Walnut cookies with caramelised cacao nibs

Walnut cookies with caramelised cacao nibs


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Cacao nibs are the most rustic type of cocoa found in the commercial world and so they have the most intense cocoa flavour. Cacao nibs are raw chocolate, and can be bought in powder or nibs, and are just small pieces of the crushed, dried beans. They are not interfered with in any way – no additives, no processing – so they retain all of their goodness.

In this recipe, the nibs have been caramelised to add another dimension to the cookies. After baking, the caramel melts into the cookies, and the nibs stay crunchy with a sweet caramel aftertaste. The pieces of nuts and nibs need to be very small otherwise, the cookies will crumble!

  • Caramelised cacao nibs

  • 100g of granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 100g of cacao nibs
  • 1 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • Walnut cookies

  • 100g of unsalted butter
  • 50g of walnuts, very finely chopped or ground
  • 1/2 tsp chocolate extract
  • 80g of brown sugar
  • 90g of rolled oats
  • 40g of oat bran
  • To decorate

  • white chocolate, for decoration
  • cacao nibs, kept whole for decoration
Line a baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray
To begin, make the caramelised cacao nibs for the cookies. Mix together the sugar, water, and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Stir well until the sugar has dissolved
Cook over a medium heat without stirring. When it comes to the boil, insert a sugar thermometer and leave to bubble away
Cook until it achieves a nice medium amber colour — this should be at around 165°C. It will smell like caramel as it gets darker
At this point, remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the cacao nibs, stirring to coat with the caramel. Add the butter and mix to combine
Tip onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading into a thin, even layer. Allow to cool completely at room temperature until cool and hard. You can store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, if desired
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease a 12 cup biscuit or muffin mould and set aside
To make the walnut cookies, add the butter to a pan and stir in the chocolate extract and sugar. Switch off the heat
Add the oats, oat bran and nuts and mix well. Bash the cacao caramel into very small pieces by placing it into a bag and hitting with a rolling pin. Combine with the rest of the ingredients
Spoon the mixture into the muffin or biscuit moulds — I measured a tablespoon per cookie. Fill the moulds and press the cookie dough in firmly
Bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbling and light golden
Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool completely before unmoulding
While the cookies are cooling, melt the white chocolate in the bain marie
Lay the cookies onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and spoon over the melted white chocolate in a pattern of your choosing. Sprinkle over a few more cacao nibs and allow to set before eating
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