baking 101: ganache

I’ve been baking and cooking for over 25 years, and the most important lesson I’ve learned is this:

If you can master what I call “the basics”, then you will have an arsenal of techniques that will allow you to tackle almost any recipe with confidence.

Now I’m not talking fancy French cooking, or international dishes that require an arm’s length worth of exotic ingredients. And by “basics” I don’t mean making puff pastry from scratch (though I may teach you how to make your own mayonnaise).

No – I’m talking about building blocks that you will refer to again and again in your everyday cooking and baking, as well as times that call for something extra special.

First up? Ganache.

ganache truffles

Ganache is, hands down, THE multi-tasker in the kitchen. With just a few (simple) ingredients, minimal time and zero special equipment, you’ve got the base for THREE different recipes – a glaze, a frosting or some heavenly truffles. And with Valentine’s Day approaching, what could be better?

And I’d love to know: what basics would you like to learn more about? Share here!

ganache truffles

ganache truffles

ganache truffles

Ganache (from Martha Stewart)


  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (about 61% cacao)
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1/8 t. kosher salt


  1. Coarsely chop the chocolate; place in a large bowl. Heat the cream over medium-high heat till just boiling. Immediately pour over chocolate; add salt and let sit for 10 minutes (do not stir). Whisk until smooth, shiny and completely emulsified. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to collect any chocolate that may have settled. Use as follows:
  2. Warm ganache for glaze: Set your cooled cake (or cupcakes) on a rack set over a baking sheet, to catch the drips. Pour the warm ganache over the cake, letting it run down the sides. Let sit for 15 minutes and transfer to a cake plate or stand to finish setting (about three hours at room temperature – you can refrigerate it if you need to speed things up, but the glaze won’t be as shiny).
  3. And by all means, don’t discard those drips! Scrape them up and save them! For what, you ask? Well for starters you can re-melt and: Pipe it into jam-filled tartlet shells. Spoon it over ice cream. Stir it into warm milk for a decadent hot chocolate.
  4. Room temperature ganache for frosting: Let ganache cool for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring frequently. Beat on medium-high speed for 2-4 minutes, or till pale and fluffy. Use as a frosting or filling for cupcakes, whoopie pies or layer cakes.
  5. Chilled ganache for truffles: Transfer warm ganache to a small bowl or loaf pan – refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours (or overnight). Using a small ice cream or melon scoop, scoop out chilled ganache and form into balls with the palms of your hands (slightly dampened hands prevent sticking). Roll truffles in unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, tapping off the excess. Place each truffle in a mini baking cup and chill (can be made up to four days in advance).
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