What Is Ganache? – How to Make Chocolate Ganache – The Pioneer Woman

If you’re a dessert lover, especially if you like chocolate, there’s just something about ganache that probably sends you into a tizzy. You read chocolate dessert recipes or spot the word on a dessert menu, and your mind immediately thinks of thick, creamy, luxurious chocolate. It’s classic pure decadence, after all!

But what is ganache, exactly? Without getting too deep into the science, ganache is simply an emulsion of chocolate and liquid, the most common of which is heavy cream . The addition of liquid is what makes the chocolate stay relatively soft at room temperature, making it extremely versatile for a variety of baking applications. It makes a perfect chocolates glaze or drip on a cake when it’s in a liquid form or a delicious dense alternative to frosting when cooled and whipped, and it’s the creamy center of chocolate truffles and other confections.

what is ganache

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What makes a ganache?

If you look up how to make chocolate ganache , you will probably see the most classic ganache recipe which equal parts chocolate to heavy cream. The cream is heated to a simmer (boiling will make it bubble over! ), poured over the chocolate, and then the mixture is whisked or stirred to create a glossy, creamy emulsion. Yum.

Pro tip: When making ganache, start in the center of the bowl and start whisking in small circles. Gradually increase the size of your circles as you whisk until you reach the particular sides of the bowl. This will help ensure that an emulsion is created. If you’ve ever seen the grainy or dull ganache, that means it’s not fully emulsified. You are looking for pure glossy goodness.

But here is where it gets fun: The liquid doesn’t have be cream. You can swap some of it to a spirit like cognac or exchange to a non-dairy beverage like oat milk. You can even make it with water! Many quality recipes will also include additions such as butter or corn syrup to create a different texture or even thickness, depending on the application. And of course, you can change up the ratio of chocolate to liquid. Logically, the more liquid you add, the thinner and more liquid the end ganache will be. If you aren’t super experienced with understanding different ingredients and ratios, the best thing to do is find and follow a recipe as stated first to get a sense of the end result.

what is ganache

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What does ganache taste like?

It’s easy to say that ganache tastes like creamy chocolate. Well, if it’s the classic bittersweet chocolate and cream combination, of course it does! But , if you change the liquid, that can alter the flavor. Using coconut milk will give it a hint of that telltale tropical flavor for example , and a strong spirit like rum will give it a nice kick. And of course, you can switch up the types of chocolate you use like milk chocolate or white dark chocolate . Ganaches respond really well to spices like cinnamon. You can also infuse flavors into the liquid. All of these ideas will alter the flavors, but at the end of the day, the predominant taste will be the chocolate that you use.

Does ganache harden or stay soft?

When ganache is first emulsified, it will be mostly water. As it cools to space temperature, it will start to thicken but remain soft. As mentioned before, the more liquid in the recipe, the softer it will be. But the classic one-to-one percentage will result in a dense, soft paste texture when fully cooled to room temperature.

In case you put that same ganache in the refrigerator, it will solidify substantially. It will never be quite as hard as solid chocolate, but more like a dense fudge consistency. Removing it and allowing it to sit out at area temperature again for a little while will soften it back up. This is ideal if you want to whip it for filling a cake or rolling balls for truffles, for example. Just remember that if you use dairy in your recipe, anything with ganache should be refrigerated for storage (assuming you don’t eat it all in one sitting, of course! ).