cacao nibs

Ingredient Spotlight: Cacao Nibs

I thought I’d make a few posts about some new ingredients that I’ve found particularly useful. Things you might not think of on your own, but that I’ve really enjoyed. And for the first one I’m going to talk about cacao nibs!

You may have never heard of cacao nibs before. I’ve never seen them in my regular grocery store, so they aren’t so common. You can find them in health food stores, and I got these at Whole Foods.

 cacao nibsq

Plain and simple, cacao nibs are unprocessed chocolate. It’s cacao beans that have been roasted and prepped right up to the point in which they’re used to make chocolate, but instead they’re chopped up and sold as is.

Cacao nibs are really high in magnesium – an important mineral most of us are deficient in. There are 272 mg of magnesium per 100 grams of cacao nibs! And they have higher levels of antioxidants than blueberries! They’re also good sources of tryptophan (which elevates mood), chromium (which stabilizes blood sugar and controls appetite), theobromine (which boosts energy), flavanols (antioxidants which improve circulation), and monounsaturated fats (which raise healthy HDL cholesterol levels.) 

They’re not super sweet, so I don’t necessarily like them on their own, but they have a super-duper crunch and chocolate flavor that goes REALLY well with other things!

cacao nibs

Paired with something else that’s sweet, these add really great texture. And I’m all about the texture! In particular, I’ve liked these on top of spelt cakes or banana bread covered with Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter.

cacao nibs

Stick some banana slices on there too, and between the crunch of the nibs and the sweet creaminess of the Chocolate Peanut Butter and the bananas it’s heavenly!

I’ve also liked them on top of homemade ice cream. We recently made a batch with fresh strawberries for strawberry ice cream, and these were really good on top! Nice crunch with a hint of chocolate, but not overwhelming.

cacao nibs

They’re also good in Magic Milkshakes, and added into different baked goods.

Now, I’m NOT saying these are the same thing as eating a handful of chocolate chips. They’re not! They’re not at all as sweet. But pair them with other foods that could use a chocolatey crunch, and they’re great! I find that they provide that something extra that I’m sometimes craving, and help fight back urges to eat things I shouldn’t.

What other uses for cacao nibs can you think of?