Have you ever participated in a Secret Santa exchange? Additionally, have you ever participated in a Secret Santa Exchange where the gift you received was so overwhelming, it took months for you do some something about it? That’s where I am.
Sitting in my cupboard is a 5-pound bag of organic, raw cacao nibs I received from my Reddit Secret Santa last December. While generous, I have never ever cooked with cacao nibs. But I do know this— they are delicious when included in desserts.
For the uninitiated, cacao nibs are broken up pieces of cacao beans deprived of sugar, fat and the cooking process that constitutes of what we know as chocolate. It’s reminiscent of espresso beans in texture and taste— as well as leaving behind unslightly bits in your teeth. Eaten as-is, it has a rich chocolate taste, but without the help of sweetening, it can be too intense for some. Candied cacao nibs are another thing.
This is a great way to use raw cacao nibs short of folding it into a brownie batter. With a few ingredients, the nibs are transformed into an slightly nutty and sweet snack that satisfies a chocolate craving without indulging in a chocolate bar. It’s fine on its own but it’s especially wonderful on vanilla ice cream or plain oatmeal in the morning.
Candied Cacao Nibs
3/4 cup raw cacao nibs
½ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Heat sugar in a small saucepan over medium.
Stir until sugar has melted and add cacao nibs and combine until nibs are coated. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. (Mixture may start to smoke slightly.)
Remove from heat, add butter and cool on a cookie sheet, making sure to break up the mixture into small pieces. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.