I don't know about you, but I'm mad for cocoa nibs.
In case you're unfamiliar, these little nubbly bits are dried and fermented cacao beans--chocolate in its virgin form. They have a lightly fruity, slightly bitter (no more than coffee) taste that I find fascinating, and a wonderful foil to the sweetness in baked goods.
In short form: cocoa nibs make baked goods more interesting.
Case in point: these cookies, featuring cocoa nibs and toasted walnuts.
Without the mix-ins they're a fairly standard butter cookie, with a pleasantly tender, crumbly texture. But with the mix-ins, they're interesting and slightly fancy. And if you are what you eat, interesting and fancy aren't such bad things, don't you agree?
So. I adapted the base of this cookie from a recipe I found in a vintage recipe pamphlet.
It calls for 3 cups of flour but I found it difficult to incorporate that much, so I suggest 2 1/2 to 3 cups. But rely on your instincts.
The dough will be crumbly. But it shouldn't be too hard to handle.
When the dough seems crumbly but still able to clump into cookie-balls, that is the ideal texture.
Easy as Can Be Cocoa Nib Walnut Cookies
Makes about 40
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 1/2 cup cocoa nibs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup toasted walnut pieces
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional but suggested)
- Preheat the oven to 375. While it preheats, scatter the walnuts and cocoa nibs on a baking sheet and put them in the oven. Leave them to toast while the oven preheats, until they smell fragrant (it may be before the oven even preheats). Remove and set to the side.
- Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla; mix until incorporated.
- Add all of the salt, then add the flour bit by bit, mixing until a slightly crumbly dough comes together. (you may not use quite all of the flour).
- Gently fold in the cocoa nibs and walnuts, mixing until incorporated.
- Form into balls, and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 375 until golden.
- If desired, dust with confectioners' sugar.