Cocoa nibs are bits of fermented, dried, roasted and crushed cacao beans. They are pretty much just chocolate that hasn’t been ground and mixed with sugar yet. Despite their lack of sweetness, they have an intense chocolatey taste and a crunchy texture that is fun and adaptable to both sweet and savoury dishes. They can be used on top of ice-creams and cupcakes, added to oatmeals and cereal bowls, inside cakes and cookies, or even caramelized with nuts and seeds.
If you want to play fancy, you can take inspiration from master chefs that add cocoa nibs to salads, to fish and meat cuts to create a crunchy crust, or they include them in vegetable sauces. But cocoa nibs aren’t just a versatile ingredient. Did you know that cocoa nibs are also packed with an impressive amount of nutrients?
They’re among the least processed cocoa products on the market and substantially lower in sugar than other chocolate products, making them a healthier alternative for chocolate lovers. Unlike many chocolate products, cocoa nibs are naturally low in sugar. They’re also a good source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats (all nutrients that help promote feelings of fullness). They’re rich in many minerals, including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and copper. Additionally, cocoa nibs are packed with potent plant compounds, including flavonoid antioxidants, which have been associated with numerous health benefits.
Of course, there are cocoa nibs and cocoa nibs! It all depends on the cacao used. When the cacao is fine flavor, the cocoa nibs will lack any pungent bitterness, in favor of fruity, nutty, floral and even spicy tasting notes that will delight the palate. When the cacao is low-quality, then the bitterness of the cocoa nibs will run the risk to become even sharper and unpleasant. If you are attentive to the chocolate you buy, use that same care when shopping for your cocoa nibs as well.
Now let us know: do you like cocoa nibs, and how do you like to use them?