Want something sweet to impress your sweetie this Valentine's Day? This luscious chocolate has been putting smiles on loved ones faces almost as much as the written notes that remind our significant others how much they mean to us.
Ganache is a mixture of hot whipping cream and semi-sweet chocolate combined until smooth. Depending on how much of each you use, it can take many forms and flavors. It is most commonly used as the center of those incredible round shaped chocolates known as the truffle. Besides truffles, ganache can be used as a glaze for cakes, a base for hot chocolate, or a molten filling for chewy brownies.
The first step in preparing any of these chocolate desserts is to make the chocolate ganache. A food processor, semi-sweet chocolate, egg yolks, cognac and about five minutes is all you need to get this chocolate fantasy started.
For a good chocolate ganache, I like to use a high-quality chocolate such as Scharffen Berger, Ghirardelli, Guittard or Lindt. If you have a personal favorite, feel free to use that. There are no restrictions with this recipe; bagged chocolate chips will work just fine.
The first use of the ganache is as a base for chocolate truffle squares. We flavored them with an assortment of unique coatings.
- curried coconut with basil
- roasted pistachio
- cocoa powder
- freeze dried raspberry
These are the flavors we wanted to play with, but you can roll these delicious morsels in any of your (or your loved one's) favorite toppings. Ganache truffles are often presented round, but cut into squares is just as beautiful and a little less fussy.
Chocolate indulgence number two were chocolate brownie cups with jalapeno lava filling. That was topped off with toasted coconut, pomegranate arils (the juice filled seeds of a pomegranate), and some red sugar glass for a garnish. This one is a crowd pleaser for any party.
The jalapeno filling may sound a little odd, but the fruity fresh flavor combined with the heat adds a unique zip to the brownie filling. The smoked sea salt adds a slightly smoky nuance that goes great with chocolate.
The last chocolate temptation was best ever hot chocolate made by using the ganache as the chocolate, then adding hot milk, cinnamon and a toasted marshmallow. If you're looking to spice things up, you can include Frangelico and Baily’s Irish Cream as well. Delish!
Looking for a unique chocolate taste without having to spend hours in the kitchen or driving to a local chocolatier? Try adding pomegranate arils, chopped jalapeno, basil, curry, chopped wild mushrooms, white truffle oil, or jerk seasoning to melted white or dark chocolate. Then, pour the mixture into small candy molds.
Chocolates made with love are simpler than you think, and much tastier than the mystery chocolates in the heart-shaped box.
- 12 ozs semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 12 ozs heavy cream, heated to scalding
- 2 ea egg yolks
- 2 Tbsp. cognac or flavored spirits, optional
- Place chocolate, egg yolks, and cognac in a large food processor with a blade attachment. With the motor running, slowly add hot cream into the pouring tube. Process for one minute or until completely smooth. Transfer mixture to a bread loaf pan lined with non-stick foil. Refrigerate until firm.
- The hot cream does double duty here. It melts the chocolate and cooks the egg yolk. the yolk adds extra richness.
- 3 cups [url href=”https://www.littlerustedladle.com/chocolate-ganache/”]chocolate ganache, (see Chocolate Ganache Recipe)[/url]
- 1 ea fresh jalapeno pepper, quartered
- 1 ea. store bought brownie mix
- 2 ea. large eggs
- 1/4 cup red or pink decorating sugar
- 1/4 cup sweetened coconut, toasted
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, optional
- Prepare ganache recipe (above), except after heating cream, add fresh jalapeno quarters to cream and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Remove jalapeno and reheat if necessary. Continue with ganache recipe directions. refrigerate until firm.
- Meanwhile, prepare brownie batter according to directions. spray ovenproof glasses, coffee cups or ramekins with non-stick spray. Pour 1/4 cup into each cup. Spoon scant 1/4 cup of ganache mixture into cups over brownie batter. Top with more brownie batter until cups are 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until brownies are done. Let cool.
- While brownies are baking, sprinkle sugar onto a non-stick foil lined baking sheet. Broil on high until sugar melts(1-3 minutes). remove from oven and let cool. Break into shards.
- To Serve: Spoon coconut and pomegranate arils over warm brownies. Stick a piece of red sugar glass in the center and serve.
- 3 cups prepared [url href=”https://www.littlerustedladle.com/chocolate-ganache/”]chocolate genache, see recipe here[/url]
- 1/4 cup ea. various coatings like cocoa powder, coconut, freeze dried raspberries or melted chocolate
- Prepare ganache recipe per directions for Chocolate Ganache above. Freeze until firm. Remove foil from pan and place on a cutting board. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 1″ strips. Cut crosswise again into 1″ strips to create 1″ squares. Carefully transfer squares to bowls of coatings(coconut, cocoa powder, melted chocolate, chopped nuts, etc.) and gently roll until completely covered. place single layer in a 8″ square baking dish. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Transfer truffles to a serving plate and serve.
- For a stiffer ganache, reduce cream by 1/4 – 1/3 of a cup.
- For an exotic flavor, combine 1 Tbl. of chopped fresh basil and 1 tsp. curry powder to 1 cup of sweetened toasted coconut. Toss to coat. Roll ganache squares into coconut mixture.
- Crush freeze dried raspberries into a powder. Roll ganache squares into raspberry powder.
- 1 cups Chocolate Ganache, (see Chocolate Ganache Recipe)
- 3 cups whole milk, heated
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 ea. marshmallows, optional
- Heat milk in a large saucepan or microwave safe bowl until scalding. Add cinnamon to hot milk and mix well. Add prepared ganache to milk and whisk until smooth. Reheat until hot. Ladle or pour into mugs. top each with a toasted marshmallows ( use a broiler or brulee torch to brown marshmallows). Serve.
- For an adult version, add 1 ounce of your favorite liquor. Peppermint schnapps, frangelico, Baily's Irish Cream, rum, Chambord or Grand Marnier all work well.
- For an extra zip to your hot chocolate, make the ganache with fresh jalapeno as described in the chocolate brownie cups with jalapeno lava.