Chocolate Making 101: Chocolate Ganache

Last Tuesday at 6 pm, Heather and I ventured to the production facility of Cocoa Dolce. Cocoa Dolce is a Wichita-based artisan chocolate retailer owned and operated by Beth Tully, Master Chocolatier.

As we walked into the beautiful, colorful, sweet-smelling, Sarah-has-never-been-more-jealous kitchen, we were greeted with cute little aprons, a folder full of materials, and Beth’s assistant who instantly said: “red wine, or white?” (Heather = red, Sarah = white.)

Hence began the girly giggling, oh.em.gee-ing, and more-wine-requesting.

In Chocolate Making 101, we were told from the getgo that we were lucky to be there. Beth originally listed 3 classes, able to hold 12 students apiece, and all three classes were sold out within 12 hours (having guessed this may be the case, both Heather and I registered within an hour of the announcement.) Beth was forced to add an additional 2 classes, and there are still 25 people on a waiting list.

So yes, we were lucky to be there. We will also be lucky to attend Chocolate Making 102, open only to attendees of 101. We will also be registering for that within an hour of the announcement. Maybe half-hour, this time.

In Chocolate 101, we reviewed everything from the history and cultivation of chocolate, to three methods for tempering chocolate, to how to properly taste chocolate, to what sort of ingredients make the best chocolate. We also made our own ganache (the creamy filling in the center of a truffle) and then rolled this beautiful ganache in a chocolate coating, immediately followed by the topping of our choice (toasted coconut, crushed pecans, etc.)

Chocolate Making 101 – in addition to being perhaps one of the most fun cooking events/classes that I’ve ever attended – left me with so much knowledge and confidence. Making truffles is not difficult! And as is true with all things in life: its even better with a friend.

Below, I’ve tried to include as many helpful notes as possible. This recipe was designed by Beth for home cooks wanting to make ganache on a smaller scale. For further clarification on any notes below, please don’t hesitate to ask! You can even contact Beth at bethtully@cocoadolce.com for a more detailed, informed answer to your question.

Enough of this nonsense! Let’s get to the chocolate!

Classic Ganache

For dark chocolate:
1 C Land O’ Lakes whipping cream
16 oz high quality chocolate, chopped*
3 TBS premium (>70% fat) butter, room temperature**
2 T flavoring (or to taste)***

For milk/white chocolate:
1 C Land O’ Lakes whipping cream
20 oz high quality chocolate, chopped*
3 TBS premium (>70% fat) butter, room temperature**
2 T flavoring (or to taste)***

For the chocolate coating on any truffle:
8 oz high-quality chocolate, chopped
finishing ingredient: cocoa powder, toasted coconut, nuts, sprinkles, etc.

1. Make your ganache: Bring cream to just barely a boil in a small saucepan. The very first bubble you see, means its done. Pour cream over chopped chocolate and let stand for one minute. Stir until smooth, by beginning with small circles in the center, and gradually increasing until all lumps are gone. Chocolate should be very silky and reflective, and not grainy or gravy-looking. Add butter: stir again until smooth. Then add flavoring, and stir. Now cool your ganache: rec’d approach is to let ganache sit, covered, at room temperature for 12 hours. Alternative approach is to refrigerate for 3+ hours.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Roll ganache into small balls of your desired size, and place on sheet. Repeat until all ganache is used. If necessary, chill for an hour to re-firm ganache.

3. Line another baking sheet with waxed paper. Let’s make the chocolate coating. Temper 8 ounces of chocolate. The quickest way to do this is by putting the chocolate in a dish, and microwaving for 35-45 seconds. Stir well. Microwave in 5-second increments, always stirring well, until chocolate is smooth. If you exceed 5-second increments and burn your chocolate, I won’t feel sorry for you. As Beth says – “a lot can happen to chocolate in 5 seconds.” Scoop some of the tempered chocolate into your hand. Place one truffle (i.e. ganache ball) in hand and roll around in palm to coat.

4. Place truffle in bowl of toppings and “bury” it to coat it gently. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining truffles.

5. Store in airtight container in cool, dry place – preferably not over 70 degrees, but never in the fridge. Lasts one week.

* High quality chocolate has no “partially hydrogenated oils”, no preservatives, and no chemicals. It will include only cocoa solids/mass, cocoa butter, milk, sugar, vanilla, and soy lecithin. Such chocolates may be found at speciality stores such as World Market, or at Williams Sonoma (brand: Valrono), or for you Wichita locals, at Cocoa Dolce! You may use a combination of chocolate for any part of this recipe – the ganache may be a combination, or you may use dark chocolate in your ganache with milk chocolate as your coating. Try anything and everything!

** Check ultra-supermarkets that sell artisan items, or European speciality stores. One brand is called Plugra.

*** This can be anything, but we used flavored liquors – raspberry vodka, brandy, amaretto, etc.

Yours truly, Mrs. Sarah Walbridge!

And my Partner-In-Crime, Ms. Heather Park!

Our sweet little place settings: a folder full of information and WINE! As Beth said to the class (which left me with chills as it could be my personal motto): “Is there nothing better than working in your kitchen, sipping a glass of wine?”

No, Beth, no. There is not. There is nothing better.

Beth Tully rocking what is known as “tabling” – a method of tempering that is far too complex for the average home cook, and something that must be mastered in order to pass pastry school. She makes it look easy. I have a feeling its not.

Heather rolling ganache into beautiful spheres.

I forgot to put this on your ingredient list – GLOVES! You shall wear them.

Our beautiful and delicious final product!

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One Response to Chocolate Making 101: Chocolate Ganache

  1. Pingback: Chocolate Making 102: Advanced Techniques | an open cookbook :

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