Let’s start our discussion with a short video for Chocolate Ganache with milk using the microwave method.
Chocolate Ganache is one of my all time favorite frosting. It is so easy to make, with only 2 ingredients and it taste so heavenly good! Chocolate Ganache is normally made by melting chopped chocolates with hot cream. I don’t usually have cream (35% fat) stocked in my fridge unless my main recipe calls for it. Since I do not have much use for cream, I try to avoid buying it, or at least I find substitute for it, just like when making Chocolate Ganache with flooding or pourable consistency. If you do have heavy cream, then go ahead and use it instead of milk.
Milk is one thing that I most often have on hand. I used this as a replacement to make Chocolate Ganache and it works perfect for me. It doesn’t harden a much as when cream is used, but I am ok with it and I like the taste and consistency anyways. Although, when I need a Chocolate Ganache for piping, then I would use a cream to make it, as piping Ganache needs to be softer and fluffier and cream does that when you start beating the Ganache after few hours of rest.
This is a small batch recipe, if you need a larger batch, just double or triple the recipe. I used 1/4 cup of chocolate as the starting point, just increase it in increments of 1/4 to make it a larger batch. Also, depending on where you are going to use it, you may need adjust the consistency. Add milk in the increments of 1 tsp at a time. You can use this Ganache to frost a cake like my Simple Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Quinoa Cake or for drizzling it like my Mocha Chiffon Cake, for dipping just like my Orange Biscotti and Churros or for flooding top of cupcakes like my Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting.
Important Note: This ganache has a flooding consistency, when you want a simple decadent pourable frosting on top of your cakes, cupcakes, for dipping cookies, and spreading and more. This consistency is NOT suitable for whipping when you like to create a light and fluffy decorative design like flowers on top of cakes and cupcakes, you will need to use whipped cream for that. You can still pipe it and use for decorations once it hardens, but the texture will be thicker than lighter. You need to leave it at room temperature about 3-4 hours. Check every hour to check the consistency as it time it requires to solidify depends in the temperature in your working area. If you decide to put it in the refrigerator to speed up the process, check after every 15 minutes as it will solidify faster. If you need to re-heat it, microwave for 5 seconds (small batch or double batch of the measurement mentioned here). The re-heating depends on how large the batch you are working on.
- 1.8 ounces (50 grams) or approximately 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate/dark chocolate chips or chopped (I used Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kisses ). For even better result, use a block chocolate and chopped it into small pieces. Block chocolates tends to melt faster and smoother as compared to chocolate chips, as chocolate chips are designed to how their shape.
- Starting point: 1 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp milk (You can also use almond milk, skim milk or powdered milk and dilute it in water) The consistency of this ganache is still slightly thick just a good starting point. If you want thinner ganache, add more milk 1 tsp at a time.
Note: I am not endorsing any brand, you can use any brand that you like. The links are just to give you idea of what I used for the recipe.
This method is good for both small and large batch of chocolate ganache. For larger batch, you have to return the chocolate back and forth in the microwave until the chocolate is melted. Either chocolate chips or chopped chocolate will work for this method.
- Add milk to chopped chocolates or chocolate chips and microwave for 30 seconds interval (if you are making a large batch). Remove and stir after every 30 seconds. Repeat the process until the chocolate is fully melted. If you need to return it to the microwave couple of time, be sure to do it in short internal, normally depending of how much more you need to melt it. Some chocolate chips tend to melt faster, and others don’t depending on the brand and type (dark or milk). I noticed that milk chocolate and white chocolate tends to melt faster than dark chocolate. If your ganache is too runny, just add more chocolate. If your ganache is to thick, add 1 tsp of milk at a time. If you want the ganache to drip on the sides of the cake, pour the ganache while it is still warm. If you want it to be spreadable, cover and let sit for 15 minutes in room temperature to slightly set to allow ganache to thicken a little bit.
Water Bath (Bain Marie) Method:
This method is more suitable for large batch of chocolate ganache, although can also be used for small batch. Either chocolate chips or chopped chocolate will work for this method but chopped chocolate will melt faster.
- Place the chopped chocolate and butter (1 tsp of butter for every 1/4 cup chocolate) in a heatproof bowl.
- Place over a saucepan of simmering water (NOT boiling). Make sure to have the heat in the lowest possible setting so that the water will not got to boiling point. Gently stir continuously until chocolate is melted and has a smooth consistency.
- Gradually pour milk/cream and stir until consistency becomes smooth.
- Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature to slightly thicken. If you want the ganache to drip on the sides of the cake, pour the ganache while it is still warm. If you want it to be spreadable, cover and let sit for 15 minutes in room temperature to slightly set to allow ganache to thicken a little bit.
Stove Top Method:
This method is good for both small and large batch of chocolate ganache. It is best to use chopped chocolates rather than chocolate chips for this method as chocolate chips requires hotter liquid to melt it. If the entire batch is not yet fully melted and smooth and you really don’t want to use microwave, put the bowl over simmering water and stir until melted (bain marie method) or transfer into a pan and melt in a VERY low heat. This is the downside of this method which make this my least favorite among the three.
- Pour milk into a pan and bring milk into a simmer. Turn off the stove once the side of the pan starts to create small bubbles, you don’t want the water to be in a boiling point.
- Transfer chocolate in a mixing bowl. Pour hot milk, cover and leave for 5 minutes without stirring it.
- After 5 minutes, remove the cover and gently stir until chocolate is melted. If you want the ganache to drip on the sides of the cake, pour the ganache while it is still warm. If you want it to be spreadable, cover and let sit for 15 minutes in room temperature to slightly set to allow ganache to thicken a little bit.
- Alternatively, you can also directly transfer the chop chocolate in the pan with hot milk. This is best recommended if you are using chocolate chips so that the extra heat in the pan can help the chocolate melt faster. Turn off the heat, cover for 5 minutes then gently stir until chocolate is melted. If the chocolate are still not fully melted, turn on the stove on a VERY low heat just enough to fully melt the chocolate. Do not cook on high heat as it could make the chocolate dry.
Good to know:
- Milk is just a substitution for heavy whipping cream. If you have cream, use cream instead. If using cream, the measurement will be different, normally you will need more cream than when using milk. Adjust as necessary.
- The time it takes for the ganache to get thick is affected by the humidity and temperature in your working area. The 15 minutes suggested time is what normally works with the temperature in my kitchen.
- The less milk/cream you add, the more solid it will be as it sits while it cools down. If you want it soft and lighter, add more milk/cream.
The chocolate ganache could get really thick if left for a long time at room temperature, and normally that consistency is something that can be used to apply a thin layer of initial coating (crumb coating) before applying the main coating. It can also be used to spread of top of cup cakes or brownies, almost like Nutella but thicker (depending on how much milk you add).
How to Store Chocolate Ganache
I’ve tried to leave the ganache overnight at room temperature when I want to make it ahead of time. The consistency will be as shown in the photo, it’s thick and it solidified a lot. Normally, ganache can be left 2-3 days at room temperature then after that it is recommended to store it in the refrigerator. If it solidifies too much for your intended use, simply microwave it for about 5 seconds, and repeat the process until you get the consistency that you need, but remember not to microwave it for a long period one time. Do it in several interval so that you can monitor the consistency and texture.
Heavy Whipping Cream Instead of Milk
Feel Like Using a Heavy Whipping Cream Instead? I have a separate post on How To Make Classic Chocolate Ganache. This post has a lot more additional information on where you can use it and what ratio you need to use depending on the consistency that you like. Check it out.
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