Chocolate ganache, that amazing chocolate concoction we use for everything from filling truffles to glazing cakes to topping already decadent rich chocolate brownies, is quite simple to make at home. Knowing how to make chocolate ganache — be thick ganache (think: the filling for a truffle) or thin and silky (think: drizzled over a pound cake) — requires understanding just two things: proportion and temperature.
Ganache, which looks and tastes as elegant as it sounds, is the simple process of introducing finely chopped chocolate to very warm cream, waiting a few minutes for the chocolate to melt, and then stirring until it blends together and you can no longer resist licking the spoon.
Though the process is simple, there are two things here that you need to understand.
The chocolate ganache that you roll into truffles calls for the same ingredients — and almost the same process — as the ganache you use to glaze your cakes. The important difference: the proportion of cream to chocolate. Glazes and icings will require a thinner consistency which translates to a higher percentage of cream. A thicker glaze for frosting or for rolling into truffles needs to be stiffer, so the chocolate percentage is higher.
Just when you thought you understood all of that, we’re actually taking the chocolate and instead substituting Nutella. It’s cruel, we know.
Chocolate Ganache Proportions
Based on weight and a 1:1 ratio (or 4 ounces chocolate to 4 ounces cream), these are the proportions for various types of chocolate ganache.
- Layer cake filling and thick glaze: 1:1, equal parts chocolate and cream.
- Chocolate truffles: 2:1, two parts chocolate to one part cream.
- Soft icing and pourable glaze: 1:2, one part chocolate to two parts cream.
Temperature and Timing
When you heat the cream on the stovetop, you don’t need to let it reach a boil, but just become hot enough to melt the chocolate (or in this case, Nutella). Chop your chocolate, or in the case of Nutella, add it a spoonful at a time so that it melts creamy and easily.
It’s important too, that you use your ganache while it’s at the right temperature for whatever you’re making. A still-warm ganache will pour easily over a cake and form a glaze. If it’s too warm, though, it may be too loose and if it’s too cool, it will be too stiff to pour. At the end of the day, this one requires some judgment call. Keep an eye on your ganache and be ready to use it in the appropriate window. If it has cooled and stiffened too much, you can always reheat it over a double-boiler or in a bowl atop a pot of simmering water until it reaches the proper consistency.
This ganache is the perfect consistency for glazing a cake, drizzling over your favorite chocolate brownie recipe or for spicing up vanilla ice cream. If you’ve never made ganache before, aim for the glaze consistency, since you can always heat it back up if it becomes to thick but if it’s too runny, it’s trickier to fix.
- ¾ cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread (about half a jar)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
- Place the nutella into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil and pour over the nutella. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the sea salt and brandy, if desired.
- Let the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake, cupcakes or ice cream. If you're using it to top a cake, start at the center and work outward.