I know this is nothing new to the chocolate connoisseurs, but for some inexplicable reasons, I only bought my first pack of cocoa nibs last week. And that was because of my recent obsession with all chocolate related cookbooks.
Such is the magnitude of "advertisement". When you see something often enough, you will unconsciously crave for it. In my case, I started to crave for cocoa nibs. Or any pastries consists of cocoa nibs. So obsess till the point of taking a 40 minutes ride to the neareast Whole Food just to buy a packet of this.
Once home, I carefully scanned through the myriad of cocoa nibs related recipes, and decided to commemorate my first cocoa nib's experience with Alice Medrich's recipe called Nibby Hazelnut Cookies. The original recipe used pecan, but I like hazelnut better, so I went ahead to use just that.
The cookies turned up just the way the recipe promised, tender and crunchy. And the flavor of the cocoa beans developed and infused over time, according to the recipe. But apparently, cocoa nibs tasted just like toasted nuts. I didn't get the intense chocolate flavor that I anticipated. The flavor that I conjured in my mind. In fact, Alice Medrich has warned me in her book- Bittersweet that the cocoa nibs are "unsweetened and austere to a palate that expects chocolate". So all my expectation is totally unfounded.
I left the cookies out a few days to let the flavor melds. They are pleasant, but not memorable enough for me to dream about (like the World Peace Cookies). Now that I have a whole box of cocoa nibs, I guess I will continue to experiment with other recipes, hopefully the next one will be a better one.
Nibby Hazelnut Cookies
adapted from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet
1 cup (3.5 ounces)toasted, skinned hazelnuts, chopped
1/2 pound ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
2 cups all purpose flour
Combine the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a electric mixer and beat until creamy and smooth but not fluffly (about 1 minute). Stir or beat in cocoa nibs and chopped nuts. Turn off the mixer and add all the flour at once. Beat on low speed until combine.
Form the dough into 12- inch log about 2 inches thick. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. (The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months).
Note: I baked some and left the rest of the dough in the freezer.
Use a sharp knife to cut the cold dough log into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place the cookies at least 1.5 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until cookies are light golden brown at the edges. Let the cookies firm up on the pan for about 1 minute before transferring them to a rack and let cool completely.
For best flavor and texture, store the cookies in an airtight container for at least 24 hours before serving. (They can be stored airtight for at least 1 month).