Basic Chocolate Ganache
Basic Chocolate Ganache
(Or Not So Basic But Very Elegant French Truffles)
This recipe makes the basic chocolate ganache to fill chocolate shells. It can also be chilled and handrolled to make French Truffles.
1 lb. chocolate* (about 3 C.)
2 T. butter, preferably unsweetened
1 C. whipping cream
Optional: Cocoa (for rolling French Truffles)**
1. Place chocolate and butter in microwave safe bowl (you will not be microwaving it, but sometimes the chocolate doesn’t melt and needs to be zapped about ten to twenty seconds).
2. Heat whipping cream on stove or in microwave until piping hot but not boiling.
3. Pour hot cream over chocolate, let sit for a few minutes, then stir.
When chocolate has melted, stir until well blended (some chocolatiers, such as Norman Love, use an emulsion blender because they believe it produces a finer ganache).
If using as a ganache, when it begins reaching room temperature, it can be piped into chocolate shells, spread on cake or other baked goods, or smeared on anything you have a craving to lick. If you want to roll French Truffles, read on:
- Chill for about twenty to thirty minutes, and while chilling, put some cocoa on a plate, one of those disposable Styrofoam things that came with a steak (my favorite because it can be tossed away when done, but be sure it’s been washed with soap and water!), or some such thing. Make a space for the chocolate, set the plate of cocoa to the right of it (with more cocoa within reach), and a plate for setting the finished truffles next to it.
2. Remove the ganache from the refrigerator and put it in its place.
3. Dip your hands in the cocoa, and using a spoon, two spoons, melon baller or spring-release cookie scoop, scoop about a tablespoon or so, roll into a ball between your cocoa-covered palms, and plop into the cocoa. Repeat until you have several coated truffles sitting in the cocoa.
4. Roll the plopped truffles around in the cocoa, then roll them once more between your palms so they look a bit nicer, and place gently on the plate. Repeat the whole process until your truffles are done.
Problems and Solutions
If the chocolate doesn’t completely melt after the cream has been poured and starts to cool, just place in the microwave for ten to twenty seconds, stir, and repeat if necessary.
Wear latex gloves (preferably black, from beauty shops or porn shops) to keep your hands and truffles cleanest.
If the cocoa coating disappears before you have chance to eat them, just re-roll in more cocoa and no one will ever know.
If you have more than you can use, store the leftover ganache in freezer bags or disposable pastry bags, label with contents and date, and freeze. Then just thaw, squish around between your fingers to remix any cream that has separated, snip the end and pipe.
Try confectioner’s sugar for coating your hands, and roll in the cocoa. It’s not as messy and you may find it works better.
And remember, the truffles (or ganache) will only be as good as the chocolate you use to make them, so get the very best you can.
Got Chocolate Chips?
If you have a 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips, use 2/3 C. cream and a heft tablespoon of butter. Be sure to use the best quality chocolate chips, the better the chocolate that goes into it, the better the chocolates you get out of it!
The cream can be infused with spices, herbs or teas for flavored truffles, booze can be added for an extra kick (2-3T, but decrease cream by same amount), and various preserves, jams, or syrups added. Here are some of my favorites:
Pomegranate Truffles Add 2 – 3 T. pomegranate molasses (available in Middle Eastern stores, high end grocery stores such as Whole Foods, or on-line; quality varies, so use 2T., taste, add another tablespoon if necessary.
Mocha Truffles Add 1 tsp. espresso powder to hot cream.
Rose Truffles Add 1 tsp. rose water – taste and add more if necessary.
Bittersweet Orange Truffles Use a bittersweet or dark chocolate, add a few drops of Orange Oil. Orange oil is not the same as orange extract – it is very concentrated, and more than a few drops and you’ll feel like your throat is on fire. But just a few drops and you’ll never use extract again – very rich and delicious.
Rooibus Chai Truffles I’ve only used milk chocolate for this recipe, so I don’t know how well it works with the darks, but it is always the first to disappear when I make it. Steep about 2 T. rooibus in with the cream. If it is already very spicy, you might want to just leave it at that, but I usually add a cinnamon stick or two (or instant cinnamon), some ginger and cardamom. Use about 2 T. more cream, because when you strain it, you’ll lose some. Let it steep a good long while, maybe twenty minutes, then strain into a microwave-proof bowl or measuring cup, squeezing as much of the cream out as you can. After making the truffles, instead of rolling in cocoa, roll in a mixture of toasted coconut (just toast in a cast iron skillet on the stove) and crushed almonds.
Mint Like the bittersweet orange, for this one you’ll use a bittersweet or dark chocolate and mint oil – not extract. Can be rolled in crushed peppermint or candy canes if you’d like, but serve immediately if you do or they’ll melt. But if it’s Christmas and you can roll just before serving, the crushed candy canes are a beautiful pink and the crunch is quite nice.