04 December 2011

saved shortbread snafu: cacao nib lace cookies

On Wednesday when I came into a box of Sharffen Berger cacao nibs. I was soooo excited! I spent 3 days looking for recipes, and ultimately decided to use the Nibby Shortbread Cookie Recipe provided on the side of the box. For one of the only times in my life, I followed a recipe ingredients exactly. Do these look like shortbread? Nope! Because they so weren't. Clearly there was too much butter/not enough flour, because look how much they melted and spread. But thankfully they turned into something else, something delicate that still pack a wallop of flavor. So, I present to you... cacao nib lace cookies :-) 
Not what I expected, but sooo delightful. Light, crispy, super buttery with that punch and bite of cacao nib.

So what's a cacao nib? It's basically raw chocolate - the chocolate before it's processed with milks and sugar and other flavors to become the chocolate bars/chips you know and love. They're teeny little pieces that don't melt, so they stay crunchy in a recipe. Because it's unsweetened chocolate, there is a distinct chocolate flavor but it gives way almost instantly to a complex almost but not quite bitterness reminiscent of espresso. The flavor sings when added to something sweet, and these do exactly that.

The only thing I can possibly think of that I did wrong is over mix the batter. Oh, and I refrigerated the dough before baking, but I do that with all of my shortbreads to excellent results. But hey, if you follow this word for word, maybe yours will end up like shortbread. If they end up like these, though, you'll be just as lucky.

Cacao Nib Shortbread Lace Cookies
directly from the Scharffen Berger Cacao Nib Box

1 C butter, slightly softened
3/4 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz (1/2 package) Scharffen Berger Cacao Nibs
1 1/2 C all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Use paddle to cream butter, sugar, and salt just until incorporated. Mix in cacao nibs. Gradually add flour until combined. Do not over mix.

Using the palm of your hand, roll into 1" balls and flatten.

Place on cookie sheets, and bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

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