If you're wondering, can you make ganache with half and half, the answer is yes! You have come to the right place to learn all about chocolate ganache. I will explain not only how to make the rich ganache, but also varieties of ganache, tips, and tricks on making the best ganache, and what to use it for!
You're excited to make a recipe and then realize you don't have all the ingredients... we have all been there! Or maybe you just want a less fat alternative to heavy cream. Well, this half-and-half chocolate ganache is perfect for both those dilemmas. It is a perfect consistency and so rich in flavor.
This is the perfect recipe to save for later when you're in a pickle and still want decadent delicious chocolate ganache for your cake or dessert. After this post, you will feel like a professional and discover how easy ganache is to make!
can you make ganache with half and half?
Yes, you can make ganache with half and half! Chocolate ganache is actually extremely adaptable with whatever dairy you have on hand. Half and half is the most similar substitution to heavy cream. However, it is important to understand the characteristics of simple ganache to make a chocolate ganache with half and half and still have the right consistency and taste.
characteristics of chocolate ganache
The most crucial characteristics to understand of chocolate ganache are the core ingredients, the ratios, and the temperature. These three aspects will work together to give you the correct consistency.
Let's talk about ratios! Depending on the consistency you are wanting your chocolate ganache to be, you will use a different ratio of chocolate to cream. It is essential to understand the consistency of the ganache so you can purpose ganache correctly for a recipe. We don't want truffles to not hold their shape or a glaze to be not drippy.
For explaining purposes I will use cream, but keep in mind that we can change the dairy out for a variety of different substitutes.
- For a thick chocolate ganache used for piping or truffles, the amount of chocolate will be more with less cream, a 2:1 ratio (two parts chocolate, one part cream).
- For thin ganache used for glaze or drizzling, the amount of cream will be more, use a 1:2 ratio (one part chocolate, two parts cream).
- For a standard chocolate ganache used for chocolate ganache icing or dipping, use equal parts chocolate to cream, a 1:1 ratio (one part chocolate, one part cream).
The basic ingredients for a traditional chocolate ganache are chocolate and cream.
- The cream can be substituted for a variety of different dairy alternatives to better meet your dietary needs. All kinds of milk are not created equal. For example, almond milk is thinner than cream. Half-and-half has less fat content than cream. Sweetened condensed milk has a high sugar content compared to cream. And of course, they all taste very different. It is important to consider all characteristics of the milk that you choose to use in your chocolate ganache.
- The type of chocolate is also important to consider. Baking chocolate or chocolate bars is best for chocolate ganache since they can easily melt and be incorporated. Avoid store-bought chocolate chips. The flavor that you want your chocolate ganache to be will be based mainly on the chocolate that you choose to use.
Chocolate ganache is sensitive to high temperatures.
- If the hot cream added to the ganache is too hot, it will cause the fat solids in the chocolate to separate, making a grainy ganache. For best results, heat cream at low heat in the microwave in 30-second increments, checking the temperature in between. The right temperature is 200F. It is a good idea to touch the cream with your finger to ensure it is warm to the touch but not too hot.
- Store-bought milk chocolate chips are designed to hold their shape in baked goods and therefore less resistant to heat. Therefore they need to be heated to higher temperatures than baking chocolate to melt. When chocolate becomes too hot, it can seize up the chocolate. That is when you get a clump of chocolate that does not really blend into other ingredients. So I suggest using baking chocolate or chocolate bars for this reason.
- Ganache thickens while it cools so for a soft ganache, let cool for less time. Whereas for a hard ganache, place it in the fridge to thicken & harden. If your ganache gets too hard, you can easily reheat it using the double boiler method. Fill a small saucepan or pot with warm water, and place the bowl of ganache on top. At high speed, quickly whisk the ganache until it starts to loosen up and melt again. I do not recommend reheating your ganache in the microwave since this can cause the chocolate to separate.
half and half vs cream
The age-old question... are half and half and cream the same? They are not the same. The cream has more than double the fat content of half and half. Heavy cream has about 40 percent milk fat whereas half and half has around 15 percent milk fat.
The name says it all; it is half whole milk and half cream. This gives it a similar taste to plain milk and a similar texture to cream, just less heavy. Since cream has more fat, it offers a thicker consistency and gives a creamier mouthfeel than half and half. These two ingredients aren't always interchangeable but for the purpose of chocolate ganache, half and half is a great substitute for heavy cream.
how to make half and half chocolate ganache
1. Chop up the chocolate. Chop the chocolate and place it into a medium metal or heat-proof bowl. The chocolate should be cut into small pieces so that they can be melted when the milk is added.
2. Heat up the half-and-half. Heat the half and half in the microwave for 1 minute until hot to the touch. The overall temperature should be warm and not too hot.
3. Pour the half and half & mix. Pour the hot half and half into the bowl with the chopped chocolate. Let sit for a minute or two to melt the chocolate. Then carefully, using a wire whisk, stir the melted chocolate, and half and half are fully combined. Transfer the bowl of ganache to a heatproof bowl or container. Let sit at room temperature to thicken and cool. The consistency be checked using a rubber spatula to see if it is thick or thin enough.
varieties of chocolate ganache
Use whatever chocolate is your favorite! The ganache will take on the flavor of whatever type of chocolate you use. So experiment with different chocolates to change the sweetness and flavor of the ganache.
Just be sure to use high-quality chocolate bars or chocolate chips. My favorite brands of chocolate that you can find at the grocery store are Guittard, Ghirardelli, Lilys, and Cadbury.
A classic ganache typically uses semi-sweet chocolate, for the perfect "not too sweet" taste. For a white chocolate ganache recipe, use silky white chocolate. If you prefer a less sweet ganache with intense chocolate flavor, try bittersweet chocolate or dark chocolate. Or even a combination of chocolate can create the best chocolate ganache. The types of ganache you can make are endless! You can never have too much chocolate!
Try changing up the dairy you use. Chocolate ganache is so versatile and can be made with almost any milk, even plant-based milk. Just be sure to follow the correct ratio when using dairy alternatives that are not cream, since they can be thinner. A classic chocolate ganache uses heavy cream for that silky smooth texture. Every dairy will impart a different flavor and consistency to your ganache. Some of my favorite alternatives are half and half, whole milk, table cream, coconut milk, oat milk, and almond milk. Learn more about making chocolate ganache with almond milk here.
Experiment by adding other ingredients. Chocolate ganache uses such simple ingredients, so adding other ingredients will make the flavor more complex and can even change the consistency. The combinations are endless on what you can add to this easy chocolate ganache recipe! Any flavor extract can be added like vanilla, almond, lemon, or coconut! You can add your favorite liquor like Grand Marnier. cognac, brandy, rum or chambord. You can even add herbs like fresh mint leaves, thyme, or rosemary to give the chocolate a gourmet flavor. Adding a little bit of corn syrup can make the ganache thin like a chocolate glaze, whereas adding cocoa powder can make the ganache thick like cake filling.
how to store half and half chocolate ganache
To store chocolate ganache, transfer it to an airtight container or heat-safe bowl. Make sure that a piece of plastic wrap is pressed against the surface of the ganache to prevent a crust or film from forming. Place the container in the fridge to store for up to 2 weeks.
Chocolate ganache can also be frozen. Follow the same storage instructions and place it in the freezer. Store for no longer than 6 months. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
what to use half and half chocolate ganache for
Chocolate ganache is an extremely versatile component in baking! It can be used for so many different purposes. A thick ganache can be used on a layer cake as a layer of ganache in between the cake layers. A thin ganache can be used as a thick glaze for drip cakes. Whipped chocolate ganache creates the perfect chocolate ganache frosting that can be added to a piping bag to decorate the top of the cake. Or you can even use just a little ganache to drizzle on fresh fruit. And there are so many more ways to use it!
A variety of different dessert recipes use chocolate ganache. From ice cream to chocolate cake, chocolate ganache is a rich addition to any dessert. It can even be transformed into decadent chocolate truffles. One of the most common times you will see chocolate ganache is in Valentine's Day recipes. After all, what says romance like chocolate.
My favorite cake recipe using chocolate ganache is my Cadbury dairy milk chocolate cake! It has a whole layer of chocolate ganache between two layers of cake because you can never have too much ganache! I also love using it on top of cakes, like in my orange chocolate fudge loaf cake. The chocolate ganache acts as a creamy layer on top!