This is a long winded story of how I wanted to make truffles, forgot about gifts for the Girls Wonder’s teachers until the night before the last day of school, had a meltdown because I’m sure there isn’t another mother on the face of the earth who ever forgets to send in fabulous, elegantly wrapped Christmas presents and how nice it must be to be 12 and not have to waste even one iota of brain power with ever having to remember anything because you have a mother whose sole purpose it is in life to remember everything for you because she obviously has nothing else to do in this world except try to juggle all the bits and pieces of your life so that when she actually drops one of those bits on the floor she knows all the other mothers will point at her and laugh because seriously she forgot to get gifts for teachers and only crappy mothers do that so could someone please take away her Mom license. Not that I freaked out or anything.
Ganache is a super simple blend of cream and chocolate. Two very good things in life.
According to Wikipedia… it comes from the French word for jowl. Which is not a good thing. It’s a weird thing. And if I think about jowls I won’t want ganache. So don’t think about jowls.
You must say zis ward in a franch achent while wearing an black Audrey Hepburn dress and smoking a Gauloise in an ebony cigarette holder. Zee franch zey pronunce this ward “ga nawch”. Fancy French.
It’s quick to make and you can do oh so many things with it. Drizzle it warm over a cake. Whip it for frosting. Use it for truffles. I whipped up a batch the other day to make truffles. Instead.. the ganache was diverted for cupcake frosting. You can do this too… without the meltdown or making squinty snake eyes at your child when she says “Hey Mom, whadya get my teachers for Christmas” at 7:30 p.m. the night before the last day of school.
There is a whole science behind ganache with terms like fat-in-water emulsion but all we care about today is that it’s chocolate. And we don’t need to be science experts because we have Martha Stewart who has provided us with a lovely recipe.
Start with some good quality chocolate. Be as decadent as you want. The higher the cocoa content in your chocolate the better as the cocoa helps the ganache to set. In this thrifty household, I went with Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate – which most grocery stores will have.
Roughly chop the chocolate. Smallish chunks are good. They’ll melt quicker. Put your chocolate in a big bowl.
Then take a pint of heavy cream and bring it to a boil. Whisking it to keep it from burning.
Pour the heated cream over the chocolate.
Take your poorly manicured hands and add 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Let it the whole shebang sit for 10 minutes. If you get all excited and start stirring like a maniac the ganache will cool too quickly and will be grainy.
After you have patiently waited 10 minutes, whisk the cream and chocolate until it is all smooth and shiny looking.
This is the point where I am dreaming of truffles and get slammed back into reality by Girl Wonder with her inquiry about teacher gifts. Alas, truffles were not meant to be and I spin around twice in my sparkly pink fairy godmother dress and turn ganache into frosting.
Luckily I was at a point where the ganache road forks. You can refrigerate it to firm it up for truffles or…. let it sit on the counter to come down to room temperature, for about 45 minutes, so you can whip it up for frosting. Stir it often while it’s cooling down.
Make some cupcakes. I, as a freaked out mother, totally used a Betty Crocker cake mix. Presto chango…I had a batch of naked cupcakes.
Once the ganache mix has cooled down, pour it into a mixer and beat it until it gets all fluffy. This only takes about 4 – 5 minutes. You’ll end up with a bowl of fluffy, light coloured chocolate.
Schmear your frosting on your cupcakes. Ganache is rich so a little goes a long way. You can use a fancy icing knife or be like me and use a butter knife. It’s good to have a cup of warm water handy to dip your knife in. Frost, dip knife, smooth out frosting. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Sprinkle a few pretties on the cupcakes tops.
Box ‘em up all fancy like.
Last minute teachers gifts done and it was only 9:30. Next year I think Girl Wonder will get out her markers and whip herself up some Christmas cards before questioning me about teacher gifts. Perhaps next year, right after Thanksgiving, I’ll write on my arm with a Sharpie “don’t forget teacher gifts, don’t forget teacher gifts”.
There’s a nice printable recipe if you want to whip up some of your own.
What kind of gifts do you give your teachers? Did you remember to get them ahead of time or were you a whirling dervish like me?
- 8 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ⅛ teaspoon course salt
- Coarsely chop the chocalate. A serrated knife works best as it grabs the chocolate and breaks it up more easily. Set chocolate aside in a bowl.
- Bring the heavy cream to a boil over medium high heat.
- Pour cream over chocolate and add the salt.
- Let stand for 10 minutes (don’t stir as this will cause the mixture to cool too quickly, making it grainy).
- Stir with a whisk until smooth and shiny. Break up any pieces that haven’t melted. Whisk until the cream and chocolate are well blended.
- Chocolate will often settle at the bottom or sides of the bowl. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula so it is evenly incorporated.
- For frosting:
- Let the ganache cool to room temperature. This should take about 45 minutes.
- Once cooled, beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until paler and fluffy.
- You can use a pastry bag, or knife, to frost.