Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate Ganache

Let's play a game of "hypothetical situations." Let's pretend we buy into the "2012 is the end of the world" idea and we believe we only have 10 months left to live. Ok? Now, what do you want to do? In this situation, and just off the top of my head, I would apply for the highest credit limit for which I could possibly qualify and go on a shopping bender. I'd sample from the collections of Louis Vuitton and Manolo Blahnik before flying first class to Europe for an extravagant vacation. And while I was there, I would eat EVERYTHING! I would eat everything and feel no remorse. My usual reserve for decadent dishes would be tossed out the window. What's an extra 20 pounds compared to the end of the world? The treats I have designated solely "special occasion" treats, for both their out of this world flavor and nutritional content, would become my everyday, go-to foods. And chocolate ganache would be one of them.

Why do I hold ganache (gun-aush) in such high regard? This dark, smooth, semi-sweet sauce has two basic ingredients; chocolate and heavy cream. I know. How could that be anything but delicious? The technique to making this thick, creamy piece of heaven is heating heavy cream, pouring it over chocolate, and using the residual heat from the hot cream to gently melt the chocolate into a smooth, decadent sauce. The ratio of chocolate to heavy cream will determine the thickness of the ganache. For example, thicker ganache becomes the smooth center of a chocolate truffle while thinner, sauce-like ganache becomes a rich glaze on cakes or a fondue-like dipping sauce for fruit. This recipe is for a saucy ganache. It is very simple to prepare, but not so simple to resist eating in one sitting!

I use decaffeinated, instant coffee granules in my ganache. It is very common to use instant coffee in recipes for chocolate cakes, cupcakes, and sauces because the bitter coffee enhances the dark undertones of the chocolate. The combination of semi-sweet chocolate and coffee results in a more pronounced chocolate flavor. You will not taste the coffee in the final product, but if you are not a coffee fan, simply leave that ingredient out.


Place the chocolate chips in a medium-sized mixing bowl and set aside.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, bring heavy cream to a boil. Boil for only a few seconds, then remove from heat.

Pour the hot heavy cream into the bowl with the chocolate chips. Whisk the cream and chocolate chips mixture until all the chocolate chips have melted. Whisk in instant coffee.

The ganache will be smooth and thick. It will become even thicker as it cools so if you are using it to glaze a cake or cupcakes, let the ganache cool briefly first.

My two favorite things to do with ganache are pouring it onto the top of a cake and letting it drip down the sides and...

treating it like chocolate fondue. Oh, and my third favorite thing to do is eating it plain on a spoon, but in order to preserve my dignity, I won't provide a picture of that!

Chocolate Ganache

recipe by Sweet & Savory


1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp instant coffee


Place chocolate chips in a medium mixing bowl and set aside. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring heavy cream to a boil and allow to boil for a few seconds. Remove from heat.

Pour heated cream over the chocolate chips. Whisk until the chocolate chips are melted and the ganache is smooth. Whisk in instant coffee.

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