How to Prepare
The Best Chocolate Ganache

Melting chocolate properly is the key to making great chocolate ganache. Knowing the nature of this food of the gods definitely helps preventing common errors.

  • Chocolate tends to lose its delicate flavor when its temperature is over 120 degrees Fahrenheit or 49 degrees Celsius.

  • It becomes lumpy or seizing when coming into contact with even a tiniest drop of water.

brownies topped with chocolate ganache
As a blend of chocolate and hot cream, the popularity of chocolate ganache is largely due to its versatility. It can be used to coat cakes, frost
brownies, dip cookies, or as a filling for cookie sandwiches. We can also add butter, liqueur, or other flavorings to create a variety of delicious flavors.

I like to make chocolate ganache in advance and freeze it for later use. If frozen, it can keep for at least 9 months without losing quality. Thawing frozen ganache is as simple as slowly reheating it in a water bath or double boiler. Placing an entire container of frozen chocolate ganache in a pan of hot water also works very well.

The following tips and precautions have helped me a great deal in preparing this sumptuous dessert topping.

  • Chocolate chips are not a good candidate for melting because they contain vegetable oil that keeps them from melting properly.

  • Chopping chocolate bars or chucks into small pieces to preserve good flavor and ensure a velvety texture.

  • Making sure the bowl that will hold chocolate pieces is totally and completely dry.

  • Working away from any possible source of moisture such as boiling water.

  • Stirring often and gently to assure even melting and avoid overheating.

  • Never covering chocolate during and after melting because moisture will condense on the lid, drop into chocolate and cause seizing.

It is great if you have a double boiler for melting chocolate. I usually place a stainless steel or glass-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Just be sure that the bowl is wider than the pot and its bottom does not touch the water.

cupcake topped with chocolate ganache and strawberriesChocolate ganache recipe #1 has unconventional melting instructions, and can be found in The Essential Guide to Cake Decorating published by Whitecap books.

Dark chocolate 5 oz. or 155g
Cream 5 fluid oz. or 155 ml

  • Place chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Make sure that the base of bowl does not sit in water.

  • Stir gently with a wooden spoon until smooth.

  • Remove from heat and allow it to cool.

This next recipe is great for glazing. It is from Great Cookies – Secrets to Sensational Sweets by Carole Walter

Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate 6 oz.
chopped into small pieces
Heavy cream ¾ cup
Light corn syrup 1 Tbsp
Vanilla extract ¾ tsp
  • Heat heavy cream and corn syrup together in a small saucepan over low heat.

  • When it comes to a simmer, immediately pour it over chocolate pieces.

  • Stir constantly to assure even melting.

  • Wait 1 minute before adding vanilla extract and stir again.

  • Allow the ganache to cool and thicken. Refrigerate it to encourage thickening if necessary.

Recipe #3 is for white chocolate ganache. It is not ideal for coating dark-colored desserts because of its translucency. It also has a softer set than dark chocolate.

Chopped white chocolate 1 and 1/3 cups
Heavy cream 1/3 cup

Bring heavy cream to a simmer and pour it over white chocolate. Stir until completely smooth. Allow ganache to cool completely before using. This recipe yields about one and a half cups of white chocolate ganache.

I learned recipe #4 in one of my baking classes, and prepared it most often as a filling for my favorite Parisienne macaroon sandwiches. It is in On Baking – A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals by Sarah R. Labensky with Eddy Van Damme, Priscilla Martel and Klaus Tenbergen.

Bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces 1 lb. or 480g
Heavy cream 2 cups or 480ml
Almond or coffee liqueur 1 fluid oz. or 30ml
  • Bring heavy cream to a boil and immediately pour it over chopped chocolate. Gently stir with a rubber spatula until all chopped chocolates have melted.

  • Stir in the liqueur and allow it to cool.

Well, I am sure you have figured out what theobroma cacao means by now. Here is the answer anyhow. 🙂

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