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Chocolate Bliss

April 11, 2010

I love chocolate.  Not like Mrs. Fussy loves chocolate, but I love it all the same.  She loves chocolate in the way that I have to hide my chocolate from her.  When the mood strikes, my better half can devour mass quantities of the stuff.

On the other hand, I prefer to savor it.

I’ll take a little nibble.  I will let a morsel melt on my tongue.  A good quality chocolate bar could last me weeks.  Except for when it suddenly disappears from the drawer, and then I know that Mrs. Fussy has struck again.

It is amazing that I haven’t talked much about chocolate over the course of the past year.  Sure, there was the post on chocolate malts, and around Halloween I talked about my favorite candy.

But since I recently started talking about my sweeter side, I knew that the deep well of chocolate love wasn’t far behind.  When I made the Florentine cookies, one of the secret weapons for beating the bakers was a chocolate ganache filling.  And I also realized that I had mentioned ganache in one of my very earliest posts on how I hate s’mores.

What I haven’t done is tell you how wonderful and easy it is to make the stuff.

Ganache is one of the best things you can do with high quality chocolate.

I was watching Young Master Fussy walk around the other day melting a Callebaut semisweet chip in his hand, so that he could lick up the runny chocolate from his fingers.  Ganache is just like that but maybe a tad bit more refined.

You simply heat together equal amounts of cream and chocolate – about eight ounces of each.  After mixing them together in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium high heat, you add a bit of flavoring – about a tablespoon.  And then chill.

The chocolate mixture will get firmer the colder it gets.  But when it warms up in your hands, or on your tongue, it melts on contact, providing more sensuous pleasure than just chocolate alone.

For a thicker ganache add less cream next time, or add more chocolate.  For a thinner ganache, add more cream.  If you are impatient, and want your ganache to cool right away, pour the finished mixture into a bowl, and place the bowl in an ice bath.  Then just whisk until cool and firm.

How you choose to flavor the ganache is up to you.  Vanilla extract is classic, but rum, brandy or some other liqueur can be added too.  If you wanted to get really fancy, you could infuse your cream with some flavoring before you began.  Simmer it with a cinnamon stick, brew some whole leaf chai tea, black peppercorns, or star anise.  The only limit is your creativity.

In the past when I made this, I would just put it in a covered bowl in the refrigerator, and eat it by the spoonful.  This proved to be too tempting a treat for Mrs. Fussy, who subsequently banished bowlfuls of ganache from our household.

Besides being eaten out of hand, ganache can be used as a frosting or a filling.  Since I don’t bake, I generally think of ganache in terms of chocolate truffles.

I’ve never gotten around to tempering chocolate, or working with more delicate couvertures.  For someone who tends to obsess about details, it seems a bit overwhelming.  But homemade truffles do not have to be as fancy as what you might buy at L.A. Burdick and La Maison du Chocolat.

If you can roll ganache into balls, and dust with cocoa or roll in chopped nuts, you will make delicious truffles.  And I guarantee they will be better than those things Lindt makes.

Easy peasy.

And don’t forget, only 12 more days to vote in the Times Union Best of the Capital Region poll.  Here is the ballot that I have submitted, for your consideration.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2010 10:34 am

    I appreciate a good ganache. I’ve only ever done them with dark chocolate, but I imagine a white chocolate ganache would be borderline dangerous for me.

  2. Ellen Whitby permalink
    April 11, 2010 3:45 pm

    You let Young Master Fussy walk around with chocolate melting in his hand?!!?

    Infusing the flavor into the cream is the way to go. Depending on the flavoring you would either add it right to the cream while heating it until just about simmering (like for liqueur) or you would heat the cream until just about simmering then turn off the heat, put in the flavoring and cover with plastic wrap for a few minutes (for a hint of flavor) or for longer (for a stronger flavor). You’d want to use the steeping method for coffee beans, vanilla beans (that have been slit open the long way), citrus peel, etc. When you’re done steeping, remove the plastic (an important first step), reheat the cream (to just about simmering) and pour the cream through the strainer over the chocolate, which has been finely chopped. And if you’ve used vanilla, before you reheat, use a knife to scrape the tiny beans out of the pod back into the cream.


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