Cocoa nibs are the cleaned, roasted, and crushed cocoa beans that have been separated from their shells through the process of winnowing. The nibs are milled to make cocoa liquor, the basis of chocolate. They are often sold in small packages at specialty markets and are often used in dishes such as mole and chocolate desserts. Many people also snack on the bittersweet nibs for their nutritional value as a diuretic, heart stimulant, and vasodilator.
Cacao nibs are irregular shaped bits of cacoa beans ranging from the size of a sesame seed to the size of a pea. A bag of cacoa nibs looks very much like a bag of finely milled mulch.
Selecting and Buying
Preparation and Use
Sprinkle on ice cream, in tempered chocolates, on roasted meat or fish dishes where a bit of texture is desired, as garnishment to chili or even on a hearty pasta dish. Nibs do not need to be cooked, and should be used sparingly due to their bittersweet taste.
Conserving and Storing
Store in a clean, dry container in a cupboard to avoid long-term exposure to sunlight.