Chocolate ganache is a rich, decadent, and absolutely sinful baking staple. Here is the best part, ganache is easy to make, but we can keep that between us. This recipe is perfect for cake fillings, cake toppings, creams, truffles, and many more.
Chocolate ganache is a popular baking staple. You can find it in all kinds of bakes from tarts, macarons and cake layer fillings thanks to its versatility. I think of ganache as the baking best-supporting actor due to its many uses which include; doughnut filling, cake layer filling, macaron filling, and poured over a cake for a dramatic look.
Ganache does come in many different varieties. My personal favorite is dark chocolate. In this blog post, I have included variations for dark, milk, white chocolate, and a vegan modification.
Heavy whipping cream - 1 cup
Chocolate -8 ounces - Ghridelli is my go-to chocolate. I use both dark and milk chocolate chips. White chocolate requires a slight modification. (See below and in the recipe card for directions.)
Butter - 4 tablespoons - I always recommend using European unsalted butter. European butter has a higher fat content resulting in a richer butter. Also, use unsalted to control the amount of salt in the recipe.
Sea Salt - Pinch - Sea salt is amazing in ganache. It gives pops of flavor similar to sea salt caramel.
Spices - Traditional ganache is made without spices. Using spices will depend on what you are making. My go-to's are vanilla and cinnamon.
How to Make This Recipe
Time needed: 15 minutes.
Steps Used to Make Chocolate Ganache
- Whipping Cream
Warm one cup of heavy whipping cream. I recommend heating in a double boiler to control the temperature. Start by filling the bottom pot with 1 - 2 inches of water. Heat the water to a simmering state. The water in the bottom pot should not touch the top of the boiler.
Place the top pan of the double boiler on top of the bottom pot. Add the heavy whipping cream and allow the temperature to rise.
Chocolate melts at 100 degrees. So the cream should be warm to the touch but not too hot. Warm is the keyword here. If the cream is too hot, you run the risk of the chocolate splitting or burning.
- Add Chocolate
Break 8 ounces of chocolate into small pieces and add to the warm whipping cream. Whisk continuously until the chocolate is smooth and entirely incorporated into the heavy cream.
- Add Butter
Cut four tablespoons of butter into one tablespoon section. Then add one tablespoon of butter at a time. Whisk each tablespoon until entirely incorporated into the chocolate. Repeat until all four tablespoons have been combined into the chocolate.
Add one tablespoon of vanilla, one teaspoon of cinnamon (optional), and a pinch of salt. Whisk.
Note- Adding spices is nontraditional. Most of the time, I do not add any additional flavor. I like to tweak the gauche flavor slightly to enhance the flavor of my overall bake.
How to Use
Here are a few common uses:
- Cake fillings
- Pastry and tart filling
- Macaron filling
- Mirror glaze
- Cake topping
Substitutions and Variations
Canned Coconut Milk - dairy-free and vegan alternative - Use 8 ounces of full-fat canned coconut milk. Pour the coconut milk into a heavy pot. Warm over low heat and whisk. This substitutes for cream.
White Chocolate - White chocolate is made with cream and cocoa butter. The result is a creamier chip than milk or dark chocolate. To use white chocolate, reduce the cream to ⅔rds cup instead of one cup. This will allow the ganache to be set correctly.
Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream - is the only type of cream that will be set up properly. Half-and-half, whole milk or any other type of milk will leave you with chocolate milk.
Chocolate matters - Chocolate quality is the absolute key to a great ganache. Look for chocolate between 60 and 82% cacao. My favorite is Ghiradelli dark chocolate. Milk chocolate is also wonderful. See the above or the recipe notes about using white chocolate.
The chocolate seized on me - Warm the ganache over hot water and whisk vigorously. If the ganache is still not coming together, add in a tablespoon of room-temperature milk of liqueur. Do not add additional cream to restore your ganache. I will not work.
My ganache is runny - This happens for one of two reasons -
1. A liquid other than heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk was used in the recipe. Solution: There is none, sorry. Ganache has to be made with a high-fat liquid to absorb the chocolate.
2. The chocolate to cream ratio is off. Whisk in more chocolate until you reach the desired consistency.
Counter - Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to two days. While this is possible, I prefer to store ganache in the refrigerator.
Refrigerator - Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to one week.
Freezer - Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to one month. I recommend thawing ganache overnight in the refrigerator before using.
Reheating - Ganache is temperature sensitive and is easily ruined by heat. Place it in the microwave and heat at 50% power in 10 - 15 second bursts to correctly reheat it.
Ganache is a blend of equal parts of chocolate and cream. I add butter to my ganache to add a shine to the chocolate. Ganache is a versatile baking staple used in many different ways.
Not really, the ganache will firm and expand as it cools, but it never creates a hard type of shell.
This happens when the chocolate pieces are too large. Chop any remaining pieces into smaller pieces. Then warm the cream over a double boiler until the cream is just simmering. Chocolate melts at a low temperature and should begin to melt. During this time, continue to whisk.
Note: Do not microwave, it will ruin the ganache, and you will need to start over.
How to Make Chocolate Ganache
- Double boiler
- 1 cup heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- 8 ounces chocolate broken into small pieces
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 1 tablespoon pats
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cream: Warm one cup of heavy cream or heavy whipping cream.1 cup heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- Chocolate: Add the chocolate. Whisk continuously until the chocolate is smooth and entirely incorporated into the heavy cream.8 ounces chocolate
- Butter: Add one tablespoon of butter and whisk until entirely incorporated into the chocolate. Repeat until all four tablespoons have been combined into the chocolate.4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Spices: Add one tablespoon of vanilla, one teaspoon of cinnamon (optional), and a pinch of salt. Whisk. Note: Any type of spice or addition is non-traditional.1 pinch sea salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract