Raspberry Muffins with Cacao Nibs Recipe

Today’s recipe is for cacao-nib-topped raspberry muffins.

I see raspberries as a sort of baking commodity, like chocolate chips or almond meal, and I usually keep a bag of frozen framboises in the freezer: in Paris, fresh raspberries come at too high a price for too tiny a basket to drown their delicate taste in a cake, so I have taken to buying Picard‘s framboises brisées for my baking. Framboises brisées, as you may have guessed, are raspberries that were smushed at some point in their lives, so they can’t be labelled as whole raspberries and can hence be bought for a little less. For me though, it’s not so much the price thing as the idea that I’m saving those poor flawed raspberries from disdain and oblivion, giving them their proverbial fifteen minutes.

As for the cacao nibs (éclats de fèves de cacao in French), they are simply tiny bits of roasted cocoa beans, not sweetened or processed any further. I am pleased to say that mine have flown across one continent and one ocean to reach my kitchen: they were a gift from one of my favorite food bloggers, Derrick, who was kind enough to send me this specialty from the Berkeley-based chocolate maker Sharffen Berger. I have always loved chocolat noir aux éclat de fèves de cacao (oh, the texture, the aroma, the flavor packed up in those tiny flecks!) and was a big fan of Scharffen-Berger’s Nibby Bar when I lived in California, but I had never actually thought of purchasing the cacao nibs themselves. Derrick mentioned that they worked wonders in savory dishes and this idea is simmering somewhere on the stovetop of my mind, but these raspberry muffins were my first impulse to use them.

I love baking with yogurt, as some of you may have noticed by now, as I think it lends a delightful moistness to the finished product without using truckloads of butter. I normally use plain yogurt or fermented milk (which can go by the name of kefir or lait ribot) indifferently (depending on what’s in the fridge) and here used both — buttermilk would work fine too.

These raspberry muffins were a popular item in the sunny brunch spread we laid out for our friends last Sunday. They were just the right sweetness in my opinion (read “not very sweet”) and this was confirmed by a quick table survey, but if you like your sweets to be very sweet you may want to up the sugar a little. As for the raspberry and cacao nib pairing, it worked particularly well, their subtle flavors melding together harmoniously without stepping on each other’s toes or competing for your attention.

Note that the basic recipe (minus the raspberries and cacao nib topping) is easy-breezy and can be adapted to welcome any other ingredient/topping that you would like in/on your muffs.

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Raspberry Muffins with Cacao Nibs Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Makes 12 muffins

Raspberry Muffins with Cacao Nibs Recipe


  • 230 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) unrefined cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 75 grams (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 240 ml (1 cup) plain yogurt
  • 1 cup raspberries (no need to thaw if frozen)
  • For the topping:
  • 40 grams (1/3 cup) cacao nibs
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) unrefined brown sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and grease a muffin pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cacao nibs and brown sugar for the topping. Set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and stir to mix.
  4. In another medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (butter, egg, yogurt).
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients, and stir with a spatula until just combined. Do not overmix. The mixture will be lumpy, that’s okay. Fold in the berries.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan (an ice cream scoop is handy for that), and sprinkle the tops with the cacao nib mixture.
  7. Put into the oven to bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until puffy and golden.
  8. Transfer to a rack to cool, and wait for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the tins. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
  • JK Ruddy

    oh – I just love the combination of chocolate and framboise – in any form. And even though, as you say, they are not yet in season. Aren’t they perfect for spring? They taste of things to come. Wonderful post!

  • Oh, wow, looks wonderful. I’ve been so out of touch I didn’t know it was IMBB day. I am considering making some mini-blueberry muffins for Easter coffee hour, but I think I will need to sit this one out and just get inspired by the recipes.

  • Rainey

    I love those cocoa nibs too. I think they have a vaguely smoky flavor.

    I have a tin (Scharffen Berger used to pack them in a cannister and I held onto mine) just on a shelf above my computer monitor and I can nibble a few bits just for that unique flavor of natural chocolate that is neither sweetened nor as bitter and aggressive as cocoa powder.

  • Hi Clotilde,

    I like the idea of using cacao nibs in muffins. I acutally think I’d prefer them to chocolate chips, even. Must try… thanks!

  • Clotilde,

    What a lovely use for those cacao nibs! I wish a big work deadline hadn’t prevented me from participating in IMBB, but it was quite the treat to see your entry!

  • Tina Catsicopoulos

    bonjour clotilde…

    i love raspberries & chocolate. thanks for the lovely recipe.

    i have one question. can i use frozen raspberries for this recipe or should i use fresh ones?

    merci beaucoup.

  • cheesy chilaquiles


    I thought you might like the sound of this combination, as I recall you are a fan of polenta, too.


    1 cup unsalted butter
    3/4 cup sugar
    2 large egg yolks
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1/2 cup instant polenta
    1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and chopped
    * pinch salt
    1/2 cup Scharffen Berger cacao nibs

    1.In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the yolks. In a bowl, stir together the flour, polenta, hazelnuts and salt and add them to the butter mixture, stirring just until you have a dry dough. Fold in cacao nibs.
    2.Divide the dough in half. Mold each half into a log about 1 3/4″ in diameter and 10″ long. Wrap each log in a sheet of plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal. Roll the cylinders across your work surface to make them smooth and even. Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.
    3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cover two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the dough logs and use a serrated knife to slice them into disks about 1/3″ thick. Transfer to the prepared cookie sheets and bake until the cookies are crisp and just begin to color, about 20 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheets. Makes 50 to 60 cookies.

    • Paula Martersteck

      This sounds like another wonderful recipe; thanks for posting! I love hazelnuts, and I have a couple polenta-based cake and cookie recipes that I especially like. (One uses cornmeal and whole red grapes; it’s an italian recipe for a wonderful coffee cake.)

  • What a great choice Clotilde! These look very good, and not too sweet. perfect for an Easter morning breakfast.

  • Fascinating! I must try this. The cocoa nibs interest me, and raspberries are my favorite food.

    I love how the colors work together and look like confetti!

  • Alisa

    I just printed this, and am now on the look-out for chocolate nibs. Thank you!
    Joyeuses Fetes! Happy Easter!

  • Julie

    I also printed this to try, as they sounds delicious. FYI, I just purchased Scharffenberger Cacao Nibs at a local Spice Shop, in Chicago. It is http://www.thespicehouse.com They carry everything, including their own spice blends and now Cacao Nibs.

  • Katy

    I had trouble connecting to Scharffen Berger from the blog so I “googled” it and found: http://www.scharffenberger.com

    I will absolutely buy these chocolate nibs, only $8.50 US – I didn’t know about them until I read about them here. Chocolate is one of my two 2006 cooking hobbies, and I’m glad to see it sold on this site in 10 lb. or so slabs, among other things. So far, Ambrosia is my favorite for truffles, but I think I want to try the Scharffen Berger slab chocolate. Thanks for the link!

  • cacao nibs are awesome for many recipes. I tried this with goat cheese for an appetizer. awesome!

  • rebecca


    Askinosie Chocolate (askinosie.com) has a fantastic dark chocolate bar with cacao nibs called their Nibble Bar. They sell delicious nibs by themselves, too! Awesome on yogurt, peanut butter toast, ice cream…

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