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Cacao Nib Cookies – For the Chocolate Lover Who Wants Something Different

Cacao Nib Cookies – For the Chocolate Lover Who Wants Something Different

cookies & brownies, reviews, cacao nib, chocolate

Cacao nib cookies are to chocolate chip cookies as vanilla bean ice cream is to French vanilla ice cream – each has its place.

Some of you will question why I would want to remove a sweet, melty chocolate chip and replace it with a hard, bitter, nut-like thing. I see your point.

You may be surprised to find that the bitter nibs are the perfect complement to a sweet cookie and allow you to truly enjoy the essence of the cacao in your cookie bites. While they are not a replacement for the chocolate chip cookie, cacao nib cookies are a nice change and will be treasured by chocolate lovers.

These cacao nib cookies were brought on by more Fancy Food Show loot (see my posts on Nutorious and Teeccino for other Fancy Food fun). I’m definitely going to make it back there in future years (though I tend to doubt that I’ll be able to pull off my seven hours straight of noshing while carting around a baby).

At the show, Jonathan and I stopped by to say hi to Art Pollard of Amano Artisan Chocolate. While I had interviewed him for my now basically defunct (or should I say on prolonged hiatus) blog, Food Interviews, I had never met him in person.

Art sent me away with four different kinds of cacao nibs to try. I think he meant to give me all five varieties, but accidentally gave me two bags of the Madagascar (as it turns out, that one was my favorite, so that was fine by me!).

Eating the nibs in cookies, salads, or anywhere you would use nuts is a treat, but the best part of the nib experience is opening and smelling the contents of the bags. Taking a big whiff of each open bag makes you feel like you are right in the chocolate factory – and each bag smells different. There is no way you could smell these cacao nibs and leave saying, “chocolate is chocolate.”

I baked some cookies with each of the four nib flavors that I had (Accra, Barlovento, Jembrana, and Madagascar), kept them separate, and had a taste-off. Of the four participants, two liked the Accra the best, one liked the Jembrana the best, and I liked the Madagascar the best. I guess you will just have to try them and see what your favorite is!

The Cacao Nib Cookie Recipe

I got the recipe for the cacao nib cookies straight from Allrecipes. They were labeled “Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.” They were not big, fat, or chewy (could it be that the nibs affected the cookie texture?). These cookies were best right out of the oven when they were chewy, soft, and warm. After cooling, they became hard and crispy. But, if you put a cookie on a paper towel in the microwave for 15 seconds, it’s back to its fresh from the oven perfection.

Because these cookies required the trip to the microwave, I wouldn’t call this the ideal recipe, but if you don’t mind the 15 second wait, these cookies are tops!

If you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, simply replace the chocolate chips with nibs and enjoy!

Here is my reprinting of the recipe from Allrecipes, with my slight change from chips to nibs:

3 from 2 votes

Cacao Nib Cookies – For the Chocolate Lover Who Wants Something Different


  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 C unsalted butter melted
  • 1 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 C cacao nibs or more, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F (165 C). Grease cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until well blended.
  4. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy.
  5. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.
  6. Stir in the cacao nibs by hand using a wooden spoon.
  7. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  8. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted.
  9. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.


Food History Facts

I thought about entering these cookies into Sugar High Friday’s event – The Test of Time. In order to do so, the dish had to be over one hundred years old or a reinvention of a dish that was one hundred years old. “Surely, chocolate chip cookies were invented over one hundred years ago,” I thought.

Not so.

According to Kitchen Project (no affiliation with Cupcake Project):

Ruth Wakefield invented chocolate chip cookies in 1930 at the Toll House inn she and her husband Keneth ran near Whitman, Massachusetts. Like a bed and breakfast she made food for her guests. One evening in 1937 she got the idea to make a chocolate butter cookie so she broke up one of the bars of semi-sweet chocolate that Andrew Nestle gave her. She thought that it would mix together with the dough & make all chocolate cookies . Needless to say, it didn’t. However the cookies came out decent so she served them. They of course were so good they had to be done again. She published the recipes in several newspapers and the recipe became very popular.

Even then, the cookies were still called chocolate crunch cookies. Apparently, pre-chocolate chip, Nestle tried including small choppers with their bars of chocolate so that people could more easily make the cookies. I wonder if the choppers at all resembled the chocolate chopper I have that is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.

Before you believe the entirety of the story on Kitchen Project, be sure to also read the Wikipedia page on chocolate chip cookies which stirs up a bit of controversy and is one of those sad big company screwing the little gal stories.

Oh, and…

Be sure to check out the cookie dough cupcakes using cacao nibs!

Love it? Share it!

15 comments on “Cacao Nib Cookies – For the Chocolate Lover Who Wants Something Different”

  1. Elle says:

    These sound really good! We recently bought a bag of cacao nibs and have been making them into truffles. But cookies? A must try!

  2. Hannah says:

    What a great idea- I must admit that my favorite part about a CCC is usually the dough, so it’s a shame that most people add so many chocolate chips that it overwhelms the whole cookie. Cacao nibs would be much more subtle and add a whole complexity of flavor- Must try this next time!

  3. ~~louise~~ says:

    Now, you know I will be saving this link Stef. I’m all for nibs and chocolate chip cookies which I will be posting about on the inventor’s birthday on June 17th.

    Your recipe is certainly an interesting “twist” and I absolutely LOVE the intro:)

    There are probably as many legends about the invention of the chocolate chip cookie as there are about Brunswick Stew. Here’s the one I’m most familiar with just scroll down a bit:)

    Thanks for sharing…

  4. Lauren says:

    Ooh, love the idea of crunchy cacao nibs in cookies! It’s always nice to see recipes incorporating these natural ingredients. Hopefully we can create more of a market for them. :)

    Beautiful blog!

  5. Elyse says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I recently bought a package of cacao nibs, and I’ve been at a loss for a good recipe in which to use them. I’m totally going to make these cookies! Yours look absolutely delicious!

  6. Scrumptious says:

    You are a genius! I love cocoa nibs and I actually find chocolate chips too sweet in cookies. My mouth is watering imagining whipping up a batch of these.

    Even though this one didn’t fit the timeline, I hope you will make an entry for Sugar High Friday this month. Your blog is so lovely and delicious!

  7. Sara says:

    Cacao nibs would be fantastic in cookies! I think there is definitely a place for them along side chocolate chip cookies.

  8. finsmom says:

    I was just looking at cocoa nibs on line and wondering how I would use them… now I know! Yum!

    Thanks for sharing! Great blog!

  9. Summer says:

    What a great idea! Those cookies look delicious. Summer

  10. Art says:

    I’m really glad you enjoyed the cocoa nibs. We work hard to ensure that they are roasted perfectly for all sorts of nibby recipes. Chocolate Chip / nib cookies are a perfect way to enjoy nibs. Crunchy like a nut but with all that chocolaty goodness. I’m going to have my wife use your recipe the next time she makes chocolate chip cookies!

  11. These sound fantastic! I’m linking to this post on my blog now!

  12. Kweejee says:

    We finally got around to trying this recipe and it turned out wonderful. We ended up putting in a little extra vanilla and some honey to sweeten it up more.

  13. Buni says:

    First, I want to let you know that I’m enjoying finding a few raw recipes on your site. (thank you!)

    Second, I can’t help but notice that, here and there, you slight certain aspects of raw, texture, using cacao nibs, etc… I’d like to let your readers know that these observations are apples-to-oranges comparisons. The raw / living foods lifestyle is not about this – it’s about total health, total nutrition, and being humane toward other animals. I stress the word ‘lifestyle’.

  14. Stef says:

    Buni – Any slight was unintentional. Thanks for the information.

  15. Love your pretty picture of the cacao nibs on the white plate! I found your site while searching for other cacao nib recipes…I just made a Cacao Nib & Frozen Banana Milkshake. SO GOOD. Now I’m searching for new cacao recipes!

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