Chocolate ganache is a really simple preparation that is commonly used as an icing or pastry filling, and also for making candy. Some chocolate ganache recipes include butter or even eggs, but this one is made with only two ingredients: melted chocolate and heavy cream. You can also flavor your ganache with brandy, cognac or vanilla extract.
Be sure to read our mixing tips below for the best chocolate ganache.
- 8 oz dark chocolate (chopped)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- Melt the chocolate in a large glass bowl in the microwave, or using a double boiler. If you use a microwave, set it to low power and do it for 20 to 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until it's melted — about two minutes total.
- Heat the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat until it just comes to a boil, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't scorch.
- Now pour about a quarter of the cream into the melted chocolate and stir until it is completely incorporated. Repeat until all the cream is mixed in and the ganache is shiny and smooth. If you are adding other flavoring ingredients, such as brandy, cognac or vanilla extract, stir it in now.
You can use the ganache right away if you want to pour it over a cake or pastry. Or if you want to pipe it on top of cupcakes, let it cool at room temperature for about two hours first.
Or if you are making truffles, chill the ganache in the fridge until firm.
Chocolate Ganache Mixing Tips
You'll sometimes see ganache recipes that will have you pour all the cream into the chocolate at once, or add all the chocolate to the cream all at once.
And the thing is, you will get a ganache that way, without question. But for the best results, it's useful to think about what's actually going on here. When you make a chocolate ganache, you're making an emulsion, just like when you make mayonnaise.
In an emulsion, you are combining two liquids that don't normally mix, like oil and vinegar, or egg yolks and butter. In a ganache, the melted chocolate, and hot cream combine to form a stable emulsion.
So if you've ever made mayonnaise or Hollandaise, you know that you want to add the oil or butter to the egg yolks very slowly at first, and then you can add it faster as you get to the end.
Now, a chocolate ganache isn't as fragile as a mayonnaise, but you will definitely get a smoother result if you add the cream to the melted chocolate a little at a time, mix until it's fully incorporated and then add some more until all the cream is mixed in.
For the chocolate, 70% chocolate is ideal. The percentage refers to the amount of cocoa in the chocolate, and the higher number is darker. Seventy-percent chocolate will have a deep, rich flavor without being bitter.
For the cream, be sure to use heavy whipping cream, which has 36 to 40 percent butterfat. You can use more cream for a softer ganache, or less to make it firmer (which you might want to do if it's a warm day). The ratio given here will be the right consistency for icing cakes or for making truffles.