Chocolate and Cacao Nib Cookies Recipe

Biscuits Chocolat et Fèves de Cacao

Soft and cakey and thrice chocolate-flavored — from the velvet of melted chocolate, the strength of cocoa powder, and the aromatic crunch of cacao nibs — these bite-size cookies should fit into either one of these Valentine’s Day scenarios:

1. You tend to throw yourself rhapsodically into the whole gift-and-card-and-flower-giving thing: it’s fun, it’s red, and it gives you the perfect excuse to buy and eat chocolate. In this case, you can bake a batch or two of these cookies, wrap them up in all manner of glossy ribbons and heart-shaped tins, and spread the love.

2. You couldn’t care less about Valentine, funny or otherwise, and February 14th is just a normal day for you. In fact, you have obliviously made plans for the evening that do not include your sweetheart, but neither of you has given it a thought. In this case, these cookies can simply be added to the pile of “things you want to eat”.

3. You are adamantly opposed to this epidemic of smoochy silliness. As an act of civil disobedience, you plan on being particularly unpleasant and grating and difficult for the whole 24 hours. That way, people will better appreciate what a treat you normally are to live with. It’s an interesting strategy, but may I suggest you bake some of these cookies the next day to make up for your attitude?

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Chocolate and Cacao Nib Cookies Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Makes 60 bite-size cookies.

Chocolate and Cacao Nib Cookies Recipe


  • 120 grams (4 ounces) good quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 110 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) unrefined cane sugar
  • 120 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 90 grams (3/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder (see note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (substitute 1/4 teaspoon regular salt)
  • 4 tablespoons cacao nibs


  1. Melt together 90 g (3 oz) of the chocolate and all of the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Tranfer into a large mixing-bowl and let cool for ten minutes.
  2. In the meantime, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder in another mixing-bowl, and set aside.
  3. Finely chop the reserved chocolate, and set aside.
  4. Whisk the eggs into the cooled melted chocolate. Add in the sugar and mix again.
  5. Sift in the flour mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. The batter will be thick.
  6. Fold in the chopped chocolate, cacao nibs and fleur de sel.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F) and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Scoop out rounded teaspoons of batter, shape them into balls with the tips of your fingers, and line them up on the cookie sheet, leaving a little space between them.
  9. Put the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for 10 minutes (if the sheet and batter are cold, the cookies are less likely to spread).
  10. Insert the cookie sheet into the oven to bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the tops feel just set. Don't overbake, or they won't be as moist inside.
  11. Transfer to a rack to cool.


Some bakers have reported that this amount of cocoa powder was too much for their taste, resulting in cookies more bitter than they like. I believe this depends on the specific cocoa powder you use, some are sharper in flavor than others; you should also note that these cookies mellow out overnight. In any case, this is the amount I use, but you can use a little less cocoa powder (60 grams or 1/2 cup) if you prefer. Make up for the difference in flour.
  • Pesql

    I will try your recipe tonight, with walnuts instead of cocoa nibs I think…

  • Sounds wonderful! I may try them tonight, too. I’ll have to hit the store for the cocoa nibs.

  • Julia

    Umm… What are cacao nibs?

  • April N

    To quote the Scharfeen Berger website:

    “Cacao Nibs are perfectly roasted cocoa beans separated from their husks and broken into small bits. They are the essence of chocolate.”

    You can order them online from SB as well:

  • These look & sound delicious. Have been looking forward to using nibs & now is the time.

  • I think there could be a fourth choice:

    4;) You want to throw yourself rhapsodically into the whole Valentine thing and therefore- bake two dozen cookies– but you act like you couldn’t care less about valentine’s and eat the two dozen yourself, and then you bake some more of these cookies the next day to make up for your attitude and eat them.
    This way you are sure to have your double chocolate-chocolate share on Valentine’s

  • Lilia Dignan

    What to do – to make these cookies for Valentines day or for the day after? That is the question…………….

  • rachel

    hi clotilde…

    one thing i have never quite been able to figure out: what is the difference between fleur de sel and sea salt such as Maldon? i have been told that they are interchangeable, but i notice that your recipe calls for twice as much fleur de sel as sea salt.

    these cookies look delicious…

    :) thanks,

  • jer

    Cocao Nibs aren’t readibly available in stores in these parts (Canada) but, I bought some a while ago and even though some find them way too bitter I think they are great for additions to yogurts,etc to add a bit of crunch! Looking forward to trying this recipe out eventually!

  • Hi Clotide
    Just read your extensive article in Olive magazine, it’s great, very varied and eclectic. I really enjoyed it and will keep it for when I next visit Paris. Thanks

  • i just broke my kitchenaid stand mixer after 10 years of faithful service. i am so sad. i won’t be baking much any time soon until i can figure out a solution. it pains me to see new recipes.

  • Ooooooh my!!!

    J’en salive!

    À essayer sous peu, c’est certain.

    Love Valentine’s Day as it’s just another excuse to eat chocolate (along with I’m PMS and I’m having my period which makes eating chocolate guiltless two weeks a month ;)).

    Tu m’inspires à être une meilleure cuisinière! Merci pour ce blog fantastique!

  • I think here, in Chile, we doesn’t have cocoa nibs…:(, sad. Can I use almond o walnuts or other nut…??

    really good blog, thank you…


  • These will be my Valentine’s Day treat for my toddler tomorrow.

    Merci, je m’en regale.


  • Oh goodness, I’ve never been fond of Valentine’s Day — even when I was dating someone I loved I felt bad for the people who felt left out. But I certainly would never choose to be grumpy all day. What a waste of a day! Instead, I think I’ll make myself up a gluten-free version of these and spread them around to everyone I know. Love and cocoa nib cookies for everyone!

  • Don’t know what they are, but I like them. ;-)

  • Katie

    Mmmmm. These look delicious!!

  • Wow. Those look fantastic. I’ve been looking for a recipe that uses those cocoa nibs, too.

    Film Stock

  • Melanie

    Made these for Valentine’s Day last night, minus the nibs. They are delicious, chocolately and dense, moist and fudgey with great texture. And they really are adorable, so tiny, refridgerating them really did stop the spreading. Thank for you for this recipe!

  • Monica

    Another source of cacao nibs:

    A great, fun little company and the tins the nibs come in are so cute.

  • Rachel – What I meant with the difference in measurement is for salt that comes in flakes (such as fleur de sel or Maldon salt) vs. salt that comes in a granulated powder. The former takes up more space than the latter for the same salty power, so you should use a little more. Hope that clears things up a bit!

    Three Layer Cake – But these can be made with your own little hands! No need for a mixer…

    Melanie – Thank you for reporting back, I’m delighted you liked them!

    Monica – These cacao nib do look great. I see that they come covered with chocolate though, whereas my recipe calls for raw cacao nibs. I don’t think it would make much difference, but I thought I’d point it out!

  • mollyz

    Chocolate cookies with cocoa nibs must be infecting the blogosphere. :)
    I love the two contrasting recipes.

  • Thanks for this; I have a bag of cacao nibs I’ve been trying to decide what to do with!

  • tarynkay

    this website is fantastic, chocolate is fantastic, and these are fantastic! i like to live on the edge and so did not use parchment and they were fine- didn’t even need a spatula to get them up. perhaps the parchment is proposed to facilitate washing-up?

  • These look fabulous! Another favourite use for cacoa nibs is to steep them in cream, then strain and use the cream to make ice-cream – it’s white but tastes of chocolate – amazing. This is an Alice Medrich recipe – she has lots more recipes for nibs in her book Bittersweet.
    BTW, Clotilde, where do you get nibs in Paris? I could get them in California, but haven’t seen them in London.

  • Michele

    I’ve been a devotee of your blog since I first heard you on NPR in August, and I can’t wait to try this recipe. I made for my valentine this year the chocolate chili bites from your site (on which I dusted powdered sugar hearts in honor of the day), and they were a hit. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Abby

    Sounds great! I’ve always loved this recipe for chocolate biscotti, also:

  • Aschka

    I’ve been single for so long I can’t bear the sadness of another Valentine’s day alone. So these will definitely be in my “pile of things I want to eat”. Chocolate will be my solace…

  • had a go at these yesterday, sadly sans nibs,asi couldn’t get them. Still the best biscuits I have had in ages, can’t wait to try them with the nibs in soon. :)

  • Just made these sinful chocolaty wonders… YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY!!!

    Replaced the chocolate nibs with pecans…

    *Rolling on the floor*

  • michelle

    Made these yesterday, lovely dark chocolate taste. Cacao nibs proved hard to find in Sydney, but not impossible (macro foods in crows nest for anybody here looking for them)!

  • J&B

    cet biscuit est TRES dilisceuse! je l’aime beaucoup!

  • Charlotte

    I made these very tiny. I thought they were a bit too bitter so I rolled them in powdered sugar while they were warm. Interesting enough, these mellow if allowed to set overnight..and probably wouldn’t need the extra sugar. Straight out of the oven, my family pronounced them way too bitter. The next day–they inhaled them–pronouncing the addition of the nibs as “brilliant”.

  • Amy

    A perfect end for the last cacao nibs in my little can. Not too bitter. Just perfect. I made very small cookies and did not roll them at first. These ended up looking . . . rumpled and craggy. When rolled and slightly pressed before baking, they came out exactly like yours – very dainty and elegant.
    Do you think it made a difference that I use King Arthur white flour? I read in Baking Illustrated (?) that it has a higher protein content and therefore perhaps a stiffer dough.

    Of course, neither the “look” nor the type of flour slowed anyone down. Perfect for a birthday tea for someone who doesn’t like cake.

  • mai

    Great recipe no matter how many time I’v baked these beauties I don’t seem to have enough, a friend of mine said “it’s too chocolety” can anything be too chocolety?!
    thank you for sharing

  • Kat

    Hi, i tried baking them today and they turn out very bitter.. any idea what went wrong? and what can i do to make it edible? thanks. :(

  • Amy – The “hardness” of the flour may indeed make a difference in the smoothness of the dough.

    Kat – Hm. These cookies have a powerful chocolate flavor, but I wouldn’t describe them as bitter. Could it be the particular cacao nibs or the cocoa powder you used? Or perhaps the cookies were a bit overbaked? In any case, you can try rolling them in sugar, or sandwiching them two by two with jam, or a cream filling.

  • Zan

    I’ve just discovered cacao nibs and I’m crazy for them!

    I made up a recipe using white cocoa powder, chocolate chips and nibs. The cookie body was a little like a shortbread cookie and went just fabulous with the nibs. Mmmm…

    Can’t wait to try yours.

    I’m also thinking of making nib brownies with cherries… :)

  • jeanology

    Thanks for the recipe. I only had one egg, so I used a bit more butter and agave syrup instead of brown sugar. The cookies came out very fudgy. They were delicious.

  • Maggie

    I think there is a problem with this recipe. 120 grams of cocoa seems to be almost one and a half cups, not three quarters. I made the recipe using the measurements, not the weights (back tracked from that when I saw the oddly huge amount of cocoa powder it called for). I made 50 very tiny cookies and baked them for 8 minutes at the most and they turned out very dry and bitter, almost inedible. Just for the record, I am a dark chocolate lover and eat and enjoy 75% dark chocolate straight almost every night. I was also a professional pastry cook for twenty years. I just say this, not to be arrogant, but because I want to not be dismissed when warning about this recipe; the person who posted it needs to take a look at the measurements. I think there may be some typos. In my opinion, as posted, it is a waste of expensive ingredients.

  • Maggie – Thank you for pointing out the volume/weight conversion problem; I’ve corrected the weight measurement. And I am sorry the cookies did not turn out to your liking. In regards to the perceived bitterness, it likely depends on the sort of cacao powder you use (not all cocoa powders are created equal — can you tell us which one yours is?). I like them the way they are, but I have added a note in the recipe, indicating that the amount of cocoa powder can be decreased.

  • Vera

    I just finished making these for the Easter baskets I’ll be putting together soon (yes, I know – but it’s *Russian* Easter so we’re off the calendar from Catholic Easter) and they look perfect! I *had* to taste one, to make sure they are suitable for my nephews and nieces and they are exquisite! It will be hard not to have just…one…more. They’re little, charming bites of brownie-like heaven. I’ll definitely be making these wonderful treats many times. Your recipe is perfect as is, BTW – even the timing is just right. Thank you!

  • Martin

    How many % cocoa do you recommend in the bittersweet chocolate?

  • Martin – I generally use 60 to 70% cocoa chocolate in my baking.

  • Grace

    Hey! Just want to say that these chocolate cookies are absolutely divine! I substitited the cocoa nibs for chopped hazelnuts (leftovers from the crisp hazelnut and pepper cookies) and they work wonderful as well! Thanks for these amazing recipes!

  • This recipe is fantastic! So easy to make and they are absolutely delicious. I love chocolate and these cookies are the best! Even my husband who isn’t much of a sweet tooth really appreciated them.

    This is my new favorite recipe!

    • I’m so pleased you like it, thanks for reporting back!

      • I just made another batch today – they’re fabulous! :)

  • Thanks for posting this recipe. I made the cookies recently, and they were incredible. I liked that the cookies weren’t too sweet and enjoyed the contrasting texture from the cacao nibs. I’ve linked back to you here.

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