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You have inevitably eaten and enjoyed it. It was in that amazing chocolate dessert you ate the one there were no words to describe. It is a heavenly layer of dense chocolate, sometimes used to top desserts, other times used as a filling. It is not frosting; it is not pudding. What is this amazing substance? It is known as chocolate ganache.

What is ganache?
Chocolate ganache is made using approximately equal portions of heavy cream and chocolate. Some ganaches are flavored, for example with vanilla, coffee or liqueur, but a pure ganache is simply chocolate and cream. A ganache can be used to fill cakes, cookies or even chocolate candy such as truffles. A version with a little more cream than chocolate can even be whipped into a chocolate mousse.

The two ways to make chocolate ganache

There are two techniques for making a chocolate ganache. One involves melting the chocolate and then blending cream into it. The second technique involves heating the cream to a boil, removing it from the heat source and then blending in the chocolate. With this method, you need to make sure your chocolate has been grated or finely chopped so that the heat from the cream is ample to melt all of the chocolate.

If more chocolate than cream is used, the ganache will be quite thick and fudgy. This thick type of ganache is used to make truffles, which are then usually rolled in cocoa powder or powdered sugar.  If more cream than chocolate is used, the ganache will be on the thinner side. This type of thin ganache is often used to glaze cakes or tortes.  Experiment to find the perfect consistency for each of your desserts.

If a very shiny texture is desired on the ganache, sometimes a small amount of butter or vegetable oil is added to the mixture.

The best chocolate makes the best ganache

Since most of the flavor in a chocolate ganache comes from the chocolate, it is critical to use good quality chocolate. You may make a chocolate ganache with virtually any type of chocolate; bittersweet, semi-sweet or dark are the most classic, but you can also use milk or even white chocolate to make a ganache. If a chocolate tastes good to you alone, it will taste wonderful to you in your ganache. If however, it tastes bland, waxy or stale, it will make an inferior ganache.

My favorite ganache


1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces of dark Scharffen Berger chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heat resistant bowl.

Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it just reaches a boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Stir gently to make sure all of the chocolate is covered by the cream and allow it to sit for a minute. Stir well, until it is smooth and blended. Add the vanilla and mix it in thoroughly. Use immediately.




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