Can You Make Ganache With Half and Half Instead of Cream?

I won't keep you in suspense: ultimately, the answer is yes. It is possible to make ganache with half and half instead of heavy cream or whipping cream. But there's more to it than just that, so why don't you quit pretending to work for a minute and read on?

In my household, cream is an only sometimes thing, whereas half and half is an all the time thing, given my sweetie's penchant for generously lacing his coffee with the stuff. It's not that going to the store to buy cream is difficult or not worth it, but sometimes, when I'm mid-recipe, I can't be bothered. So recently, finding myself with some cakes to frost and no cream to make the ganache I needed, I found myself wondering:

Is it possible to make ganache with half and half instead of cream?

Well, there's only one way to find out.

So I measured out my ingredients: equal weights of half and half and chopped chocolate. I used four ounces of each (half a cup of half and half; 4 ounces of dark chocolate), a fairly small batch but I didn't want to waste a bunch of ingredients if it didn't work out. 

I placed the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. 

I poured the half and half in a saucepan and heated it until it began to simmer.

I poured the hot half and half over the chocolate.

Now for my favorite part of making ganache. At first, the dairy and chocolate are distinct and separate. Then the chocolate begins to soften and swirl into the dairy. Then, magically, two become one (yes, please sing that in your best Spice Girls voice). Beautiful. 

I stirred until smooth. So, my immediate reaction was that this ganache seemed more liquid than its cream counterpart. 

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I let it sit for about 15 minutes, then tried it out on some desserts. I drizzled a bit on top of some shortbread bars...

then I spooned the rest into a little cup. This might be the naughtiest thing ever but I ate some with a spoon, right from the little bowl.

The drizzled ganache set firm but not hard, and seemed pretty comparable to a cream ganache, actually. It was opaque and didn't spread too much after being drizzled. I think that you could probably use it for coating or filling desserts, but be sure to let it cool before using because it is not as thick as the cream version when applying. 

The cup'o ganache was just as delicious as your naughtiest chocolate fantasies would have you think.

Overall, a success. I say that if you find yourself in a pinch and do have half and half, you can definitely feel satisfied with a ganache made with it. If you feel like it, give it a try skewing the ratio a bit, so it has slightly more chocolate. I bet that would remedy the thinness issue.

Here's how you do it.

How to make ganache with half and half instead of cream

  • 4 ounces chopped chocolate
  • 4 ounces half and half
  • (quantities can be doubled, etc; just maintain the same ratio of equal weights)

Procedure

  1. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the half and half to the simmering point. Remove from heat, and pour over the chocolate.
  3. Stir with a whisk. At first the chocolate won't seem like it's going to ever incorporate, but as you stir, the mixture will become smooth. 
  4. Once smooth, let the ganache rest for 15-20 minutes before using, so that it can attain a pourable but thickened consistency.
  5. Enjoy!

BTW, you might also enjoy these posts:

How to make beer ganache

How to make ganache with cocoa powder 

Have you ever tried a creative ganache variation? 

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