The other day at work I noticed there was a package in my mailbox. It was from my boss, and it was a package for cacao nibs. There was a note on it asking if I could use it. Of course I could use it! I wasn’t super familiar with this ingredient, which are roasted and chopped cocoa beans, but I was sure that there was some sort of cookie or bar recipe that I could make with them. I took them home and did some searching for recipes.
There were all sorts of recipes online, many of them vegan, raw, etc. That’s not exactly my normal style, but there were more traditional recipes. I found one recipe that used coconut oil and I had planned to make that, but then I decided I wanted to make a bar cookie. This one looked the best, and it’s hard to go wrong with shortbread. I love toffee as well, so I thought that would be nice with the cacao nibs.
True to its shortbread roots, this recipe uses a lot of butter: 3 sticks! The original recipe used a combination of rice and regular flour, but I just used regular flour as that’s what I had. I used toffee bits that also had chocolate, which worked as would just plain toffee bits. These bars are super crumbly and crunchy. They aren’t super chocolaty, but they are super buttery, which is just as nice!
Shortbread with Cacao Nibs & Toffee
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups butter, room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cacao nibs
3/4 cup toffee bits
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter on medium until fluffy. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat again until light. With the mixer running on low, add the flour about ½ cup at a time. Add the last of the flour, the cacao nibs, and the toffee bits and stir until combined. You will likely need to stir with a spatula to get all of the ingredients integrated.
Spread the dough in the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Prick the dough evenly with a fork.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, until set. The longer the shortbread is baked, the crunchier it will be. If you prefer a softer cookie, bake for the lesser amount of time.
Allow to cool for about 20 minutes. Remove the shortbread from the pan and peel away the foil. Cut into squares or bars.
Recipe from Kate in the Kitchen