Kitchen Tips: Why Everyone Needs to Make a Batch of Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate is a potion…a magical potion.

A potion that makes many people believe that a day without chocolate is not a day worth living.

A bit extreme?  Maybe…

But chocolate is truly an elixir that has been luring us into it’s silky sweet hands for a long time.

I mean, you can do so much with it!  Baking with chocolate to create sweet treats, like these sugar topped chocolate scones with a few peanut butter chips mixed in for good measure, is a given, right?

But you can also cook with chocolate.  Have you ever had mole? This Mexican sauce made of spicy hot chilies and silky rich chocolate is a food lovers dream!!

Last week when I was thinking about all the things that we use chocolate for (I’ve even used it in a facial scrub), I realized there was a blog post waiting to be written…all about chocolate!

I did an event a few months ago and part of the menu was a peach dessert that was slathered in chocolate ganache.  There was so much food that the chocolate ganache (although thoroughly enjoyed) wasn’t used up.

Being the frugal cook that I am (have you seen all of my tips on the blog about using up ingredients in unique ways instead of throwing things away?), I looked at that big bowl of silky goodness and thought’ “what can I do with this??”.

My first (and obvious) thought was to make truffles with the remainder…

But now I had a ton of truffles!  I love chocolate but unless I intend on buying a whole new wardrobe because my diet for the next few weeks will consist of chocolate truffles, I had to figure out what to do with all of these cute little balls of goodness.  I decided that I was going to try and freeze them to see what would happen.  I “flash froze” them (put them on a cookie sheet and IQF – individually quick froze them…once they are frozen, I popped them into a large freezer bag and tucked them away for a rainy day…or a day that required tylenol and chocolate).

Well, that day came (I have them often!!) so I grabbed two truffles from the freezer and had them as a midnight treat.

Okay, can I tell you that I think I deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for this?  I mean, I think I could manage to lower the divorce rate if everyone has a stash of these in the freezer.

Honestly…

I was visiting a friend the next day so I thought, “let me see what these look like when I cover them in different toppings”…

In my pantry I found the following…

shredded sweetened coconut….pine nuts (uhhhh yum), Skor pieces (uhhhhh double yum) and crushed Frosted Flakes (uuuuhhh triple yum)…

 

So, I pulled the truffles out of the freezer and rolled them in the things I found in my pantry…

I mean, come on!!!! How cute are they???

Next up on the chocolate agenda….figuring out if we can make “chocolate molten lava cake stress” a thing of the past!

FYI…oh yes we can!!

If you make a batch of my chocolate zucchini bread, and pop a frozen truffle into the middle of it, you will have instant chocolate molten lava cake… without the stress of knowing whether it will “flow” or not!!!

See???

And slather some extra on the top while you’re at it!!

I baked off some of the chocolate zucchini bread in small loaf pan tins and had another idea…

What if I topped a regular piece of cake (chocolate zucchini cake in this case) with some ice cream?  What if I had guests drop by and I had nothing for dessert? I would be mortified!!

So I sliced up a piece of chocolate zucchini bread and put it in the microwave for 10 seconds (because it’s all about the mouthfeel…remember that you want to excite people’s senses so if you’re serving ice cream with cake, the cake should be warm), topped it with some good quality vanilla ice cream and then melted a couple of truffles (which, in essence, becomes chocolate ganache again) and drizzled it over top!  Any friend who stops by and gets this as dessert will sign over their inheritance to you!!

While you’re at it, make some chocolate s’more sandwiches (graham crackers sandwiched with vanilla ice cream and then dipped in chocolate ganache – yup, melted truffles – and then topped with some marshmallow full that you can torch if you are so inclined)!

Can you say “I have died and gone to chocolate heaven”???

If you are that person who scoops cookie dough and bakes it as you need it (if you aren’t that person, you should be!!!), then bake off some cookies, slather some chocolate ganache (you guessed it – melted frozen  truffles) on the cookies, roast a giant marshmallow and squish the living marshmallows out of it…

You are SO welcome!!

And, yes, I would be remiss if I didn’t interject some coffee into all of this chocolate goodness, right?

Place a truffle into the bottom of a coffee cup and microwave it for about 30 seconds; proceed to brew a cup of coffee over your melted chocolate and you will have a drink to soothe all of your troubles.

Have I given you enough reason to make up a batch of chocolate ganache?

Make some up…play with it…freeze it…give it away….

But the thing you ABSOLUTEY have to do is tell me how you have brought more happiness into this world with your chocolate inventions!!

Ingredients

  • 1 litre whipping cream
  • 8 cups semi sweet/milk chocolate

Instructions

  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces so that it will melt quickly in the hot cream (you can also use chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate); place it in a medium bowl.

  2. Put the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Alternatively, you can heat it in the microwave until it starts to bubble (it should be hot but not boiling)

  3. Pour the hot cream over the bowl of chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes - depending on how hot your milk is, you might want to wait up to 5 minutes (waiting allows the hot cream to melt the chocolate but also brings down the temperature of the cream...if you mix it while the cream is too hot could cause the ganache to break, resulting in some grittiness).

  4. Once you have waited a bit, put your whisk in the middle of the bowl and whisk in a small circle slowly moving outward, slowly making bigger circles (this ensures that you are slowly incorporating the cream into the chocolate, creating an emulsion and ensures a silky smooth ganache).

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