For all its simplicity, chocolate ganache is one of the most useful and delicious confections in any baker's repertoire. Making chocolate ganache is about as easy as it gets and there are endless ways to use it.
Chocolate ganache is made by melting chocolate into cream to create a rich chocolate confection that can be used as a velvety sauce or creamy candy. Ganache requires nothing more than heavy cream and chocolate. But from there you can add many things to it like a pinch of salt or a dash of vanilla or other flavoring.
Besides the rich chocolate flavor loved by chocoholics everywhere, the most brilliant thing about chocolate ganache is the many ways it can be used.
The Many Ways to Use Chocolate Ganache
One of the most common ways to use chocolate ganache is as a frosting or topping for cake, cookies, brownies, or other desserts.
When warm, it can be poured over desserts, and when whipped it becomes thick enough to pipe.
On this site alone, you'll find chocolate ganache drizzled over
- Chocolate Truffle Cake
- Red Velvet Cake
- Apple Cider Cake
- German Chocolate Cupcakes
- German Chocolate Cake
- Dulce de Leche French Toast
- Banana Split Crepe Cake
- Chocolate Blackout Cake
- Black Forest Cake
Chocolate ganache makes a decadent dip for strawberries, pineapple, mango, or pretty much any other kind of fruit or berry.
And, it can also be used as a filling for chocolate tarts, like this Chocolate Orange Truffle Tart.
Chocolate Ganache is also the base for Homemade Chocolate Truffles.
Ingredients Needed to Make Chocolate Ganache
You need just two ingredients to make chocolate ganache:
- Chocolate. Use any kind of chocolate you like to make ganache - semisweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate. If you opt for milk chocolate or white chocolate, you'll want to use a bit less cream because milk and white chocolate are softer than semisweet and bittersweet chocolate. (See recipe notes.)
- Heavy cream or whipping cream. (Heavy cream has a slightly higher fat content than whipping cream, but the difference is negligible.) Don't try and substitute milk or half-and-half for the cream which will give you hot chocolate, not ganache. However, if you want to make dairy-free ganache, you can substitute full-fat coconut milk from a can. See the recipe notes below for more information.
Optional ingredient: Salt.
I always add a pinch of salt to chocolate ganache because I just think it makes it taste even better. Salt balances the natural bitterness of chocolate and brings out its flavor. It might sound counterintuitive, but if you want chocolate ganache to taste more chocolatey, add a pinch of salt.
Step-by-Step Photos and Instructions
Chop the chocolate into small pieces. The smaller the pieces of chocolate, the better it will melt into the cream.
Scoop the chopped chocolate into a heat proof bowl.
Pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan and set it over medium-high heat. When the cream is just beginning to simmer (don't let it come to a full boil), remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate.
Let the chocolate and cream sit undisturbed for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to soften and begin to melt.
Using a spoon or rubber spatula, begin to stir the cream and chocolate together.
As you stir, the chocolate will melt into the cream. Keep stirring until the ganache is completely smooth.
That's it! At this point, you can add a pinch of salt or any other flavoring to the ganache and it's ready to use.
Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting
- Chop the chocolate into very small pieces. If the pieces of chocolate are too large, the heat from the cream might not be enough to melt them.
- What to do if the ganache isn't smooth because the chocolate hasn't melted completely: If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, you'll want to gently heat the mixture until it does. If the ganache is in a heat proof bowl, you can set the bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water. Alternatively, scoop the ganache into a small saucepan and set the small saucepan over a slightly larger pan of simmering water. You can also use a double boiler pot. Stir the ganache constantly as it heats until all the chocolate is melted.
- How to prevent chocolate from seizing: When chocolate seizes, it creates a mass of chocolate that will not melt, so this is a problem you want to avoid. Water causes chocolate to seize so be very, very careful to not allow even the tiniest drop of water to get into the chocolate.
- Use high-quality real chocolate. Chocolate ganache is 50% chocolate, so the quality of the chocolate really matters. My favorite kind of chocolate to use to make ganache is Lindt 70% Cocoa Chocolate Bars and Lindt Milk Chocolate Bars. Other good options are Ghirardelli Semisweet Chocolate and Cadbury Dark Chocolate Bars.
- To make whipped ganache: Whipped ganache is similar in consistency to chocolate buttercream! Allow the chocolate ganache to cool completely, then beat it with an electric mixer until it's light and fluffy.
- To pipe ganache: Ganache thickens and sets as it cools into a gorgeous consistency that's perfect for piping onto cupcakes or to create piped borders on decorated cakes.
- 6 ounces (170 grams) semi-sweet of bittersweet chocolate, at least 65% cacao
- ¾ cup (170 grams) heavy cream
- Pinch of salt (to taste)
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put them in a heat-proof bowl.
- Pour the cream into a small saucepan and set it over medium-high heat. Heat the cream until bubbles appear around the sides of the pan and it is just barely beginning to simmer. (Don't heat to a full boil.) You can also heat the cream in the microwave, just watch it carefully to prevent it from boiling up and over the side of the container.
- Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let it stand (do not stir!) for 3 minutes.
- Using a spoon or a rubber spatula, stir the chocolate and cream until all the chocolate is melted and the ingredients have completely combined. Stir in a pinch of salt, taste, and add more if you like.
- The ganache is now ready to use. Ganache is solid when cold and runny when hot. Leave it to cool at room temperature until it's the thickness you want. If it gets too cool, and therefore too thick, heat it in the microwave at 5-second intervals. Or, put the ganache in a heat-proof bowl and set it over a small pan of simmering water. Stir the ganache as it heats, removing it from the simmering water as it begins to melt.
- Store chocolate ganache in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or freeze for up to 3 months. If frozen, allow the ganache to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
How to Make Dairy-Free Chocolate Ganache
- Use semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate and full-fat coconut milk from a can. (Coconut milk in cartons contains too much water and does not contain coconut cream, which is essential for ganache that sets up properly.
- Shake the can vigorously before opening. The cream will have separated from the milk inside the can; shake the can to combine them again.
- Pour the coconut milk into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer, whisking as it heats. Proceed to follow the recipe above to pour ¾ cup of the hot coconut cream over the chopped chocolate.
If using milk chocolate or white chocolate, use less cream
Milk and white chocolate are softer than semisweet and bittersweet chocolate, so you'll want to use less cream to achieve the same thick consistency. If using white chocolate reduce the cream to ½ cup. If using milk chocolate, reduce the cream to ⅔ cup.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 57mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 5gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g