Dark Chocolate Ganache has all the pure chocolate flavor of a really great square of bittersweet chocolate but it has a soft and creamy texture. It’s like eating chocolate silk.
What is Chocolate Ganache?
At it’s most basic, a chocolate ganache recipe is simply equal parts chocolate and heavy cream. But you can vary the amount of cream and add additional ingredients to the basic ganache to change the flavor and texture.
The science of chocolate ganache
Though the ingredients are simple, ganache actually has a fairly complex structure. Ganache is both an emulsion and a suspension.
When warm cream is poured over chopped chocolate the water in the cream combines with the sugar in the chocolate to form a syrup. Suspended in that syrup are milk fat from the cream along with cocoa butter and cocoa solids from the chocolate.
Because there’s plenty of water to form the syrup that supports the structure of the ganache, the basic ganache recipe of equal parts cream and chocolate produces a very stable ganache.
What is “broken ganache” and how to fix it
If you reduce the cream to half the volume of the chocolate or use a very high cocoa percentage chocolate the ganache emulsion will be less stable.
With less cream there is less water to form the syrup which holds the milk fat and cocoa butter in suspension. Because of this the fat can separate from the ganache. This is what we call a “broken ganache”.
Over-stirring the ganache or overheating the ganache can cause the ganache to break.
To fix a “broken” ganache first melt it slowly without overheating it. Try using 15 second increments in the microwave. Then warm 1/4 cup of cream until scalding. Slowly whisk the hot cream, a few teaspoons at a time, into the ganache until to comes back together. You may not need all the cream.
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate – 55%-72%
- Heavy Cream
- Butter – unsalted butter enriches the ganache
- Corn syrup (optional) – adds sheen to the ganache
How to make Chocolate Ganache:
Step 1: Place chopped chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl.
Step 2: Pour scalded cream over the chocolate. Leave the chocolate and cream sit without stirring for 2-3 minutes.
Step 3: Allow the chocolate to begin melting in the warm cream before you begin stirring the ganache.
Step 4: Slowly stir the chocolate and cream. It will take a few minutes for the two to come together. If some of the chocolate doesn’t melt remove 1/2 cup of ganache. Heat that in the microwave then add it back to the bowl of ganache to finish melting the chocolate. Stir in the (optional) corn syrup. Allow the ganache to cool completely at room temperature before using.
The Best Chocolate for Chocolate Ganache
The best chocolate to for making chocolate ganache is semi-sweet. Look for between 55%-72% listed on the package. The percentage on a package of chocolate refers to the cocoa solids in the chocolate. The higher the cocoa solids, the lower the percentage of sugar. Higher percent chocolate is less sweet than lower percent chocolate.
Best cream for Chocolate Ganache
Many markets will carry both “heavy whipping cream” and “heavy cream”. Heavy cream has a higher fat percent than whipping cream. Heavy cream is the best choice for rich ganache. Heavy whipping cream can be used if that is the only cream available.
Do not light cream in your ganache as the water content is too high and it will throw off the texture of the ganache.
Uses for Chocolate Ganache
Of course ganache can be used to make homemade chocolate truffles. But ganache can also be used for icing cakes, glazing cakes and filling cakes. You can pipe ganache between two cookies to make a sandwich cookie. You can pour ganache into a tart shell and top it with fresh fruit or cream. Warm ganache can be poured over ice cream as a decadent sauce.
Tips for Making Chocolate Ganache
- Depending on how you want to use the ganache the ratio can vary from 2x the amount of chocolate to cream to 2x the amount of cream to chocolate.
- To make a very soft ganache use twice the amount of cream to chocolate. Once the soft ganache has cooled, you can put it on a stand mixer or use a hand mixer to whip it up to make a light and airy cake filling.
- Ganache should be completely cooled at room temperature before chilling. Gradually cooling the ganache allows the cocoa butter to crystalize slowly. Chilling the ganache too quickly causes the cocoa butter to form fewer crystals and the ganache can become greasy as it warms back to room temperature.
- The corn syrup is optional, especially if you’re using the ganache for truffles or as a filling. If you plan to glaze a cake with the ganache, the corn syrup adds a beautiful shine to the finish.
For a firmer ganache you can reduce the cream to 50%-75% of the weight of the chocolate.
You can pour warm ganache over a chilled cake to “glaze” the cake. You can spread soft ganache over the cake as a fudgy icing. Ganache can be whipped in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer and spread over a cake as a light and airy frosting.
Ganache can be refrigerated after it has cooled completely at room temperature. Ganache can be stored at room temperature for several days. For longer storage ganache can be frozen.
Check the ingredients on your chocolate chips before using them to make ganache. You want to use real chocolate without added stabilizers or excess sugar. Many chocolate chips have added stabilizers to help them keep their shape while baking. Using chips with added ingredients will compromise the texture of the ganache, and ganache is all about the texture.
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Dark Chocolate Ganache Recipe
- 8 oz semi sweet chocolate
- 8 oz heavy cream (1 cup)
- ½ oz unsalted butter (1 tablespoon)
- 1 ½ oz light corn syrup (2 tablespoons, optional (see note))
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces, none larger than 1/2" or chop roughly and finish chopping in a food processor. Place the butter in a large, heatproof bowl with the chopped chocolate.8 oz semi sweet chocolate, ½ oz unsalted butter
- Pour the cream into a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup and heat until scalding. You want to get the cream as hot as you can without it boiling over. The time will depend on your microwave. Mine takes about 2-3 minutes for a cup of cream8 oz heavy cream
- Pour the cream all at once over the chocolate. Do not stir for 2-3 minutes to allow the chocolate to begin melting
- Gently stir, trying not to incorporate any air, until all the chocolate bits are melted. Stir in the corn syrup if using.1 ½ oz light corn syrup
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Dark Chocolate Ganache is just the beginning. Here are some other ganache recipes.