With that sundae made with home-scratched Triple Vanilla Ice Cream, we had egg whites to use. The easiest thing we know to make with egg whites is macaroons. They’re simply nut meal, sugar, and egg whites all mixed together and baked. We wondered if we could make a macaroon with super chocolate flavor by using cocoa nibs in place of nuts. Well, let’s head on over to the Scratchin’ It lab to find out!
We started with our recipe for Almond Macaroons, and ran with it, simply swapping out the almonds for cocoa nibs.
Cocoa nibs are cocoa beans. Do not confuse these with chocolate, or you’ll probably have a mess. We happen to use Varhona cocoa nibs, which are slightly bitter but quite chocolatey. The salt, while it could be optional, helps to bring out the chocolate flavor. We wait until we have some egg whites left over before making macaroons, but our eggs do come from truly pasture-raised hens.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment. You really want to use parchment, as these cookies will tend to stick. We can’t imaging what it would be like to clean baking sheets that had macaroons baked directly on them.
Process cocoa nibs. Place the cocoa nibs, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground, about a minute. We generally place our food processor in the kitchen sink when we do this, as powders tend to fly out around the edge. Once ground and processed, we can wipe down the food processor, remove it from the sink, and simply wash whatever spewed out down the drain.
Add egg whites. With the processor running, pour in the egg whites and continue to process until a dough forms and rides on the blades. This might take a bit longer than you’d expect because the cocoa nibs are pretty dry, and it takes a while for everything to be moistened.
Shape. We really find that piping is the easiest, cleanest, and most consistent way to make macaroons. We scrape the batter into a piping bag — we use disposable bags with the tip cut to make a bout a 3/8 inch opening — and pipe disks about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. To make all our cookies the same size, we use a parchment template with circles drawn on it. Simply place the template under the parchment, pipe to size, and slide out the template. If you don’t want to pipe, simply scoop cookies from about a tablespoon of dough, leaving about an inch between them.
Bake. Into the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are firm but the centers are still slightly soft. Once baked, cool for about 5 minutes on a baking rack before popping the cookies loose and letting them cool completely.
These macaroons are amazingly chocolate-flavored, crisp, and crunchy. Not too sweet, and with a slightly bitter taste. It does make sense, though, as these are really just about pure chocolate and sugar. Easy to make, and probably our favorite macaroon (for the time being). Five stars.