Before I knew about chocolate ganache, I knew about the chocolate truffle.
I’m sure my first encounter with a truffle was plucked from a box of candy. But I know for sure my next encounter was at Panache Chocolatier in Kansas City. In my late teens, early twenties, they opened up on the Country Club Plaza. By that time, I was a chocoholic. And I was always on the search for phenomenal chocolate anything.
Panache had a Chocolate Lovers Club. In exchange for an annual fee, members came in once a month to taste a chocolate confection. And receive a discount on that item as well. One day, it was the chocolate truffles. At that time, they were square. I bit into it. The first layer was crisp chocolate with a dusting of cocoa that hit the roof of my mouth. Then came the soft chocolate center that dissolved on my tongue. Rich, deep, dark chocolate flavor.
Some years later, when I started baking, I came across a recipe for ganache. I need a glaze for a cake and discovered it. Just 2 simple ingredients. And when I tasted it, I knew immediately it was the foundation for CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES! And over time, I figured out Panache used Grand Marnier liquor in their truffles.
So the first ingredient in ganache is the chocolate. You want GOOD chocolate. This is a simple recipe with semisweet chocolate. Rich chocolate flavor with a bit of sweetness. And I generally use this Ghirardelli brand for flavor and another reason. See how thin the package is? The chocolate used for ganache is generally cut into slivers so the hot cream can penetrate the chocolate to melt it. With this Ghirardelli, I can break it up in its packaging. And avoid all of that chopping.
The hot cream is poured over the chocolate to melt it.
Do not, I repeat DO NOT, be tempted to IMMEDIATELY grab a spoon and eat this like a chocolate soup. You will pay for it later. However, you could however get a couple of scoops of ice cream and spoon some ganache on top.
But guess what else you can do with chocolate ganache. I took about a cup of ganache, chilled it and whipped it to make an icing. The ganache takes on a lighter shade and thickens. I spread the icing between two layers of chocolate cake. Then, I put the cake into the refrigerator to chill for a bit. Took it out and glazed it with the warm ganache. The cold temperature helps to set the icing quickly.
So, ganache is:
- a sauce for ice cream or any dessert (you can also give small jars as gifts)
- a whipped icing
- a cake glaze
- a base for chocolate truffles (I plan on a truffle making post for Valentine’s Day)
Hope you will make some ganache soon! Here’s the link to the recipe and instructions.