When I was a little girl, my family had a summer time tradition. Once every summer,
we'd skip dinner altogether and just have banana splits. Back in those days, we never
paid attention to fat or carbs. We just dug into huge concoctions of bananas, ice cream,
chocolate and strawberry toppings, and mounds of whipped cream. It was only once a year,
and it was so nutritionally irresponsible that we always enjoyed it much more than we
would have if we just had ice cream for dessert.
After you've already eaten dinner, what kid would have room for a whole banana split
anyway? (We'll just leave my hollow-legged teenaged brother out of this!)
As the summer heat creeps up on us here in the South West, we've been eating more ice
cream. One day my daughter asked, "Mom, can we have banana splits?" and I thought,
It only took about a half an hour to assemble the required ingredients: diced banana,
chocolate ganache, raspberry sauce from frozen raspberries, whipped heavy cream. (We
already had the low carb ice cream in the freezer; there are many delicious choices
Since this was an indulgence for the kids, I made a simple ganache with chopped bittersweet
chocolate and heavy cream. Using the microwave, the entire process took less than 5 minutes.
But then I realized that I?d like some, too! I wondered if I could make a good sugar-free
ganache, which seemed to hinge on some magical balance of sugar, cream, fat, and chocolate.
So I hit the books, and armed with my trusty table of "chocolate equivalents," I mixed and
microwaved and stirred. And stirred. And stirred. I looked at the gloopy mess in my mixing
bowl and thought, "This will never come together," but on the very next round out of the
microwave — magic! It only took a few tweaks before I was satisfied with both taste and
This shiny, dark sauce is one I can proudly serve to anyone. I hope you'll give it a try,
because once you master it, you'll find it has so many uses. You can use it to frost cakes,
or marble it into a vanilla cheesecake. How about making some low carb crepes, filling them
with raspberries or strawberries, and then drizzling some ganache over them for a truly
decadent dessert? And you can always do what I do — just eat it out of the refrigerator when
you need a little chocolate fix.
Makes 6 servings
- 1/2 C heavy cream
- 4 T cocoa
- 1/4 C xylitol or erythritol
- 1/8 C granular Splenda
- 3 T non-hydrogenated shortening or coconut oil (do not use butter or vegetable oil)
- 3-4 drops sugar free vanilla extract
- additional Splenda or Sweet-n-Low packets (optional)
Place the cocoa, sweeteners, and shortening or coconut oil in a 2-cup capacity microwave safe
container. Microwave for 30 seconds to one minute, depending on the power of your microwave,
until the shortening is melted.
Approximate nutrition information using Hershey's cocoa, xylitol, and Splenda, with no additional
packets added, for a one-sixth serving: 158 calories; 14 g fat; 3 g carbs; 0.7 g fiber; 1 g protein;
5 g sugar alcohols.
Stir well to combine. The mixture will resemble very wet, gritty, dark mud, but just keep on
stirring until there is no dry cocoa or sweetener still visible.
Add the heavy cream and the vanilla extract, and stir briefly. Microwave for another 30 seconds,
remove from the microwave, and stir. Now the mixture will resemble a glass of milk that has had
way too many Oreo cookies dunked into it — lots of little chocolate bits suspended in the cream.
Microwave for another 30 seconds; remove and stir thoroughly, for at least 30 seconds to a minute.
Repeat this step until the cocoa has melted into the cream, and your ganache has achieved a nice,
thick, glossy texture. I can?t tell you exactly how many trips into the microwave you?ll need,
because that depends on your microwave. With my high-powered one, it usually takes only 3 or 4
Do not attempt to microwave for 2 minutes and be done with it. The secret to this recipe is gentle
heating and near-constant stirring. If you apply too much heat at once, the chocolate will ?seize?
and the sauce won?t come together.
Now, taste it. If it does not seem sweet enough to you, add a packet of Splenda or Sweet-n-Low
and stir well; taste again. Typically ganaches are made with bittersweet chocolate, a taste which
this recipe duplicates well. If you like sweet dark chocolate, you may need to add more than one
As the ganache cools, it thickens. If you pour it on ice cream, you'll get a bit of "magic shell"
effect. If you're using it to frost or fill a cake, cool it until it thickens enough to stay where
you put it, but not so much that you can?t handle it. After you've put it on the cake, you'll want
to refrigerate the cake to let it set up completely.
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, where it will harden to a delicious, eat-it-with-a-spoon
consistency. Reheat very gently using a low-power setting in your microwave or a double-boiler,
stirring constantly. If you heat it too quickly, the sauce may "break," but it will still taste
good. You may be able to repair it by stirring in another teaspoon of shortening to restore the
smooth, glassy texture.
Note: I can't vouch for the success of this recipe using Splenda alone, or using a liquid sweetener
like DaVinci or Torani syrups. It's important that the ganache not get wet at all, as that can
cause the chocolate to seize.
As always, I love to get mail, so if you have comments or questions, or if there is a
recipe you'd like to see converted to low carb, please drop me a line.
Copyright © June 2005 Joan O'Connell Hedman and Low Carb Luxury