I got a bit bored tonight and as usual when I’m bored, I started itching to bake something. I was too lazy to go to the store, though, so I had to make do with what I had in my kitchen. Not enough butter for cookies (shock and awe!). Not enough cocoa powder or unsweetenened chocolate for cake. No dried fruit for bars. No cream cheese for frosting. No chocolate bars for les petit pains. No yeast for bread. Clearly I need to go shopping. Okay, so what did I have besides a messy, empty kitchen? Semisweet chocolate chips (it will be a dark forsaken day when I don’t have a bag of these in my fridge. I buy them in bulk from By the Pound), a stick and a half of butter. Flour. Sugar. Chocolate extract. Milk. Eggs. Salt. That was pretty much it. However, lucky for me that’s just enough to make my usual brownies and a nice ganache topping.
I heart ganache. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that in addition to my amazing culinary skill and incredible wit, I have a lot of scientifically supported, rational opinions on food (fish is icky, tomatoes are squishy, recipes are guidelines, good barbecue takes at least three days, white chocolate is an abomination against God, etc and so on). You can add a new one to my list of completely indisputable* positions: frosting has no place on a brownie. But you can smother that sucker in all the ganache you want and it is nothing short of heaven on earth.
Ganache is a bit of an all-encompassing term for a variety of icings and fillings, usually made with heated cream, melted chocolate and sometimes people add liqueur or extract to it.
For tonight’s brownie bash, I used a guideline from the Joy of Baking:
8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
1 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional)
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur. Makes enough ganache to cover a 9 inch (23 cm) cake or torte.
I used semisweet chips, milk, and instead of brandy, I went with a good couple teaspoons of ground cinnamon because cinnamon is one of the best things to ever happen to chocolate (you can write that down. That is also indisputably true).
And look at this beautiful, beautiful ganache. This is the happiest brownie in the world and it will be until I’ve eaten it. And then maybe not so happy anymore.
*The comments and views contained within this blog entry are the sole opinions of the writer, are not in any way endorsed or supported by science, and are in no way whatsoever a reflection of reality as you may know it.