This two-ingredient chocolate ganache recipe is a must have for every home cook. Use it for cake decorating, dipping strawberries, or simply spreading on a croissant. This ganache recipe is a keeper!
What is Ganache?
Ganache is a rich sauce made of an equal ratio of melted chocolate and heavy whipping cream. There are mainly three types of ganaches: white, milk, and dark chocolate. It is most often used as a filling, frosting, or glaze. Ganache naturally hardens and thickens as it cools, making it perfect to use for decorating desserts!
Chocolate Ganache vs Frosting vs Icing?
Ganache is similar to frosting and icing in that it is heavier than frosting and hardens as it cools. Frosting is lighter and fluffier because it is whipped. Icing is typically an even thinner consistency than frosting, similar to our powdered sugar glaze.
What Kind of Chocolate is Best for Ganache?
The best chocolate to use for ganache is high-quality chocolate, either in chip or bar form. Semi-sweet chocolate is the most commonly used, as it has a sweet taste but is not over-the-top sugary. Dark and white chocolate also work well if you want a dark or white chocolate ganache. It is best to avoid bittersweet chocolate as it is not sweet enough and tends to have an extremely intense cocoa flavor.
How to Make Chocolate Ganache
The key to making chocolate ganache is to go slowly. Avoid rushing and you’ll have a decadent sauce in no time at all!
- Place ingredients in a glass bowl: Place chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate bar) in a glass bowl along with heavy cream.
- Microwave for a minute: Microwave the mixture for one minute. Remove from the microwave and stir with a whisk to melt the chocolate. Keep stirring for at least two minutes.
- Repeat (if needed): If any chocolate remains unmelted, place the mixture back in the microwave for ten seconds. Remove and stir again. Repeat as needed until no clumps remain.
- Cool: Let the mixture cool for about ten minutes before using. Enjoy!
Chocolate ganache is not only reserved for professional bakers — you can make it too! These tried-and-true tips will make your ganache just as good as the pros.
- Use chocolate chips: Small or mini chocolate chips are the easiest to melt to the perfect consistency. If using a chocolate bar, chop the bar into tiny pieces.
- Avoid substituting the cream: Avoid using half-and-half, whole milk, or any other liquid alternatives because then the ganache won’t set properly.
- Add a flavor boost: To slightly tweak the flavor, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract or liqueur when ganache is smooth. Avoid adding too much as excess liquid affects the consistency of the ganache.
Hot tip: The best tool for chopping chocolate is a large serrated knife. The grooves help cut through the hard chocolate bar. Our favorite knife set makes this a breeze.
Troubleshooting Your Ganache
The texture of chocolate ganache can be tricky to get perfectly right the first time. Here are a few common issues and how to prevent them.
- Too runny? The ganache may appear too runny right out of the microwave, but as you stir the mix and it cools, it will thicken.
- Not smooth? If the mixture isn’t perfectly smooth, keep stirring! Patience is key. When needed, microwave a few more seconds and stir more.
- Too hard? Chocolate ganache does harden as it cools. To melt it again, microwave it for a few seconds and stir until you achieve the desired consistency.
- Seized ganache? Seized chocolate is when chocolate quickly turns from runny to stiff. This chocolate will not melt well. It may happen if the ganache comes into contact with any water, so don’t let even a drop of water into the bowl!
Where to Use Chocolate Ganache
Ganache is most known for being used to decorate cakes, but it doesn’t stop there. Here’s a list of delicious ways to serve this wonderful sauce.
- Cakes: While the ganache is still runny (but cool), use it in a cake. Spread a layer of ganache between cake layers, or use it to decorate the top. For a chocolate drip decoration, add 1/2 cup of the ganache to a piping bag or use a ziplock bag with a small cut in the corner to decorate the the edges of your cake. Pour and spread the remaining ganache on top of the cake. We love it on top of our bird’s milk cake and strawberry chocolate cake.
- Cupcakes: Once the ganache cools down and starts to harden, whip it until it becomes fluffy, about five minutes on high speed. Transfer to a piping bag and use it to decorate cupcakes. Chocolate ganache frosting works beautifully on top of our chocolate cheesecake cupcakes.
- Fruit/Cookie trays: Add a bowl of warm ganache to your fruit board with strawberries, raspberries, and bananas for dipping. Or, make it a dessert charcuterie board with an assortment of dip-able cookies or pastries like mushroom cookies, madeleine cookies or beignets.
- Chocolate truffles: After the ganache hardens, shape it into small balls (truffles). Then, roll in cocoa powder, coconut flakes, or crushed nuts.
- Sundaes: Pour warm chocolate ganache over vanilla ice cream for the perfect ice cream sundae.
Generally, chocolate ganache is safe at room temperature up to two days, but here are a few tips to keep it fresh for longer.
- Refrigerator: To store for up to a week, keep cooled ganache in an airtight container in the fridge. Before using, thaw it to room temperature on the counter. To melt it further, warm it in small increments in the microwave, stirring as needed.
- Freezer: To freeze for up to a month, place ganache in an airtight container and freeze. Thaw in the fridge, then on the counter when ready to use.
Why is my chocolate ganache grainy?
The ganache may be grainy because the chocolate has not melted properly. This may happen if the chocolate was not cut into small enough pieces or the cream wasn’t warm enough to melt the chocolate.
Where does chocolate ganache come from?
Ganache is said to have come from France when a baker’s assistant accidentally combined two ingredients together into a mixture resembling mud.
More Chocolate Fixin’s
- Chocolate Raspberry Truffles – Made with chocolate ganache and freeze-dried raspberries
- Chocolate Biscotti – Dessert biscuit with chocolate and chopped hazelnuts
- Peppermint Bark – A favorite holiday treat with chocolate and peppermint
- Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries – Decadent mousse with homemade raspberry juice and fresh raspberries
- Chocolate Salami – A meat-free log of cocoa, crushed biscuit, nuts, and more
- Date Snickers – A healthier version of the popular nougat candy.
- 8 oz chocolate
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Place chocolate in a glass bowl, then add heavy cream.
- Microwave for a minute, then remove from the microwave. Stir and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Continue stirring to melt the chocolate.
- If you still have lumps, place it in the microwave for 10-15 more seconds. Repeat until there are no lumps.
- Let it slightly cool for about 10 minutes before using. Enjoy!