The cocoa nib was an ingredient that I previously had zero experience with and to be honest had never even heard of prior to finding this recipe. When I came across the recipe and the mystery ingredient, I was instantly intrigued and had to give them a go. After some research, I found that cocoa nibs are the dry-roasted pieces of the cocoa bean that are a result of chocolate processing. Essentially, they are perfectly roasted cocoa beans separated from their husks and broken into small bits. They are the essence of chocolate. Nibs add crunchiness and subtle chocolate flavor to baked goods and savory dishes. They make a great substitute for roasted nuts or chocolate chips, without added sweetness.
Finding out what cocoa nibs were was a lot easier than actually finding cocoa nibs for purchase. I was able to find a bunch of online sellers, but came up fruitless in my search amongst the local supermarkets. Cocoa nibs are often deemed "health food" because of their high concentration of antioxidants and that fact actually led me to the right place to find this unique ingredient - Whole Foods. They weren't cheap, but alas I had everything I needed to make these bad boys.
Cocoa Nib Shortbread
Adapted from Martha Stewart Cookie iPad App
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in upper third portion of the oven. Whisk to combine flour and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down side of bowl as necessary. Gradually add confectioners' sugar;
beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture all at once, then add cocoa nibs; mix just until combined.
3. Divide dough in half, and shape into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour.
Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds; (pardon the camouflage effect the cookies have on my counter tops, that granite should be called cocoa nib counter!)
space 1 inch apart on parchment or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheets. Chill 30 minutes.
4. Bake until golden, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool completely. Drizzle with melted semisweet chocolate using a fork, if desired.
Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe