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Cocoa nibs - more than just bitter crunch?

jaykat Mar 18, 2012 04:52 PM

I had been intrigued for a while by cocoa nibs so finally bought some raw organic cocoa nibs. I tasted them and was underwhelmed. I roasted them slightly and they still just tasted bitter (and I am a lover of dark chocolate).

So now I have mixed in a few spoonfuls into some cherry/choc chip biscotti. They are baking at the moment.

But please tell me if there is a way to make cocoa nibs taste fabulous and chocolate-y. If they are just for texture and crunch, I could use nuts. All ideas welcome - I have a whole bag of cocoa nibs to get through!

  1. b
    blinknoodle Mar 21, 2012 10:13 PM

    You could always try your hand at a larabar recipe - use a food processor to blend together dates + nuts + cocoa powder + cocoa nibs.

    My personal favourite is a combination of dates, cashews, almonds, rolled oats, maca (optional but so good!), vanilla, agave, salt and cacao nibs. The cocoa nibs are there more as a textural contrast, reminiscent of chocolate chips.


    1. emily Mar 19, 2012 01:16 PM

      Alice Medrich has a wonderful ice cream recipe using cocoa nibs. The end result is a heavenly, light chocolate flavor.

      1 Reply
      1. re: emily
        paulj Mar 19, 2012 02:19 PM

        There most of the nibs are used to infuse the cream.

      2. paulj Mar 18, 2012 06:20 PM

        Have you read up on how raw cocoa beans are turned into chocolate? The roasting, the grinding, the addition of sugar, etc?

        Have you tasted a really dark chocolate, something that more than 80%? Does that taste chocolate-y to you?

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj
          mcf Mar 19, 2012 12:15 PM

          Yes, up to 85% or 90 tastes really choclatey to me, depending upon the brand or varietal.

        2. goodhealthgourmet Mar 18, 2012 05:44 PM

          Alice Medrich celebrated cacao nibs in her book Bittersweet. unfortunately my copy is packed in storage on the other side of the country, but i actually found a website that links to a bunch of the recipes:

          a couple of recipes from Elizabeth Falkner:


          nibs are wonderful in savory dishes. they're fantastic ground with spices and used as a rub for meats. you can also add them to chili, BBQ sauce, mole...

          when using them in baked goods & desserts, you just need to balance the bitterness with a little sweetness. and things like vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, coconut milk, caramel & coffee really complement the flavor. i particularly love to mix them into granola, brittle and chocolate bark (they look & taste great in white bark), because they add texture and tame the sweetness. heck, you can even just caramelize them in sugar syrup and snack on them!

          1. m
            maxie Mar 18, 2012 05:33 PM

            First - sorry if this is a duplicate response. Something happened mid-entry. My caveat: I'm not sure these are as chocolatey as you desire.

            I like the Alice Medrich cocoa nib panna cotta. The flavor is somewhat elusive -- the color is pale and vanilla looking, but the flavor is vaguely chocolate. I like it as part of a chocolate trio, or with a salted chocolate sable and chocolate sauce or a chocolate tuile saddle and truffle. Alice recommends blackberries, which I think would be divine. http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/Recipes/...

            They are good in granola. I would add the nibs after baking the mix.

            Medrich has several cookie applications in Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy.

            MCF - I seem to recall you are a fan of the vegan banana "ice cream" (is that you?) I would try throwing some in the blender/processor with the frozen bananas if you enjoy crunchy bits in your ice cream.

            1 Reply
            1. re: maxie
              mcf Mar 19, 2012 12:14 PM

              VEGAN, MOI???? Sorry, wrong number! I'll eat any critter than can't run away, no waste. ;-)

            2. mcf Mar 18, 2012 04:54 PM

              I just escavated some from the bowels of my freezer today, too, so I'm eagerly awaiting responses.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mcf
                maxie Mar 18, 2012 07:06 PM

                Sorry, mcf. I believe my comment below applies to greygarious, who has a professed interest in banana ice cream. Poor memory.

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