Encyclopedia Archives: G

gold leaf

gold leaf (gohld leef) noun

gold leaf-1

Gold that is .3- to .5-microns thin and sold in sheets. In order for gold to be safe enough for ingestion, it must be at least 23 karats. Twenty-four-karat gold is pure, but very soft in this state. (This is also why most jewelry is 14k or 18k and rarely 24k.) When gold is less than 24k, it has been combined with other alloys, such as silver, copper or other alloys (which is fine for jewelry), but for food it must only be mixed with silver leaf, which is also edible.

Gold leaf is not digested, per se. It is inert and passes through your digestive system without being absorbed and is considered safe at 23k. Both Europeans and the Japanese have century-old traditions of using gold with food as an embellishment.1 Goldschläger (cinnamon schnapps) is a commonly available alcohol that has gold leaf suspended within.

Image: Peter Muka

Bakepedia Tips

  • Gold leaf is sold in packages of usually 20 to 25 sheets that are just under 4-inches square and can be found through artist-supply stores. It can also be found in flakes, which can be shaken onto drinks or desserts. Try little specks of gold on chocolate truffles or in our Champagne Gelée.


  1. Ediblegold.com


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ganache [guhnahsh] noun

chocolate ganache recipe

A multi-purpose emulsion of chocolate and cream that can be used in multiple ways. A basic version is made in a 2:1 chocolate to cream ratio (by weight). While it can be as simple as combining these two components, ganache can also contain additional ingredients such as butter, to enrich it, or corn syrup to lend shine. Liqueurs can be added and herbs and spices can be infused in the cream to provide flavor.

In its liquid form, ganache can be used as a glaze for cake, a simple chocolate sauce for ice cream or it can be poured into a baked tart shell; it becomes a rich truffle tart after chilling. In its room-temperature form, it can be used as a creamy frosting or combined with other ingredients to make a mousse. It can also be whipped into a lighter, aerated version and used as a filling or frosting. Chilled, it can be rolled into truffles.

The origin of ganache is somewhat disputed. The Swiss claim to have been using ganache for truffle centers for hundreds of years while the French assert that it was invented at the renowned Patisserie Siraudin in Paris around the year 1850. Another colorful story suggests that a 19th century apprentice in a French patisserie accidentally spilled hot cream into a bowl of chocolate. His angry superior called him “un ganache,” which can be translated as “idiot or fool,” however upon tasting the new creation he realized that a new recipe was born.


Bakepedia Tips 

Ganache that is not prepared properly will break, meaning it will become grainy and/or separated. Sometimes it breaks because of poor preparation technique; sometimes it is due to the amount of cacao butter and cacao mass in the particular chocolate used, which will not combine smoothly with the amount of cream – the ratios are off. This often happens when a recipe was developed with a lower percentage chocolate and you end up making it with chocolate that has a much higher cacao and/or cocoa butter percentage. Broken ganache can be repaired: divide it, chilling one half while heating the other, and then carefully stirring the warmed ganache into the cooled ganache. Watching carefully as it is being prepared will often help prevent it from breaking; if it begins to separate, add a teaspoon or two of cold cream to the mixture and continue to stir.

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galette [gah-lette] noun

Originally a flat, round cake in a range of sizes made from rye, barley, wheat and oats and sweetened with honey. This baked good dates back to ancient times. In the European Middle Ages, more refined regional varieties arose, some with chestnuts, some with candied fruit, others with marzipan. A version found in Normandy during the Middle Ages most closely resembles the galette of today. It was made from puff pastry and filled with sweet jam and cream. Today, the galette is recognized as a rustic, free-form tart made with classic puff pastry or pie dough and filled with a sweetened fruit filling of some kind. 

Instead of being molded in a tart pan, galettes are made by placing the filling directly on top of a piece of rolled-out dough, and then the edges of the dough are folded up and over in order to keep the filling from overflowing. The center is left open.

The term galette is sometimes used to refer to other baked goods as well, including the Breton Galette, which is a large buckwheat pancake-type pastry with a savory filling, or in French Canada where it references a large cookie.

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