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Ganache: One (Easy) Recipe, Five Ways

When shopping for clothes, I'm always drawn to what I call the "multitaskers" — items that can span several seasons, be dressed up or down, or work with lots of things I already own.

The same rule applies in the kitchen. And not just for my tools and appliances, but for recipes. Basic recipes that can be easily altered to become something else entirely are the staples I turn to again and again.

And ganache — hands down — is the ultimate multitasker.

With only three ingredients — chocolate, heavy cream and a pinch of salt — you've got the makings for FIVE amazing recipes. You need no special skills or equipment, and I can't think of another recipe that elicits more oohs and aahs than a homemade chocolate sauce, or plate of pretty truffles.

Here's how to make ganache!

You'll need:

  • 8 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate (look for about 61% cacao), roughly chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until just boiling, and immediately pour over the chocolate. Add the salt and let sit, without stirring, for 10 minutes. Whisk until smooth and shiny. Follow up with a few folds of a rubber spatula to scrape up any traces of chocolate that are on the sides and bottom of the bowl.

And here's how to use it!

Glaze or Sauce

To use ganache as a glaze, set your cooled cake or cupcakes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet (to catch drips). Pour warm ganache over, letting it run down the sides (do not spread). Let set at room temperature.

You can also pour the ganache over ice cream for a delicious sundae!

Truffles

Transfer the warm ganache to a small bowl and refrigerate overnight. Use a small scoop (like a melon baller or ice cream scoop) to scoop out the chilled ganache, and form small balls with the palms of your hands (slightly dampened hands will help prevent sticking). Leave as-is, or roll the truffles in your choice of toppings — cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar, nonpareils, finely chopped nuts or cookie crumbs. Chill until ready to serve.

The Best Hot Chocolate, Ever

Place 1-2 tablespoons of chilled ganache into a mug. Pour heated milk over and stir.

Frosting

Cool ganache to room temperature, stirring occasionally (about an hour). Transfer to a mixer bowl and beat at medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Fill or frost cakes and cupcakes.

"Quick" Fudge

Line a small square or loaf pan with parchment or wax paper, leaving a 1-2 inch overhang on each side. Pour warm ganache into the pan and refrigerate overnight. Use your paper "sling" to remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares and chill until ready to serve.

Fondue

Warm ganache makes delicious fondue! Surround a bowl with marshmallows, sliced fruit and cubes of pound cake and dip away!

Images via Sheri Silver

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