Christmas Candy Recipes: Cocoa Nib Brittle

by Pamela

christmas candy recipes, cocoa nibs, brittle recipes, christmas candy

As the calendar is getting ready to turn to December I find myself preparing for the onslaught of Christmas candy making.  Christmas cookies? P-shaw!  I love to eat the cookies but I am not a fan of making little buggers – pans, measuring cups, spoons, beaters, mixing bowls….the list goes on and on.  The best part about making Christmas candy recipes is that the cleanup consists of soap and water, a couple of spoons, a thermometer and a pan.  Since I don’t have a staff of 50, like they do on The Food Network, I am all about simplifying (if not eliminating) my kitchen duties.

What,  you’ve never made candy?  You’re intimidated by those Christmas candy recipes you’ve read before?  Than this cocoa nib brittle recipe is for you –  it’s really simple and so incredibly delicious, there’s absolutely no reason not to try making a batch.  And whose mood wouldn’t be made a bit brighter by seeing a stack of freshly made brittle in their kitchen?

While I can’t lay claim to this Cocoa Nib Brittle recipe, I got the recipe from Madame Chocolate – Hasty Torres, I know that this is going to be a favorite addition to my repertoire.  The recipe for cocoa nib brittle is easy: You measure out the cocao nibs, you make a syrup, add cocoa nibs to syrup, add some butter and salt, spread it out, let it cool, break into pieces and enjoy.  No fancy schmancy techniques, ingredients or equipment…okay, you’ll need a candy thermometer and parchment paper (makes cleanup easy peasy).

The following quote by Hasty is the sole reason I decided to make this cocoa nib brittle recipe: “The crunch and bitterness of the nib is in total harmony with the sweet crunch of the brittle. It’s magical and sets your eyes rolling to the back of your head.”  Craig and I were swooning and moaning all over our kitchen.  I’m sure it sounded like we were having some kind of orgy in our kitchen.  Our dog couldn’t take it anymore and went outside for the night.

A few helpful tips for new candy makers:

  • Read the entire recipe before beginning and have all ingredients ready.  Things move really quickly when the specific temperatures are reached.
  • Be careful when working with hot sugar syrups.  The temperature of the syrup is very hot and if it splashes on you it sticks to you.
  • To clean your pot, or stove top, soak the pot (or area) with warm water and wipe clean with soap and water.  To clean up faster, fill the pot with water and bring to a boil. The sugar syrup will melt away and then you can wipe clean with soap and water.
  • Sometimes candy making just doesn’t work out quite right.  There are different reasons for that, including humidity (too much in the air).  Don’t freak out – it happens to everyone at some point (and I’m not just saying that, like you might to that guy who just couldn’t perform).

Relationship Advice

“Don’t worry about it honey, it happens to everyone.”  For a guy, that is one of the worst sentences he can hear.  So what’s a girl to do when she finds herself in the situation with her beau that would cause her to utter these words?  Regardless of what he chooses to blame it on, it does happen to all guys at some point.  But how you handle the situation can be the defining moment of whether you ever see each other again or not.

Why not put on a little seductive show?  Give him a break and let him watch you put on a little strip show and then take matters into your own hands.  Guys are visually stimulated so he may even find himself joining in with you.

Why let this put a complete stop to the romance?  You’re already in bed…keep on with the make out session.

Lay your healing hands on him…and not in that way.  Give him a nice head to toe massage.  Don’t use this as a ruse to get busy, just relax him with your healing hands.

Bottom line don’t make a big deal out of this.  He’s already making a big enough deal out of it all by himself (even if he’s not letting on about it).  Don’t try psychoanalyzing your guy’s problem, you aren’t a doctor (and if you are a doctor that’s the last thing he wants from you at this moment).  Don’t get mad, frustrated or weepy.  By doing any of these things you may, unintentionally, be reinforcing this problem to recur.  And last, but not least, don’t keep working his member like it’s going to finally give in to you and start performing.  It’s not going to happen.


Cocao Nib Brittle Recipe

Recipe from Madame Chocolate

Makes 2 pounds


  • 4 Cups Sugar
  • 1½ Cups Water
  • 1 2/3 Cups Corn Syrup
  • 1 2/3 Cups Cocoa Nibs
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ Cups Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda


Attach candy thermometer to saucepan. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring.

Add corn syrup and continue cooking until 239°.

Add cocoa nibs and cook to 311°, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add salt, butter, and extract. Add baking soda and stir well to incorporate.

Pour mixture onto parchment paper and spread it evenly.

When cool, break into pieces and enjoy.

Store in an airtight container as soon as it is cool.


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Andrea December 3, 2011 at 9:35 pm

What is a Cocoa nib as used in Cocao nib brittle receipe ?

Pamela December 4, 2011 at 8:15 am

Cocoa nibs are roasted cocoa beans that are then broken into small pieces. They are not sweet. The cocoa nibs in this recipe add more crunch to the brittle (like peanuts would) but give a subtle chocolate flavor to the brittle. They are becoming more and more available in stores, but if you can’t find them where you are there are lots of places online where you can order them.

This particular brittle recipe is about as popular with my friends and family as my bacon peanut brittle recipe. The subtle chocolate flavor is a big hit with everyone.

Any leftover cocoa nibs can be stirred into some other baked goods. Cocoa nibs don’t melt, so you don’t have to worry about that. I know some people who like to eat them straight from the bag.

SMITH BITES December 2, 2010 at 5:53 pm

I love you Pamela! You just make me laugh – and I needed to laugh today, it’s been a hell of a day . . . love both the recipe AND the advice!

Medifast Coupons December 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I made your caramel sea salt candies, just a trial run, the family ate the all of them that same day. So I guess they are a hit, really really good, thanks, can’t wait to try this recipe.

bunkycooks December 1, 2010 at 7:24 am

Candy may just be what the doctor ordered for my gift giving this year! I agree, making candy is a bit easier and people get sooo many baked goods, they would probably enjoy the candy more! This recipe looks very interesting. WIll have to give it a go!

Pamela December 1, 2010 at 7:55 am

People tend to get really excited about the candy and it disappears quickly. I know several of the people I give this to put it out for their guests instead of cookies. You’re going to love this recipe….and the rest of them I have coming up.

Nancy November 30, 2010 at 10:31 pm

This looks way too decadent.. and of course something I just “have” to make!!!

penny aka jeroxie November 30, 2010 at 7:42 pm

I love brittles. And simple is the key this month.

Pamela November 30, 2010 at 8:35 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more!

foodwanderings November 30, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I love brittles. My mom used to make peanut and sesame ones but this is such a creative twist Pammy!! Love it!!

Belinda @zomppa November 30, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I still cannot believe it’s December!

Pamela November 30, 2010 at 8:36 pm

That makes 2 of us! I hate to admit when my mother is right. But she told me when I got older time would fly. UGH

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