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Category ... Brownies

Alternatives to Heavy Cream Based Ganaches

Apr 24, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Baking & Cooking Tips

My favorite frosting for the ultimate chocolate taste, texture and ease in making is chocolate ganache, which I wrote about, in a previous posting, Birthday Ganache.




When artist friend Martha Rast asked Woody, if we had any lactose free frostings,this lead to testing with unflavored soy milk to come up with a ganache that has a slightly tangier taste compared to the standard heavy cream ganache but also has an excellent flavor and texture making ideal for the lactose intolerant or vegan. The difference between a ganache made with heavy cream and one made with soy milk is that the soy milk gives a lighter color more toward a dark milk chocolate. Its preparation requires the addition of a higher percentage of the soy milk to keep a creamy texture that will adhere to the cake.

Here is the recipe for Soy Milk Ganache with Silk plain soy milk and Valhrona le Noir Gastronomie 61% cacao.

Soy Milk Dark Chocolate Ganache
Makes: almost 3-1/3 cups/29.3 ounces/834 grams

dark chocolate, 60 to 62% cacao, chopped14 ounces400 grams
plain soy milk, preferably Silk2 cups (16 fluid ounces)16.6 ounces473 grams
pure vanilla extract1 tablespoon..

Have ready a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a medium glass bowl.

In the bowl of a food processor, process the chocolate until very fine. In a 4 cup microwave proof cup with a spout, or in a medium saucepan, stirring often, scald the cream (heat it to the boiling point--small bubbles will form around the periphery).

With the motor running, pour the cream through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process for a few seconds until smooth. Pulse in the vanilla. Pass the ganache through the fine strainer into the glass bowl and let it sit for 1 hour. Cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to cool at room temperature for several hours, until the mixture reaches a soft frosting consistency.

Storage times are even longer than the heavy cream based ganache of: up to 1 week at room temperature; 2 weeks refrigerated; and 6 months frozen.


The success of the soy milk encouraged us to explore other non-dairy milks. We found that Silk Almondmilk works just as well as a direct substitution for the soy milk, is less tangy, adds a lovely almond flavoring which gives a richer dimension to the chocolate flavor.

Further exploration had us experiment with coconut cream and milks. Canned versions of both, which are thicker than heavy cream, produced a ganache similar in color to that made with heavy cream but had the disadvantage of a noticeably gritty appearance. Coconut cream contains 24% fat and coconut milk contains 17% fat. However, coconut milk in the carton has only around 6% fat. A couple of tests arrived at a ratio that works with the chocolate's weight at 15% higher than the coconut milk, which is the opposite of the soy and almond milk versions. The coconut milk gives a subtle coconut taste to the chocolate and the ganache's color is darker than the ganache made with either soy or almond milk.

Barcelona Brownies

Mar 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Travel Adventures

i promised to write about my recent trip to barcelona but that was before i knew that in three days i would be doing 5 demos, 2 newspaper interviews, 2 t.v. shows, and a 5 hour photo session! i never saw much of barcelona but i did eat and drink wonderfully! i’ll just have to go back on vacation some day soon.

the visit officially began with a demo in a chocolate museum school, followed by a lecture to the baker’s guild of spain. the challenge presented by the demo was to offer a recipe that was chocolate, was uniquely american, didn’t take long to prepare or bake, showed off the lékué silicone bakeware—my host—and not be dependent on either flour or leavening. it has been my experience that european flour produces vastly different results from what i am accustomed.

after much deliberation, it turned out that there was only one perfect possibility: the beloved brownie, baked in individual molds. the traditional small ingot shape of the financier mold seemed like an excellent choice. and now that i’ve perfected this recipe i’ll probably never make brownies in the usual square pan again! in the silicone financier pan, the brownies pop right out—each with a perfect shape and size and fine crust all around that keeps them from staling. it’s far easier getting the batter into the molds than having to cut them afterwards! You can even use the batter to make madeleines.

this batter can be made ahead and transported as there is no leavening to dissipate.


these brownies are light in texture but get their exceptional moistness from cream cheese and fudginess from the best quality cocoa and chocolate. for extra creaminess optional little plugs of ganache are poured into holes made with a chop stick after baking. it was gratifying to see the students casually pop a brownie in their mouths expecting something ordinary and then watch their eyes widen in glad surprise. chocolate never gets better than this.

Continue reading "Barcelona Brownies" »

Lisa Yockelson's Bittersweet Chocolate Brownies

Oct 30, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Brownies

Makes 16 brownies

When a brownie batter supports little chunks of premium bittersweet chocolate, a delectable thing happens–the small chunks of chocolate form pools of goodness throughout, and the sweet resonates with flavor. Even though I can’t, you should try to restrain yourself from cutting the brownies too soon.

Bittersweet brownie batter




bleached all purpose flour

1 cup

bleached cake flour 1/3 cup
unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon


1/8 teaspoon

baking powder

1/4 teaspoon

bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks

3 ounces

unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid

1/2 pound (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks)

unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid

5 ounces

bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid 3 ounces
large eggs 5
superfine sugar 2 cups
vanilla extract 2 teaspoons
Confectioners’ sugar, for sifting on top of the baked brownies (optional)  

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Film the inside of a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the batter
Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. In a small bowl, toss the chocolate chunks with 1 teaspoon of the sifted mixture.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter, melted unsweetened chocolate, and melted bittersweet chocolate until smooth. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until blended, about 15 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until combined, 30 to 45 seconds. Blend in the vanilla extract and melted butter-chocolate mixture. Sift the flour mixture over and stir to form a batter, mixing thoroughly until the particles of flour are absorbed, using a whisk or flat wooden paddle. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake, cool, and cut the brownies Bake the brownies in the preheated oven for 30 to 33 minutes, or until gently set. Let the brownies stand in the pan on a cooling rack for 3 hours. With a small sharp knife, cut the sweet into four quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 squares. Remove the brownies from the baking pan, using a small offset metal spatula. Store in an airtight tin.
Sift confectioners’ sugar on top of the brownies just before serving, if you wish.

Bake-and-serve within 3 days.

Study The chopped bittersweet chocolate forms creamy pools of flavor in the baked brownies. The following bittersweet chocolates are worth noting for using in the recipe (both for the chunks and melted chocolate):

Valrhona Extra Amer Bittersweet 61% cacao;
Valrhona Le Noir Amer 71% cacao;
Valrhona Le Noir Gastronomie 61% cacao;
Valrhona Caraïbe Dark Chocolate 66% cocoa;
Valrhona Le Noir Gastronomie Chocolat Noir Bittersweet Chocolate 61% cocoa;
Valrhona Grand Cru Noir Manjari Gastronomie Chocolat Noir Dark Chocolate 64% cocoa;
Valrhona Equatoriale Chocolat de Couverture Noir Dark Bittersweet Couverture 55% cacao;
Michel Cluizel Chocolat Amer Dark Chocolate 60% cacao;
Michel Cluizel Ilha Toma 65% cocoa;
Lindt Chocolate Créé à Berne Swiss Bittersweet Chocolate;
or, Lindt Excellence Swiss Bittersweet Chocolate.

Ben Franklin & Lisa

Oct 25, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Happenings


I've always thought that september should be the beginning of the year instead of january. january is the quietist month after all the holiday hubbub, but in september new york wakes up from summer hibernation and is at its most event-full!

the top two baking related events for me this september were the beginning of an extensive celebration of ben franklin's 300th birthday in philly and the d.c. launch of my dear friend and colleague lisa yockelson's long awaited, exquisitely written, and magnificently published cookbook: "ChocolateChocolate." it seemed perfectly appropriate that lisa's event came on the heels of the ben franklin one as ben franklin is the muse of writers of all books. after all, where would be without his invention--the printing press!

the benjamin franklin event was held in the franklin institute science museum where many of the city's top bakers prepared desserts that will be featured on their menus during the year long celebration, with themes designed to honor him. only five of them, however, actually entered the official birthday cake contest. the winner was assistant pastry chef jennifer macdonald from the fountain restaurant at the four seasons hotel philadelphia who prepared a cake modeled after benjamin franklin's desk with realistically tinted wood-grained rolled fondant as the wood and feather pen, and green blown sugar apples so perfectly executed that two of the judges (dorie greenspan and i) thought they were real apples. the third judge, roland mesnier, former white house pastry chef, wasn't fooled for an instant as he himself is master of the rare art of blown sugar.

Continue reading "Ben Franklin & Lisa" »


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