Start to Finish: 10 minutes
Servings: Make as much or little as you need
Difficulty Level: Beginner

In terms of technique, making ganache is as simple as can be. This chocolate mixture only includes two ingredients and takes mere minutes to make. But because different recipes call for different chocolate-to-cream ratios and cooling times, the specifics of your batch will depend on what dessert you’re creating.


Ingredients

  • Semisweet or dark chocolate (either bars or chocolate chips)
  • Heavy cream

The amount of chocolate and cream you’ll need depends on what you’re making. See the Ratios section for more.

Directions

Finely chop the chocolate. Create the smallest pieces you can — to make silky ganache, your chocolate needs to melt quickly and evenly into the cream. Transfer the chocolate to a glass or metal bowl.

Pour the cream into a saucepan. Heat the saucepan over medium-high heat until the cream starts to bubble and foam, which should take no more than a few minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Drizzle the hot cream over the chocolate. Push down on the chocolate with a spoon so all of it is submerged in the cream.

Let the chocolate and cream mixture sit for 5 minutes, allowing the chocolate to melt.

Slowly stir the mixture until it turns dark brown and creamy, then stop. Avoid over-stirring the ganache.

Ratios by Use

If you’re making:

  • A glaze: Use 1 part chocolate and 1 part cream. If you need enough ganache to drizzle over the top of a cake or tart, for instance, a combination of 1/2 cup of chocolate and 1/2 cup of cream should suffice. In this case, you’ll want to pour the ganache over the dessert while it’s still warm.

  • Cake filling or frosting: Again, make the ganache with equal parts cream and chocolate. But because you don’t want this mixture to ooze off the cake, place it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes first, stirring it once halfway through. It should then be cooled enough to be spreadable. You may also beat the cooled ganache with an electric mixer to make it lighter and fluffier.

  • Truffles: To make bite-size truffles that hold their shape, use 2 parts chocolate to 1 part cream. For a batch of about 15 truffles, combine 1 cup of chocolate and 1/2 cup of cream. Refrigerate the ganache for about 30 minutes, stirring it every 10 minutes, or until it has the texture of stiff frosting.

Scoop out 1 spoonful at a time and roll it between your palms to make a ball. Place all the truffles on a plate covered with parchment paper and refrigerate them for 30 more minutes. Roll the truffles in cocoa powder or confectioners’ sugar. Store them in the refrigerator.

Tips and Tricks

Even a small amount of water will cause your ganache to seize up and become mealy, so make sure all bowls and spoons that you use are completely dry.

If your ganache “breaks,” or the cream and chocolate separate and the mixture looks slightly curdled, try heating it over a water bath. If you don’t have a double boiler, bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a saucepan, pour the ganache into a metal bowl and set that bowl over the water. Stir the mixture until it’s smooth. If that doesn’t work, heat a small amount of cream and stir the broken ganache into it, a small amount at a time.

You may refrigerate a covered bowl of ganache for up to a few days. It will harden in the fridge, so use the double boiler method described above to return it to a liquid.

The flavor and texture of ganache is easy to tweak. If, for instance, you make a batch of ganache using 1 cup of chocolate and 1 cup of cream and it’s too thin for your tastes, make a smaller batch of thicker ganache using 1/2 cup of chocolate and 1/4 cup of cream and stir the two ganaches together. You may also add sea salt, chopped nuts, chili powder, cinnamon or other flavorings to any basic batch of ganache.