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The other day I attempted to make a white chocolate ganache, and while the flavor is perfect, it utterly refused to set. Instead what I ended up with was a sticky, somewhat runny blob. It never hit that really nice fudgy stage where I could take it out of the spring form and not have it run all over the place. Granted it wasn't horribly runny, but still enough not to be presentable.

I'm used to dark chocolate ganaches which will firm up into something not unlike a fudge, which is perfect for making tarts.

The basic recipe was this:

  1. 1 cup heavy cream, held at a low simmer for around 5 minutes with spices
  2. Strain cream over 12 ounces of nestle white chocolate chips
  3. Stir on low heat until fully melted and slightly reduced

Any ideas would be really helpful, I have high hopes for this recipe once I can get the ganache to set correctly.

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7 Answers 7

up vote 4 down vote accepted

White chocolate does not have starch, so it does not thicken the ganache, unlike dark chocolate.

The proper proportion for white chocolate ganache is 45 to 60 ml of cream to 12 ounces of chocolate. You used 240 ml, which made it too runny. Use less cream and you will get a good consistency.

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That is exactly what I was looking for, thank you! Can I add a starch next time (potato or corn)? Or will it end up with a wonky texture and taste?? –  Matthew Feb 21 '13 at 15:58
1  
I don't know. I only got this problem once (that's how I learned of it :P) and added xanthan. The resulting texture was unpleasant, my best description was gloopy. The problem with starch is that you have to cook at 100°C before it thickens, and this will deemulsify your chocolate. But maybe the starch itself will bind it again. –  rumtscho Feb 21 '13 at 15:59
    
Fantastic, I'll just have to double up on the recipe next time so I can have the correct amount of ganache for the tart. I appreciate your help! –  Matthew Feb 21 '13 at 16:07

In addition to using too much cream, part of the problem is also that you're using chocolate chips for any purpose other than... chips.

Chocolate chips are specifically made to be somewhat heat-resistant and have less cocoa butter than quality couverture or even compound or baker's chocolate, which means that any melted-chocolate product (including ganache) that you try to make with them will end up being grainy and not set properly.

They're cheap for a reason. They're fine to use in muffins and cookies and ice cream and anything else that is actually going to have chocolate chips, but they should be viewed and treated for what they really are - packaged candy/confection products like sprinkles or canned frosting - rather than as pure chocolate for use in ganaches or enrobing or even as an appropriate substitute.

You can kind of get away with cheaper bittersweet or dark chocolate, but since white chocolate already has a ton of milk and very little (if any) cocoa solids, you really notice the difference in quality primarily due to cocoa butter content, and the cheap stuff is hopelessly runny and usually also cloyingly sweet.

I personally would not bother attempting the recipe again, even using only 20% of the cream, without decent-quality chocolate. Even if it "sets" properly, it's not going to have the texture you want with chips. It's not really that expensive; I can get a huge brick of Callebaut white chocolate here for under $20.

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Interesting point. I have bought real conditor-quality chocolate in chip-shape before (re-packaged bulk goods normally sold to industrial customers), which are shaped that way so the conditor does not have to chop them before melting. I totally forgot that "nestle chips" are a different product. Good thing you caught that one, +1. –  rumtscho Feb 22 '13 at 11:44
    
@rumtscho I've seen those referred to as callets, which are smaller than the wafers but just slightly larger than the Nestle/Hershey-style chips. There may of course be regional differences; I always assume the cheap stuff when I hear the word "chips", unless I know somebody has a chocolate chipper. –  Aaronut Feb 23 '13 at 2:08
    
This is interesting - sadly the store we were at only had nestle chips (we always make ganache with ghiradelli with great success). I'll give it a shot with melting chocolate (the type used for candies) and see if I have better success. –  Matthew Feb 25 '13 at 21:15
    
@Matthew: Careful - there are two kinds of "melting chocolate". Couverture is great for just about anything involving chocolate, but there's another type of cheap chocolate called compound chocolate, also referred to as candy chocolate, coating chocolate, etc. While it's actually pretty good for enrobing, in a pinch, it's not particularly tasty and I'm not sure how well it works for ganache. Any store that sells chocolate chips usually also sells Baker's Chocolate, which isn't amazing but is much closer to couverture than chips. –  Aaronut Feb 26 '13 at 0:29

I tried the first suggestion, 45-60 ml of heavy cream with 12 oz. of Nestle's White Chocolate chips and it worked great.

Put chips in a glass bowl. Pour in cream. Stir to coat. Set microwave on 2:30 (two minutes thirty seconds) at half power. Micro :30 stir with a metal spoon. Micro another :30 and stir. *Repeat until out of time n micro. Stir with whisk until smooth.

Let ganache set for twenty minutes or so then use as desired. I poured mine over a strawberry bundt and it set up shiny and delish.

  • I also added 1.5 tablespoons of Drambuie half way through melting process.
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White chocolate with a decent amount of cocoa solids should use a 4:1 ratio, that is four parts white chocolate to one part heavy cream with a fat content of 35%. This is for a good coat of ganache similar to dark chocolate ganache. I like to make a whipped cream ganache as it goes further and is not cloyingly sweet. You shouldn't need to add corn syrup or icing sugar. What is very nice is to get freeze-dried strawberry, raspberry or other fruit powders. Then you can add flavour and colour to the white ganache. (Try health food shops or buy online). If using a white or fruit ganache for an occasion, I would suggest that you make a small sample batch to get the consistency right first. Some people can get away with a 3.5:1 ratio for example, it can depend on the chocolate.

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I've just tried to make white chocolate ganache, following a recipe which usually uses dark chocolate with butter as well as cream. It didn't set the same at all but after I let it sit in the fridge for a little white it thickened up enough to spread across the top and sides of the cake just fine.

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Perhaps you may also try adding some corn syrup, about two tablespoons.

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This would actually not help it set, but in fact lead to a softer final product. –  SAJ14SAJ May 28 '13 at 16:38

I'm having rather the same problem and someone mentioned using starch but I wonder if powdered sugar might not have a similar thickening effect?

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If you try it, please do come back and edit your answer to let us know if it works. –  Jefromi Nov 7 '13 at 6:29

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