Hello, my name is Marc, and I am a chocoholic. Just ask my wife. I especially love dark chocolate. And if you are like me, then you will really love learning how to make dark chocolate ganache.
What is chocolate ganache? It’s a delicious mixture of chocolate melted with heavy cream. The basic steps to make ganache are chopping the chocolate, heating up the cream, pouring the cream over the cholate and letting it rest, and then stirring it all together. Use quality chocolate and you’ll have a delicious topping, filling, or dip for your next dessert.
Whether it’s to top a cupcake, coat a cake, or dip fruit in chocolate, ganache is one of my favorite things to make.
Chocolate is one of the world’s greatest gifts. And ganache is one of the best ways to serve it up. For this recipe, I use dark chocolate, but you may want to use semi-sweet chocolate instead. It really depends on how much you like that pure cocoa flavor vs the balanced sweetness of sugar.
I’ve realized that, although I’ve used chocolate creatively a few times (as in my chocolate chipotle chili con carne recipe), I do not have nearly enough chocolate-based recipes on the site. So that will need to be remedied.
For those of you looking to add chocolate to your dessert repertoire, here is the step-by-step recipe for how to make the best dark chocolate ganache you have ever had that is dark, flavorful, rich, and stable.
But First, A Celebration
I am so happy that this is the hundredth recipe that I have posted on the site. Hooray!
I knew I wanted to make ganache, because chocolate. But I also needed to be able to show it off a little bit. So I kindly asked my wife to make some macarons for me. And then I jumped in and topped them with some celebratory sprinkles and filled them with dark chocolate ganache.
And then I decided to try my hand at piping out a fun commemorative 100 in ganache to celebrate.
Please forgive my very poor piping abilities. I have not practiced much…
But that does not take away from my excitement about having one hundred recipes live on the site for the world to see! Thanks for enjoying them with me and being a part of it all. Here’s to a whole lot more recipes to come.
Ingredients for Making Dark Chocolate Ganache
Now, back to how to make dark chocolate ganache. Let’s go over the ingredients that make up a dark chocolate ganache.
First off, there is the chocolate itself. This ingredient is what gives the dessert its flavor. Next comes the cream. Cream adds richness to the chocolate, which is great. It also helps create a smooth texture, which is important for a ganache recipe. The final optional ingredient is butter. This can help add shine to the final results and make it a bit more spreadable, but adding it or not is really up to your own preference.
When making chocolate ganache, the most important ingredient to consider is the chocolate.
Dark chocolate contains cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and usually some sugar. Do not use bitter or unsweetened chocolate for this recipe. They contain zero sugar and will not taste good since there is no other sugar being added to the recipe.
Use a chocolate that you enjoy eating by itself. This will make sure that you will enjoy the final flavor of the ganache as well. Dark chocolate is typically classified as chocolate with 60% to 85% cocoa solids. Semi-sweet can usually range anywhere from 35% to 60% cocoa solids.
Make sure to choose high-quality dark or semi-sweet chocolate. Try out this Belgian-made chocolate, or this French-made chocolate. I have bought and used both of these chocolates and they are fantastic. For a cheaper option, you can use some semisweet chocolate chips or plain dark chocolate from your local store.
Heavy Whipping Cream
In the case of ganache, the cream helps change the texture of the chocolate and to stabilize everything. With the hot cream added, rested, and stirred properly, the ganache won’t separate.
So make sure to use heavy cream for a lusciously creamy ganache that will tantalize your taste buds.
Butter is an optional ingredient in ganache.
In addition to making the ganache rich and creamy, butter adds more of a shine to the final result. It will also affect the texture, making it a bit creamier and more stable – especially for making whipped ganache.
It’s your choice whether to add the butter to the ganache mixture or leave it out. If you choose to include it, add unsalted butter to the cream to melt before you pour it over the chocolate. If you do add butter, it’s best to add it in small amounts. Too much butter will make the ganache taste buttery. Which in itself isn’t that bad, but not if we are letting it overpower the pure chocolate flavor. Try a tablespoon or two in my 250-gram 1 to 1 ratio recipe.
The Process for How to Make Dark Chocolate Ganache
The process of making ganache is simple, and you don’t really need any fancy equipment to get started.
The most helpful kind of equipment would be a food scale. For this ganache recipe, I like to use a weight ratio of chocolate to cream to get a proper final result. It makes things more accurate than measuring by volume like using a cup.
However, there is no need to heat anything in a double boiler, and no candy thermometers are necessary to make the ganache.
Step 1 – Finely chop the chocolate
When learning how to make dark chocolate ganache, the first step is to finely chop the chocolate. You want to chop the chocolate into small pieces so that it will melt quickly and evenly. We will not be putting the chocolate itself over direct heat, so the hot cream will have to be able to melt it. So, chop the chocolate as finely as possible. If it’s too large, it won’t melt properly and the ganache will be grainy.
I started off my recipe with already small pieces of chocolate. Then I chopped them further to get even smaller pieces. You don’t need it to be chopped so much that it becomes chocolate dust. But aim for pieces no larger than when you would dice an onion.
Step 2 – Heat the cream
Next, you need to heat the cream. You want the cream to be hot enough that it will melt the chocolate. Simply measure out the cream and pour it into a saucepan over medium heat. Heat the cream until it’s just shy of boiling. If it begins to boil, then remove it from the heat and let it come to a rest before moving on to the next step.
If you are including any butter, stir it into the cream before pouring it over the chocolate.
Step 3 – Pour hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit
Slowly pour the cream over the chocolate.
When you pour the hot cream over the chocolate, it will start to melt the chocolate. Once you’ve poured the cream, you need to let it rest. It is tempting, but you should not yet stir together the cream and chocolate. Letting them sit together lets the cream heat the chocolate all the way through. If you don’t let it rest, the ganache will be grainy when you mix it together. It can be saved, but it is best to avoid it in the first place.
Let the cream sit with the chocolate for 7 to 10 minutes before going on to step 4.
Step 4 – Stir the cream and chocolate together
Once you’ve waited for the cream to heat the chocolate, you need to stir it into the cream. I recommend using a good silicone spatula to gently stir everything together. Stir it by hand to make sure that it is not mixed roughly.
Once it is mixed together you can use it immediately or let it cool depending on how you’d like to use it. If storing it for later, let it cool for a few minutes and then place it in the refrigerator for up to a week. The ganache will harden once it has cooled completely. So if you need it to be spreadable, set it out on the counter well before you need to use it so it can warm up.
Ratios for Making the Perfect Ganache
Chocolate ganache is a versatile and delicious addition to desserts. It’s typically used as a filling, frosting, or glaze. But how you plan to use it can affect the ratio you use to make it.
The thickness of your ganache will affect how you can use it. Thin, medium, and thick ganaches all have their own purposes. To make the different thicknesses, just adjust how many parts of cream are added based on the chocolate. All of the ratios are weight-based in my recipe.
Thin ganache is typically used as a glaze, icing, or drizzle.
If you plan to drizzle the ganache over a cake, a pie, or ice cream, you will want to make a thin ganache. This means that the mixture will be thin and spreadable. For the thin ganache, you’ll want to use a ratio of about 1:2, which means that the chocolate to cream ratio is 1 part chocolate to 2 parts cream.
A medium ganache is typically used as a filling, icing, or whipped ganache frosting.
Medium ganache is a bit thicker and has a consistency that’s more like a warm frosting. A medium ganache won’t be runny like a thin ganache but will still be fairly spreadable. Use it as a layer between cakes, as frosting on top of cupcakes, or whip it with a hand mixer to make a whipped ganache.
When you use medium ganache, you’ll want to make sure that the ratio of chocolate to cream is about 1:1.5, which means that the chocolate to cream ratio is 1 part chocolate to 1.5 parts cream.
Thick ganache is typically used as a frosting, filling, or as a base for truffles.
A thick ganache is the thickest possible and will harden into a bit more of a thicker chocolate layer. It won’t have the snap of a candy bar, but it isn’t quite as light as a typical icing.
You can use thick ganache as a frosting or as a topping for cakes or pies. Or use it as a filling in macarons or eclairs.
A thick ganache in my mind is the most common type of ganache. It is thick and full of luxuriously pure chocolate flavor.
When you use medium ganache, you’ll want to make sure that the ratio of chocolate to cream is about 1:1, which means that the chocolate to cream ratio is 1 part chocolate to 1 part cream.
What Is Dark Chocolate Ganache Used For?
While the rich, fudgy chocolate taste will be one of the main reasons for you to make chocolate ganache, there are other uses that can make it a go-to recipe. Use chocolate ganache to make a variety of sweets and confectionary items.
There are many uses for chocolate ganache, but the most popular one in my opinion is in a cake. Use it as a layer between cakes, or as a frosting on top of cakes or cupcakes. A thick ganache can be used to make a variety of delicious truffles.
Or try filling macarons as done in the photo below.
To make a whipped ganache, make the ganache according to the directions below. Then, after you have stirred it together, let it set a bit until it is a little less runny. When it is finally soft but not runny, whip it with a hand or stand mixer for a few minutes on high speed until it is fluffy.
I also recommend trying to use this ganache as a filling for homemade crepes. It is delicious.
Temperature for Using Ganache
The ratio of chocolate to cream is not the only thing affecting the texture of ganache and how you can use it. The temperature of your ganache will affect how thin, thick, pourable, and spreadable it is.
After you have made it, the ganache will be shiny and runny. You just have to cool it down to thicken it to your desired working temperature. Note that as it cools, it loses its shine.
- Warm and runny – Slightly cooled, use it as a dipping sauce, hot fudge, or as a pourable icing. If you want to pour or drizzle the ganache over a cake, pie, or pastry, it should be loose enough to flow but thickened enough not to simply run off whatever you pour it over. Cool any baked goods before pouring ganache or else it will just melt off. Because cooled ganache loses its shine, a mirror glaze can be used on top of a ganache for a nice shiny exterior.
- Almost room temperature – This is when it is most spreadable. It is best to use at this temperature as a spread between cake layers, put into a piping bag to decorate, or whipped into a ganache to be used as frosting.
- Fridge chilled – This temperature allows you to make truffles out of ganache. When refrigerated it will go from soft and malleable to very hard and un-stirable rather quickly. Use a cookie scoop to ball up the ganache and then roll it in whatever you’d like for truffle toppings. If you want something inside the truffles, mix it in before cooling the ganache.
Fixing Ganache Misfires
Everyone’s done it. I did it while making a batch for this post. Sometimes ganache gets messed up in the process. Chocolate can be quite temperamental.
But do not throw away your questionable-looking chocolate concoction just yet. There may be a way to fix it.
If you have a grainy ganache or it looks like oil is separating out of it while stirring, then you may not have waited long enough to begin mixing. This may or may not be the mistake I most often encounter. Something about patience. But the fix for me was simple enough. Heat between 1/4 and 1/2 a cup more heavy cream in the microwave until it begins steaming. Then pour it into your grainy/separated ganache. Let it sit for at least 30 seconds and then stir it together.
If the chocolate is still chunky and not melted, then you may not have chopped it small enough or gotten the cream hot enough. Transfer the ganache to a microwave-safe bowl if it isn’t already in one. Then heat the ganache for 15-second intervals, while stirring briefly between each interval. Repeat until everything is melted and the ganache is smooth. Move to 30-second intervals if it is not melting with the 15 seconds.
How did yours turn out?
I’d love to hear when you try making dark chocolate ganache! Take a pic of your food and share your success with me by adding it to your Instagram stories or feed, and tagging me @doyouroux, or by using #doyouroux.
Plus, leave a rating to let me know how you liked the recipe. It helps me out a lot to know how things worked out… or didn’t.
Dark Chocolate GanacheCourse: DessertDifficulty: Intermediate
Learn how to make dark chocolate ganache in just four steps with a few simple ingredients. Get dark, flavorful, rich, and stable results every time.
250 grams dark chocolate
250 grams heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
- Finely chop the chocolate and place it in a large, heat-safe bowl, and set it aside
- Add the cream to a saucepan over medium heat and warm it up until just before it begins to boil, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn’t scald
- Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for seven to ten minutes so the cream can warm the chocolate
- Gently stir the cream and chocolate together until all of the chocolate is melted and there are no lumps, use it, wait for it to come to the desired working temperature, or store it in the fridge for up to a week
- If you have stored it in the fridge, make sure to set it out well before you plan on using it so it can warm up to a working temperature
Get recipes like this straight to your inbox: