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Do Cacao Nibs Melt? Plus, 13 Decadent Cacao Nib Recipes!

Have you tried cacao nibs yet? If not, it's probably only a matter of time. Because these tasty little superfoods are popping up everywhere, from health food stores to restaurants and smoothie bars. After all, their rich chocolate flavor just makes everything taste better. But if you're thinking about experimenting with these chocolatey nibs yourself, you may be wondering a few things, like do cacao nibs melt? And what exactly do you do with them?

Come with us as we explore these questions and more—plus offer up 13 decadent ways you can start using cacao nibs today!

What Are Cacao Nibs?

Cacao nibs are crushed bits of cacao beans, which come from the cacao tree. If you're thinking cacao sounds like "cocoa," you're not far off—cacao beans are simply cocoa beans in their raw form.

In other words, unlike cocoa, raw cacao isn't roasted, so more of the nutrients that give chocolate its documented health benefits are left intact.

So, Do Cacao Nibs Melt?

Raw cacao beans have a texture that's very similar to that of coffee beans, which means they and their nibs can't actually melt.

However, they can be roasted and turned into cocoa beans or ground using a coffee grinder or food processor to create cacao powder—or cocoa powder, if you roast them before grinding.

You can even use a high-powered food processor to break the cacao beans down into their constituent solids and fats to create a ground cacao that takes on the appearance of melted chocolate.

However, a food processor isn't exactly a precise machine, so using one to make chocolate can result in a somewhat grainy final product.

If you're looking for a homemade chocolate that's as silky smooth as the kind you buy in the grocery store, you may want to invest in what's called a melanger, or wet grinder. Melangers are available for both commercial and residential use, so many people actually keep one in the home for this very purpose.

13 Decadent Cacao Nib Recipes

Whether you've got a hankering to become your own personal chocolatier or simply want to start adding raw cacao nibs to some of your favorite treats, these 13 decadent cacao nib recipes are sure to satisfy the chocoholic in anyone!

1. Homemade Chocolate Bars

What better way to really get acquainted with cacao nibs than to make your own homemade raw chocolate bars? And this recipe from Oh, The Things We'll Make! is so simple, you'll wonder why you never tried doing it before. You can even make it paleo friendly by using your favorite low-carb sweetener.

Homemade Chocolate Bars

INGREDIENTS

  • 15 ounces cacao nibs
  • 2-2/3 ounces sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add sugar and cacao nibs to food processor and puree until melted chocolate forms.
  2. Pour into molds and cool.


    2. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

    One of the best ways to enjoy cacao nibs is to add them to smoothies, like our peanut butter banana smoothie. Whether thrown in a food processor or Vitamix along with the rest of your smoothie ingredients or sprinkled on top for a delicious dark chocolate crunch, smoothies and cacao go together like, well, peanut butter and chocolate!

    Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 banana, frozen
    • 1/4 cup peanut butter
    • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
    • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
    • 2 teaspoons DHA oil
    • 1-1/2 cups hemp milk

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix and puree until smooth.
    2. Top with additional cacao nibs, if desired.


    3. Candied Cacao Nibs

    For a truly decadent treat, these candied cacao nibs from The Spruce Eats are a must-try. Eaten on their own or added to brownies, muffins, cakes, or candy, they take rich chocolate taste to a whole new level.

    Candied Cacao Nibs

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 1 tablespoon organic light corn syrup
    • 1 cup cacao nibs
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Grease a foil-lined baking sheet.
    2. Add water, corn syrup, and sugar to a saucepan and combine well.
    3. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook until it reaches a medium amber color and gives off an aroma of caramel.
    4. Remove from heat and mix in cacao nibs, coating well.
    5. Add butter and combine well.
    6. Spread a thin layer on baking sheet and allow to cool.
    7. Break into pieces and eat as is or add to your favorite desserts.

      4. Coconut Oil Fat Bombs with Cacao Nibs and Flake Salt

      If you're following a paleo- or keto-friendly diet—and even if you're not—you're going to love this luscious recipe from With Food and Love. And they're super simple to make too!

      Coconut Oil Fat Bombs with Cacao Nibs and Flake Salt

      INGREDIENTS

      • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
      • 1/2 cup cacao powder
      • 8 drops liquid stevia
      • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs

      For garnish:

      INSTRUCTIONS

      1. Grease a muffin pan with coconut oil.
      2. Whisk together cacao powder, melted coconut oil, and stevia.
      3. Pour equal portions into each muffin cup and garnish with cacao nibs.
      4. Place in freezer for approximately 5 minutes.
      5. Remove from freezer and garnish with salt and more cacao nibs.
      6. Return to freezer until completely frozen.


      5. Worms in Dirt Dessert Smoothie

      Who says smoothies can't have a sense of humor? Perfect for Halloween or any time you feel like having a little fun, our worms in dirt dessert smoothie is a truly decadent treat you and your kids will love—once you get past the name!

      Worms in Dirt Dessert Smoothie

      INGREDIENTS

      • 2 bananas, frozen
      • 1/2 cup chocolate almond milk
      • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
      • 1 tablespoon chocolate espresso beans
      • 1 teaspoon activated charcoal
      • Splash vanilla extract
      For garnish:
      • 2 chocolate sandwich cookies
      • Gummy worms

      INSTRUCTIONS

      1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix and puree until smooth.
      2. Garnish with crushed cookies and gummy worms.


        6. Chewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars

        For a protein-rich snack that gives you the chocolate fix you crave, why not try these chewy cherry, almond, and cacao nib granola bars from Half Baked Harvest? With the goodness of cherries, almonds, granola, and cacao, you'll have a healthy snack that's good for you too.

        Chewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars

        INGREDIENTS

        • 2 cups rolled oats
        • 1-2/3 cups toasted buckwheat
        • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
        • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds (optional)
        • 1/2 cup cacao nibs
        • 1/2 to 1 cup dried cherries
        • 3/4 cup honey or brown rice syrup
        • 1 cup almond butter
        • 1/4 cup coconut oil
        • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
        • Pinch salt

        INSTRUCTIONS

        1. Use parchment paper to line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
        2. Combine oats, buckwheat, almonds, flaxseeds, cocoa nibs, and dried cherries in a medium-sized bowl.
        3. Bring honey, almond butter, and coconut oil to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently.
        4. Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt.
        5. Pour mixture over oats and stir until well combined.
        6. Press into the baking dish, cover, and refrigerate until set, approximately 1 hour.
        7. Cut into bars and keep refrigerated or store in a cool, dark location.

        7. Lemon and Almond Butter Oat Bites

        You may not often think of lemon and chocolate in the same setting, but these lemon and almond butter oat bites from Naturally Sassy are absolutely fabulous!

        Lemon and Almond Butter Oat Bites

        INGREDIENTS

        • 2 cups oats
        • 1 cup almond butter
        • 1/3 cup honey
        • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
        • Juice 1/2 lemon
        • Zest 1 lemon

        For chocolate topping:

        • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
        • 1/4 cup maple syrup
        • 1 cup cacao powder

        INSTRUCTIONS

        1. Preheat oven to 180 °F and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
        2. Combine oats, honey, almond butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cacao nibs in a medium-sized bowl.
        3. Press mixture evenly into pan.
        4. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown and let cool.
        5. Combine melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and cacao powder in a medium-sized bowl and spread over almond mixture.
        6. Place in refrigerator until set.

        8. Raw Chocolate Nib Brownies

        Ready for a better alternative to store-bought brownies? Then you're going to love these raw chocolate nib brownies from Nutrition Stripped. With tons of protein and superfoods galore, we can honestly say, yes, Virginia, there is a healthy brownie—and it's vegan too!

        Raw Chocolate Nib Brownies

        INGREDIENTS

        • 2 cups dates, pitted
        • 1-1/4 cup walnuts
        • 1 cup almonds
        • 1/4 cup pistachios
        • 1 cup cacao powder
        • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
        • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
        • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
        • 1 teaspoon sea salt
        • 1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)
        • Dash cinnamon

        INSTRUCTIONS

        1. Finely grind almonds, walnuts, and pistachios in a food processor or Vitamix.
        2. Add dates and blend until mixture is well combined.
        3. Add cacao powder and blend until well combined.
        4. Pour mixture into a large bowl and stir in rest of ingredients.
        5. Pour mixture into a 7 x 7-inch parchment-lined pan and press to form an even layer.
        6. Chill in refrigerator until set.

        9. Go Nuts for This Protein Smoothie

        Feel like spicing it up? Then our go nuts for this protein smoothie is just what you're looking for. With oodles of protein and superfood spices cinnamon and nutmeg, this smoothie is as healthy as it is tasty.

        Go Nuts for This Protein Smoothie

        INGREDIENTS

        • 1 banana, frozen
        • 1/2 cup walnuts
        • 1/2 cup almond milk
        • 1/2 cup coconut milk
        • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
        • Dash cinnamon
        • Dash nutmeg

        INSTRUCTIONS

        1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix and puree until smooth.

         

        10. Chunky Coco Monkey Ice Cream

        Homemade ice cream with cacao nibs? Yes, please! And this chunky coco monkey ice cream from Vegukate is so simple even a... We're not going to say it.

        Chunky Coco Monkey Ice Cream

        INGREDIENTS

        • 5 ripe bananas, sliced, frozen
        • 5 dates, pitted, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
        • 1 can coconut milk, chilled
        • 1 vanilla bean pod, seeds removed
        • 1/2 cup walnuts
        • 1/3 cup cacao nibs

        INSTRUCTIONS

        1. Place chilled can of coconut milk upside down, open, and pour coconut water into a cup.
        2. Place remaining coconut cream as well as soaked dates in a high-speed food processor or Vitamix and puree until smooth, thinning as necessary with coconut water.
        3. Add frozen banana slices and vanilla and blend until mixture takes on the appearance of soft serve ice cream, thinning as necessary with coconut water.
        4. Add cacao nibs and walnuts and combine well.
        5. Place ice cream in freezer for 3 to 4 hours or until set.

        11. Triple Chocolate Chia Pudding

        They may be tiny, but chia seeds are one of the world's most potent superfoods. So when you combine them with cacao nibs, you know you're about to have a superfood extravaganza on your hands. And that's exactly what you get with this triple chocolate chia pudding from Choosing Chia!

        Triple Chocolate Chia Pudding

        INGREDIENTS

        • 1/4 cup chia seeds
        • 1/2 cup coconut milk
        • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond milk
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        • 1/4 cup cacao powder
        • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
        • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
        • 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips

        INSTRUCTIONS

        1. Place coconut milk, almond milk, chia seeds, vanilla extract, cacao powder, and maple syrup in a medium-sized bowl and mix until combined well.
        2. Let mixture sit for approximately 5 minutes.
        3. Stir once more, cover, and place in the refrigerator for approximately 1 hour.
        4. Once chilled, stir in dark chocolate chips and cacao nibs.
        5. Serve with nuts, fresh fruit, or additional chocolate.

        12. Cacao Nib and Oat Scones

        These cacao nib and oat scones from Naturally Ella are a great way to add a healthy chocolate twist to a traditional English favorite.

        Cacao Nib and Oat Scones

        INGREDIENTS

        • 1/2 cup oats
        • 1-1/4 cups unbleached flour or whole wheat pastry flour
        • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
        • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
        • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
        • 8 tablespoons butter
        • 1/2 cup cacao nibs
        • 1 large egg
        • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
        • 3 tablespoons honey
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        • 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream

        INSTRUCTIONS

        1. Preheat oven to 425 ˚F.
        2. Grind oats using a food processor or Vitamix until they resemble a coarse flour.
        3. Add baking powder, flour, baking soda, and sea salt and blend until well combined.
        4. Add butter and blend until butter pieces are about the size of a small pea.
        5. Add cacao nibs, mix until thoroughly combined, and pour mixture into a large bowl.
        6. Whisk yogurt, egg, honey, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl.
        7. Add to dry ingredients and mix until combined.
        8. Move dough to a floured surface and shape into a log approximately half an inch thick.
        9. Cut dough into six equal portions.
        10. Place dough on a parchment-lined baking tray and brush with heavy cream.
        11. Bake until golden brown, approximately 16 to 20 minutes.

        13. Mint Chocolate Chip Digestion Dessert Smoothie

        You know those little mints hotels like to put on your pillow? It turns out they may have been on to something after all. Because mint is known for its ability to soothe digestive woes—and it's really refreshing too.

        So the next time you're in need of a little digestive support, or simply feel like a cool and invigorating dessert, treat yourself to our mint chocolate chip digestion dessert smoothie. With mint, cacao, dates, and spirulina, it's not just the perfect way to end a meal, it's also a great way to load up on protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

        Mint Chocolate Chip Digestion Dessert Smoothie

        INGREDIENTS

        • 15 mint leaves
        • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
        • 1 cup coconut cream
        • 4 dates, pitted
        • 1 teaspoon spirulina
        • 1 cup vanilla flax milk
        • 1/2 cup ice

        INSTRUCTIONS

        1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix and puree until smooth.

         

        While cacao nibs don't have the ability to melt, their versatility makes them a perfect addition to all sorts of sweet treats. Plus, unlike traditional chocolate candy, cacao nibs offer all the chocolatey taste you crave without all the sugar you don't!

        Mint Chocolate Chip Cauliflower Smoothie Bowl

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