Learn how to make ganache for truffles, cake frostings, glazes, fillings and many other uses. Made from only cream and chocolate, ganache can be used for so many things!
You see that picture up ^ there. That! That is what we like to call “food porn.” Sexy right? But that right there is also what we call the beautiful simplicity and perfection of chocolate ganache!
Ganache is one of those few things in the pastry world that I love because of it’s simplicity and versatility. If you have never made ganache before you might not even realize how darn easy it is. Just two ingredients. Two!
So what exactly is ganache? Ganache refers to a velvety mixture that results from mixing hot cream with chopped chocolate. Chocolate + hot cream = silky smooth ganache. That’s it. It is used for all kinds of things in the dessert world.
Like that luscious frosting you see in that picture ^ up there. That is just ganache that I allowed to cool. It creates this beautiful frosting that for me is so much more satisfying to use and eat than traditional buttercream frosting.
Ganache is also used to make chocolate truffles, it can be poured as a glaze over cakes or tarts, it can be kept warm to use as a dipping sauce or fondu, you can use it chilled as a filling. Really, the uses can go on and on.
So I want to teach you the simplicity and ratios of making ganache so that you have it in your baking arsenal. You never know when something might come up that you need a quick go to frosting or chocolate dip or a want to impress your friends with the fancy truffles you made that really aren’t fancy at all if people knew how easy it was to make them!
The process of making ganache is broken down into 4 extremely easy steps.
STEP 1: CHOP YOUR CHOCOLATE
Chop your chocolate up into small pieces so that they will melt quickly in the hot cream. You can also use chocolate chips to make it easier on yourself since you won’t have to do any chopping on those! Place the chocolate in a bowl.
One of the things I love so much about ganache is that it isn’t very sweet. It is incredibly rich and intensely chocolate with that lovely bitter note that we love so much about chocolate that makes you want a really good cup of coffee to go with it! (my mouth is watering as I’m typing this!)
The two kinds of chocolate typically used to make ganache is semi-sweet or bittersweet. You typically wouldn’t use a dark chocolate as it would be much too bitter for most people’s palettes. I like to use a bittersweet chocolate that is about 60% chocolate. But even a semi-sweet chocolate will not end up too sweet.
STEP 2: HEAT YOUR CREAM
Put your cream (you want to use heavy cream here because you need a high percentage of fat) in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring up the temperature until it is simmering and almost boiling.
You aren’t going to do any damage by letting the cream boil, but it really doesn’t need to be quite that hot and once it’s boiling it will spill over the pan really quickly. This is a time when you need to hang out by the stove with your bowl of chocolate to make sure your cream doesn’t boil over. Just nibble on some chocolate to keep yourself occupied.
STEP 3: COMBINE THE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE
Once the cream is really hot and simmering, pour it over the bowl of chocolate and let it sit there for a few minutes. If you are making a small batch and have fairly small pieces of chocolate you might only need to wait about 2 minutes, but if you are making a very large batch or have larger pieces of chocolate you might want to wait up to 5 minutes.
You are basically letting the hot cream melt the chocolate before you whisk it while at the same time bringing down the temperature of the cream. Whisking while the cream is too hot could cause problems and result in a ganache that is not smooth. The waiting is to create a silky smooth texture.
STEP 4: WHISK THE CHOCOLATE AND CREAM MIXTURE
Once you have let the hot cream and chocolate sit together for a little while you are going to whisk the two together. The best way to do this is to put your whisk right in the center of the bowl and whisk in a small circle slowly moving outward. Make sure you keep moving in one direction and slowly make bigger circles from the center out.
This will ensure that you are slowly incorporating the cream into the chocolate and you can avoid splashing hot cream and chocolate all over the place. Not that I would ever have that problem, but you might have that problem (hear the sarcasm from the messiest baker ever?!).
But the real reason for this whisking process is that while I have told you that ganache is simply a mixture of hot cream and chocolate, the real secret is that it is also an emulsion.
Basically you are working to suspend the fat from the cream and butterfat from the chocolate into the liquid sugar and the water from the cream. Fat and water are unmixable substances that we are emulsifying here to create a silky smooth mixture.
Once you have completely combined all of the cream and chocolate you will have a luscious and silky smooth chocolate mixture that you can use for all kinds of things! Just go nuts!
BASIC GANACHE RATIOS
There are two main ratios that you should note for your ganache making. And don’t freak out! I know people like to run away when I start talking math and ratios, but these are like the easiest ratios you could ever learn. So stick around and you will feel super smart!
2:1 GANACHE RATIO
When making ganache for truffles or if you want the ganache to be in a fairly solid state when cooled so that it can be shaped, you want to use double the amount of chocolate as you will cream. Or half the amount of cream as you will chocolate. However you want to look at it. How does that saying go? Six of one, half dozen of the other? You get the picture. If you are using a pound (16 0z) of chocolate then you would use 1 cup (8 oz) of cream for this ganache ratio.
This ganache is pretty thick and almost pudding like when hot but it will become really solid when cooled. It will still be soft and easy to scoop and mold but it will hold a shape so you can use it make truffles!
1:1 GANACHE RATIO
When making ganache for use as a frosting or a dip or most other things that won’t turn into truffles you want to use a 1:1 ratio. Meaning you will use the same amount of chocolate as you will cream. And we are talking weights here. Have 8 oz of chocolate, use 8 0z (which is 1 cup) of cream! How easy could that be?
This ganache will be very liquid when hot and will start getting thicker as it cools. Once completely cooled it will be the consistency of a thick pudding.
In fact, that’s another use for it! Just take a big spoon and dip right in there and eat it as pudding! (Kidding! Kind of.) OR fold in some whipped cream and serve it as a mousse. I’m being completely serious about that. Delicious!
The 1:1 ratio ganache kept warm is a great dipping sauce or fondu, or you could pour it over a cake while still slightly warm to create a smooth glaze. And when this ganache is cooled to room temp it creates that luscious frosting you see in that top picture up there!
This ganache is the most commonly seen ganache and is what is made for almost all ganache uses other than truffles.
The ganache on the left was made with a 2:1 chocolate to cream ratio, and the ganache on the right was made with a 1:1 chocolate to cream ratio.
OTHER TIPS AND TRICKS
TO MAKE A WHIPPED GANACHE FROSTING: Allow 1:1 ratio ganache to cool at room temp for about 1 hour. Beat the ganache with a mixer and paddle attachment on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until it becomes fluffy and paler in color. Do not use a whisk attachment for this as it will most likely “break” your ganache.
Whipped ganache can be piped onto cupcakes or used to frost and decorate a whole cake. It can also be used as a filling for cream puffs or various other pastries.
TO STORE LEFTOVER GANACHE: If you will be using the ganache within the next few weeks, place a piece of plastic wrap right on top of the cooled ganache and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To store for much longer, store in the freezer and then thaw in the refrigerator when ready to use it. It can be stored in the freezer well wrapped and sealed for up to 1 year.
TO RE-WARM GANACHE: Allow ganache to sit at room temperature for 2 hours if you need room temperature and not warm ganache. If you need warm ganache, place the ganache over a double boiler and gently re-warm while stirring frequently. You can also re-warm in the microwave by heating at 50% power in short bursts (10-15 seconds each) and stirring in between each.
TO FLAVOR THE GANACHE: You can steep herbs, spices, or aromatic things like coffee beans in the cream when heating it to flavor the cream before making the ganache. Just strain out before adding to the chocolate.
You can also add extracts, spices, or fruit purees directly into the ganache after it is made. Chopped up nuts or cocoa nibs could also be added to give the ganache crunch and texture.
Make this ganache for truffles, cake frostings, glazes, fillings and many other uses. Made from only cream and chocolate, ganache can be used for so many things!
- 8 oz (224 grams) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 cup (8 oz, 235 ml) heavy cream (also known as double cream)
- large pinch of kosher salt (optional but recommended)
- 8 oz (224 grams) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120 ml) heavy cream (also known as double cream)
- large pinch of salt (optional but recommended)
- Chop your chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.
- Put your cream in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Allow cream to heat until simmering and almost boiling.
- Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let stand for about 3 minutes. Add your salt into the bowl at this point if using.
- Put your whisking to the center of the chocolate cream mixture and begin whisking in small circles going in one direction and slowly moving outward until the mixture is smooth.
- If using as a glaze, allow to cool for about 15 minutes before pouring. If using as a frosting, allow to cool at room temperature for about 4 hours and up to overnight. If making truffles, place the ganache in the refrigerator uncovered until the mixture becomes solid, about 1 hour, before scooping and shaping.