Traditional chocolate ganache is a miracle made of dark chocolate and cream: The two ingredients are heated to make a luscious, silky, bittersweet sauce. Unfortunately, that doesn’t do you much good if you’re dairy-free. Until recently, I thought cream was absolutely necessary for ganache, but it turns out vegan, dairy-free ganache is dead simple to make. You simply replace the cream with your non-dairy milk of choice.
It’s as simple as that. No need to invert sugars or add vegan fats to keep the chocolate from seizing. Just a milk swap. As a pastry chef who once had a stint as a chocolatier, you can imagine how irked I was when I realized I could have avoided giving my lactose-intolerant boyfriend stomachaches this whole time. (Sorry, my dude.) But now he—and you—can enjoy a dairy-free chocolate ganache topping.
How dairy-free chocolate ganache works
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Classic ganache can be made in a range of thicknesses, from fudge-y to runny. Chocolate and cream in a 2:1 ratio makes a thick mixture, perfect for those chocolate confections known as truffles. An equal parts ratio, slightly cooled, is excellent for topping and filling cakes, or you can use it hot as a thin, runny drizzle.
Dairy-free ganache functions the same way. To make a medium-firm ganache (thick enough to roll into truffles, but soft enough to fill a layer cake), pour four ounces of chocolate into a bowl. Heat three ounces of non-dairy milk in the microwave until steaming, or near a boil. Pour the milk into your bowl of chocolate and let it sit for two minutes to soften the chips. Whisk until smooth. If lumps remain, stick the whole bowl in the microwave for another 10 seconds and whisk again (you want a silky smooth texture). Use this ganache as a topping or filling for cakes, or cool it in the fridge for about an hour, or until pliable, if making truffles. Increase the liquid amount up to four or five ounces to make a thin, pourable ganache.
Non-dairy ganache is less flexible, and dries out more quickly than the traditional stuff, but it’s still decadent, with the same concentrated chocolate flavor. For a completely dairy-free option without unusual ingredients or thickeners, it’s pretty damn fantastic.
- 4 ounces (about ½ cup + 2 tablespoons) dark chocolate chips
- 3 ounces (about ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons) non-dairy milk
Pour the chocolate into a small bowl. Heat the non-dairy milk in the microwave until scalding, about 20 seconds. Pour the milk over the chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes to soften. Whisk the mixture until smooth.