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April 19, 2013

Adios, Nutella™; HELLO, Ganache!

Quixotic Ganache: My New Favorite
Sorry, Nutella™ fans, but it was time for me to kick that jar straight to the curb. Nutella™ was too one-note for me; her chocolatey hazelnut goodness just became too ho-hum; I needed a multi-tasker; I needed chocolatey goodness that could stand up to my chocolate moods. I needed ganache.

Ganache is easy to make, requires only two ingredients--chocolate and heavy cream--and can be used as a poured icing, cooled and whipped as a decadent frosting, or chilled and shaped into truffles and rolled in cocoa powder, nuts, cookie crumbs, you name it. One of the other fabulous things about ganache is that if you make it the right consistency, meaning the right ratio of chocolate to cream, then it's spreadable right from the fridge. This isn't just good news, this is the kind of news that makes any chocolate lover jump high into the air and kick their heels for good measure.

Spreadable ganache goes everywhere you're cravings lead you--slathered over toasted French bread, thickly sandwiched between sheets of graham crackers, or a pair of chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies; I even put a few spoonfuls in a container, heat it in the microwave until it melts, then pour it over scraps of cake, fresh berries or a scoop of ice cream. Maybe even all three!

Ganache is like the perfect black dress; I can dress it up or dress it down; it has a long refrigeration shelf-life, so when Mr. B looks up at me with those dreamy brown eyes and asks, "What's for dessert?" I'm never stumped for a response. With a container of ganache, a few items from the pantry and a little bit of creativity, I can conjure up an array of delicious, chocolatey desserts. Take that, Nutella™.



Ganache

Chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces, or, use chocolate chips
Heavy cream (organic is the best)

Depending on the consistency you want, you will need to adjust accordingly. For a thinner, poured icing, use more cream in the cream chocolate ration; for my spreadable recipe, I use 10 ounces of cream and 12 ounces of chocolate.

1. Heat cream until very hot and just bubbling, in the microwave.
2. While cream is heating, put chocolate into a glass bowl.
3. When cream is heated, pour hot cream over chocolate; let sit for 20 seconds, then with a wooden spoon, incorporate the milk into the chocolate as the chocolate melts; continue to stir until smooth and glistening.
4. You can use this immediately to pour over a cake or cupcakes; it will thicken as it chills. Otherwise, put in a bowl with a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator.

*If you're feeling daring, you can infuse the cream with any flavor you'd like even something like rosemary or chili or even orange zest. You can also add flavoring to the chocolate and cream, such as a few spoonfuls of brandy or Kahlua™ or Bailey's Irish Cream™, or a teaspoon of good vanilla extract.

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