It takes chocolate pieces and heavy cream to make a good silky chocolate glaze. However, heavy cream is not a staple in every kitchen. It is a highly perishable ingredient that is used in many recipes, but mainly for sauces, fillings, frosting, glazes and similar recipes. Heavy cream is also a diary product that is easily substituted in many of these dishes, including chocolate glaze. Before you try a substitution for heavy cream, you must understand the point of heavy cream and why a substitution like half-and-half creamer works in chocolate glaze.
Although heavy cream shares the same food category with half-and-half -- they are both dairy products -- the two are not the same in content and consistency. Heavy cream has more milk fat in it, a favorable trait for sauces and similar recipes. Half-and-half is the much lighter of the two. According to "The Perfect Scoop," half-and-half has between and 11 and 18 percent milk fat, while heavy cream contains about 36 percent milk fat. More people have half-and-half creamer on hand than heavy cream, because the half-and-half is used in coffee, a daily staple for most households.
Dairy and Chocolate Glaze
The dairy component in the chocolate glaze is used to add a creaminess to the chocolate, to thin it out enough to drizzle over the pastry.The milk fat-based ingredient is needed to mix with the chocolate as it melts. Water-based ingredients separate during the melting and the oil-based ingredients create an inedible mess. The diary component in the chocolate glaze preserves the flavor of the glaze while thinning it to the consistency needed to coat or drizzle onto a pastry. Corn syrup is sometimes added to make the glaze glisten.
The milk fat is needed alongside the chocolate to make the emulsification known as a glaze. Heavy cream has the highest concentration of milk fat, but it isn't the only dairy product that can make a glaze. According to the Joy of Baking, you can substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream without adding another ingredient to aid in creating the glaze. Half-and-half makes a lighter glaze that is not as creamy as the one heavy cream makes. The half-and-half glaze is not as rich, but it can drizzle or coat any pastry as needed.
Milk and evaporated milk can also be used to make glaze. However, these dairy ingredients need additional fat content to emulsify the chocolate into glaze. Butter is the additional fat used. A few tablespoons to 1/2 cup of butter is necessary. The evaporated milk may need some whole milk added to it in order to get the right consistency for the glaze.