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Ganache is the "Multitasker" of the Kitchen!

Q: What has two ingredients, requires no fancy equipment or special skills, and can be whipped up into three different recipes?

A: Ganache.

Ganache is a fancy French term for a simple technique combining chopped chocolate and warm heavy cream. A quick whisk and you’ve got the base for THREE different recipes  a smooth shiny glaze, an easy frosting, or heavenly truffles.

With the holidays upon us, having this “multitasker” in your back pocket can be a life saver. I’ve broken down the basic technique into easy step-by-step instructions, along with some great ideas for how to use your new favorite recipe!

  • One Recipe, Three Ways! 1 of 10
    ganache truffles

    Can you just picture these truffles on a holiday dessert buffet? Or packed in a pretty box to give as a gift? Ganache is super easy to make, and transforms into these gorgeous truffles with only a quick chill in the fridge!

  • Start with Good Quality Chocolate 2 of 10
    ganache truffles

    Since there are so few ingredients in ganache, you want to start with the best quality chocolate you can get your hands on. It will pay off in the finished product!

  • Chop Chop! 3 of 10
    ganache chopped chocolate

    Using a large sharp knife, chop the chocolate into small pieces. They don't have to be exactly uniform, but the smaller the pieces the more quickly they will melt. Transfer to a large bowl.

  • Don’t Stir! 4 of 10
    ganache truffles chopped chocolate and cream

    Heat the cream till just boiling, and immediately pour over the chopped chocolate, followed by the salt. Let it sit, undisturbed, for 10 minutes (stirring can cause a grainy texture).

  • Whisk Till Smooth 5 of 10
    ganache truffles whisking

    After 10 minutes, whisk chocolate and cream together till smooth.

  • Get Every Last Drop 6 of 10
    ganache truffles scraping the bowl

    Once whisked, use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl and make sure the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

  • Ganache! 7 of 10
    ganache truffles chilling

    You've now got ganache (see, wasn't that easy?)! If glazing a cake or cupcakes, you can use it right away. For frosting, let it set for about 45 minutes and then beat on high in your electric mixer. Or chill in the fridge to make truffles!

  • Toppings Galore! 8 of 10
    ganache truffles toppings

    Let your imagination run wild when choosing toppings for your truffles! For the ones pictured here I used unsweetened cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar, finely crushed cookie crumbs, nonpareils, and sanding sugar. But the possibilities are endless!

  • Ready for Their Close-Up 9 of 10
    ganache truffles toppings close up

    Rolling the truffles in various toppings not only looks pretty (and tastes delicious), it prevents them from sticking. Transfer to individual baking cups and chill.

  • Ready to Serve! 10 of 10
    ganache truffles

    These mouthwatering treats will "wow" your guests - and only you will know how easy they were to make!

Read more from Sheri on Donuts, Dresses and Dirt
Follow Donuts, Dresses and Dirt on Facebook and Twitter for updates

Ganache
from Martha Stewart

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

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:

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 any of the following: unsweetened cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar, nonpareils, crushed cooking crumbs, sanding sugar or finely chopped nuts. Place each truffle in a mini baking cup and chill (can be made up to four days in advance).

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.

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).

And by all means, don’t discard those drips! Scrape them up, 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.

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