Do you know how to heat up liquids? What about understanding how to stand idly in the kitchen while not touching anything? Are you confident in your abilities to stir things? If you can do all of these things, you can make chocolate ganache. The same rich, velvety, lusciously indulgent ganache that the finest of chocolatiers roll into truffles and that pastry chefs swirl into ice cream, drizzle over cookies, and pour over cakes. You, yes you, have all the skills and talent needed to soar to such chocolatey heights, even if you’ve never cooked before.
Chocolate ganache is little more than melted chocolate mixed with heavy cream. That’s it! You don’t even have to melt the chocolate yourself, which is trickier than it sounds since chocolate can burn easily. All you need to do is break up some chocolate into small pieces, pour hot heavy cream on top of it, and walk away. The heat of the cream will gently melt the chocolate as it sits, doing all the hard work as you stare into space or fiddle around with your phone.
Once the chocolate has melted, it’s stirred into the hot cream until the two come together to form ganache. This is ganache in its most basic form, and can be further embellished with extreme ease. Try flavoring your ganache with extracts and liqueurs for a personalized pizzazz: start by adding a teaspoon of flavoring, stir well, give it a taste, and continue adjusting to your liking. If you’d like your ganache to have a shiny appearance, adding a small amount of corn syrup will make it brilliantly glossy.
The most important thing to remember when making ganache is that the end result will only be as good as what you put in. Bad chocolate will yield bad ganache. You don’t need to break the bank when buying chocolate, but do spring for bars over chips, and don’t use anything you wouldn’t like eating on its own.
Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups ganache
- 3 (3.5-oz.) bars of dark, bittersweet, or semisweet chocolate
- 1¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
- 1 tsp. corn syrup (optional)
- 1 tsp. liqueur (optional)
Using your hands, break up the chocolate into small pieces and place in a medium bowl. Heat the heavy cream with the salt and corn syrup (if using) until simmering; pour on top of the chocolate and let stand undisturbed for one minute.
Gently begin stirring the mixture with a fork or tiny whisk until the chocolate melts; this will not be instantaneous, so be patient. Continue stirring for 3-5 minutes until the ganache comes together into a smooth, silky mixture.
At first, the ganache will be runny like chocolate syrup; this texture is good for dipping (like fruit or cookies) or drizzling. If you chill it for 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator, it becomes spreadable like peanut butter. Chill even longer, and the ganache will set up firmly enough to be scooped into balls and rolled into truffles, or whipped with an electric mixer into a fluffy ganache frosting.