulsion. Cream simmers around 190° and that is exactly how it is best incorporated into the chocolate pieces. As the warm cream is poured over a bowl of chocolate pieces it begins to look a bit like chocolate milk. Keep stirring vigorously. In a few moments, something magical will happen and the chocolate slurry will begin to have a satiny smooth shine and become thick enough to cling to the whisk. 

What you now have is a liquid ganache. As this is allowed to sit and come to room temperature, it thickens and if left long enough it will harden into a chocolate mixture thick enough to pipe with. Whether you want liquid ganache or solid ganache depends on how you plan on using it. 

Ganache for glazing donuts or cupcakes

To use ganache as a glaze for cupcakes, I like to mix it up one to two hours before I want to dip things. 

As I dip my cupcakes I watch for signs that it has the right thickness. 

The ganache should not be so runny that it drips down or runs off of the top of the cupcake or donuts. It should coat the cupcake or donut evenly and thickly. At the same time, It should not be so thick that it leaves a streak of chocolate ribbon after it has been dipped. After getting the perfect dip, allow the ganache to set up for about an hour. Alternatively, you can place your freshly glazed goodies in a freezer for 15 minutes. Now your dipped treats are ready to embellish!

 Here’s my two cents worth on hardening ganache: While this ganache does harden enough to pipe frosting on, or to top a cake with, I wouldn’t recommend using it to dip things like cake pops or strawberries or anything you want to package. The ganache will cling to the cellophane and make a bit of a mess. Stick with couverture chocolate for those applications. It is, however, perfect for chocolate fondue. If you’re looking for dipping chocolate for strawberries that you’ll eat right away, then go ahead. Dip your little chocolate heart out!

Ganache for drip cakes

For every need I have in the bakery, ganache seems to rise to the occasion. There isn’t much that is more appealing than a luscious drip of shiny chocolate, and ganache is perfect for achieving it. 

For this technique, I like to allow my ganache to sit a bit longer than the glaze style of ganache. Usually around 3-4 hours, depending on the temperature of the room. What you’re looking for is a nice viscous thickness that will roll down the cake, but not pool at the bottom. It should coat a spoon nicely. Simply place your ganache in a pastry bag, use a small #5 tip or cut a small opening in the tip of a plastic disposable bag. Working your way around the rim of the cake, pipe irregular drips over the edge of your iced cake. Afterward, go back and fill in and gaps along the top. 

Ganache as a frosting

Can I let you in on a little secret? My best selling cupcake flavor ever is not only glazed with this ganache recipe, but I use it in the frosting too! Check out that recipe here. 

To mix ganache into a buttercream

 I start by mixing up my regular vanilla buttercream. To transform it into a thick, deep, dark chocolatey frosting I add a good quality not alkalized, not dutch processed cocoa powder and a heap of this slightly thick ganache and Viola….. Pure velvety chocolate frosting goodness. I’ll come back and link that recipe here very soon!

To whip ganache as a frosting

If you can want long enough for your ganache to thicken, you can transform it into a wonderfully light and melt in your mouth frosting. With only two ingredients, all you’ll taste is pure chocolate goodness. 

You’ll want to get your ganache to the perfect thickness to make a whipped frosting. I usually allow my ganache to sit out all day. I mix it early in the morning and by early afternoon it is ready to whip. Look for ganache that has the thickness of Nutella. It should fill a spoonful without dripping. Using a stand or handheld mixer, with a whip attachment, whip the ganache until it doubles in volume and becomes a lighter shade of brown. 

You can cool the ganache to help it set up, or re-whip it to soften it. Work with it until you have the icing thickness that you want. 

What other things can I do with ganache?

Now that you’re a ganache professional, you’ll want to use ganache on all your creations! 

  • Dip your brownies to amp up the chocolate factor!
  • Use it in a trifle or parfait cup and let the glorious drips of chocolate entice your customers!
  • Offer chocolate ganache as a filling flavor for your cakes.
  • Try your hand at piping ganache for beautiful mini desserts. 

Now that you know all the wonderful ways chocolate ganache can amp up your baking game, do you see how our baking world would never be the same without it?

Sending you hugs and high fives!



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