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Cocoa nibs - more than just bitter crunch?

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!

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: mcf

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

    2. 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

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

      2. 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:
        http://www.chocolatealchemy.com/recip...

        a couple of recipes from Elizabeth Falkner:
        http://pghtasted.blogspot.com/2009/02...

        http://www.ezrapoundcake.com/archives...

        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. 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

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

          2. Alice Medrich has a wonderful ice cream recipe using cocoa nibs. The end result is a heavenly, light chocolate flavor.
            http://www.bakingobsession.com/2008/0...

            1 Reply
            1. re: emily

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