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August 20, 2015

Cacao Nib Brownies

I usually see people make brownies with nuts, but I don’t always enjoy them. I find them missing that extra chocolate umph. Some people will add chocolate chips to their brownies, but the texture melts into the brownie batter, that you only know you ate a chocolate chip because of the increase of sugar in your mouth.

I wanted to have both a chocolate taste throughout the brownie and a distinctive texture change. The secret ingredient turned out to be Cacao nibs!

Cacao nibs are the purest form of chocolate you can find. They are fermented bits of the cacao beans. To get chocolate, cacao nibs are ground into a paste. The paste is processed depending on the kind of chocolate that will be made.

For soft chewy brownies, the pan size is important. Using too big a pan will result in thin brownies that can get burned.

Ingredients
150 grams dark chocolate, at least 65% cocoa content
115 grams (½ cup) butter
2 large eggs
100 grams (½ cup) white sugar
50 grams (¼ cup, packed) brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
35 grams (¼ cup) all-purpose flour
100 grams cacao nibs
brownies

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC (350ºF).
  2. Get a 8”x8”baking pan. Cover the baking pan with aluminum foil or baking paper. Set aside.
  3. Roughly chop dark chocolate so that it will melt easier. Set aside.
  4. Cut butter into 10 pieces. Set aside.
  5. Prepare a water bath, also called a bain-marie by getting a pot and a bowl. The bowl should fit into the pot, but the bowl’s bottom should not touch the bottom of the pot. Add 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) of water. Place the bowl into the pot. Place the pot over a heat source.
  6. Add butter and dark chocolate to water bath set up. Turn heat to medium. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to periodically mix the butter and chocolate until everything has melted. Turn off heat. Remove bowl from pot and allow chocolate-butter mixture to cool.
  7. Roughly chop cacao nibs. You want them to be bite sized. Set aside.
  8. Measure out white and brown sugar into one bowl. Mix well until combined. Set aside.
  9. Crack open eggs into a mixing bowl. Using a paddle attachment, beat eggs on high speed for 1 minute. The egg mixture will turn light yellow.
  10. Set mixer speed to medium.
  11. Add 1 tablespoon sugar mixture to eggs. Mix until you cannot see the sugar.
  12. Repeat Step 11 until you have added all the sugar mixture.
  13. Set mixer speed to low.
  14. Add vanilla to chocolate mixture. Mix until incorporated.
  15. Slowly pour chocolate-butter mixture into the eggs. You want to pour this in a slow stream to avoid cooking the eggs.
  16. Turn mixer off.
  17. Add flour.
  18. Set mixer speed to low. Mix until you don’t see anymore flour.
  19. Turn mixer off.
  20. Add chopped cacao nibs. Mix using a spatula until all the cocoa nibs are mixed well into the mixture. Make sure they are evenly distributed into the batter.
  21. Pour into prepared pan.
  22. Bake for 20 minutes.
  23. To test for doneness, get a clean toothpick and stick it into the brownie batter, then remove it. If it comes up clean, with no batter sticking to it, it’s done. If any brown batter sticks to the toothpick, bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  24. Cool in the pan.
  25. When the brownies have reached room temperature, cut into squares.
  26. Serve as is, or with a scoop of ice cream.
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