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Organic Cacao Nib Florentine Cookies

June 8, 2012

Hola amigos!!  I’m back.  I’m rested and ready to bake up some really incredible food for you to drool over!
I was recently in Costa Rica for three weeks.  It was a really inspirational experience for me.   I don’t think that I mentioned it early but I don’t speak any Spanish.  You can imagine what it was like traveling to a country where the first language is Spanish and I didn’t speak it.  It was challenging but upon arrival I was pleasantly introduce to a lovely lady who was also traveling solo who did speak Spanish, fortunately she was willing to allow me to tag along with her 🙂  I was so thankful.  It can be a wee bit stressful traveling alone to some countries especially when you are a woman.  If there is one piece of advice I can pass on to you it is this, it is always better for women to travel in minimums of two.  I find it makes for your entire experience to be much more relaxing and a lot less stressful.
I spent a lot of time at the beaches when I was in Costa Rica.  After I was beached out I went to a yoga retreat at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa!  If this is the first time that you have seen or heard of the Costa Rica Yoga Spa quickly bookmark the page and commit the name to your memory!  This place is absolutely incredible.  The staff were amazing, the food was all vegetarian and absolutely delicious and the yoga was sublime!  If you are ever in Costa Rica in the  Guanacaste Region you must travel to Nosara and stay at the Yoga Spa you will not regret it!  There were monkeys swinging from tree to tree, fresh papayas, mangoes and bananas were also hanging from the trees!  It was one of the most hospitable environments I have been in in a while.  They were even growing their own pineapples, no kidding!  I honestly can’t say enough about the place and the entire experience it was out of this world 🙂
When I was staying at the Finca, which is Spanish for estate and refers to a piece of rural or agricultural land, I was pleased to discover an incredible road side oracle named Franklyn.  Franklyn is a very wise, very simple business man who sold dehydrated organic food products.  He grows organic coconuts from the coconuts he makes his own coconut oil, dehydrated coconut, and shredded coconut.  Frankly also sells, dehydrated mango, bananas, fresh ginger, dried hibiscus flowers, cacao nibs, cacao powder and much much more!  One of my favourite things that Franklyn makes is his coconut cacao nib ice cream!  You can look forward to a recipe on that one for sure 🙂  I was completely inspired by Franklyn’s love of eating pure, fresh and organic products so much so that I am attempting to adopt some of his techniques here at home in my daily cooking and baking.

These Organic Cacao Nib Florentine Cookies are made with Franklyn’s organically grown cacao nibs.  Do you know what cacao nibs are?  “Cacao is the seed of a fruit of an Amazonian tree that was brought to Central America during or before the time of the Olmecs. Cacao beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them as money!  Cacao is remarkably rich in magnesium and seems to be the highest source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and is associated with more happiness.  Cacao contains subtle amounts of caffeine and theobromine. However, experiments have shown that these stimulants are far different when consumed raw than cooked.  Cacao seems to diminish appetite, probably due to its MAO inhibitors – these are different from digestive enzyme inhibitors found in most nuts and seeds. These rare MAO inhibitors actually produce favorable results when consumed by allowing more serotonin and other neurotransmitters to circulate in the brain.” According to ForeverHealthy .  With all these amazing benefits I am excited about incorporating more cacao into my daily diet!  These cookies would be lovely with an afternoon tea or as an evening snack!  They are crisp and crunchy and absolutely divine!!

Organic Cacao Nib Florentine Cookies

6 ounces blanched almonds
6 ounces walnuts
6 ounces all-purpose flour (for gluten free use rice flour or quinoa flour)
4 ounces organic cacao nibs
1 ounce organic cacao powder
8 ounces butter
4 ounces pure honey
10 ounces sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (optional for drizzling)

To Prepare 

Preheat the oven to 350F and have ready two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Chop the almonds, walnuts and cacao nibs until no large pieces remain (shoot for a chunky mixture with pieces that are similar in size to peppercorns).  Alternately, you can do this in a food processor.  Once chopped combine the nuts and nibs with the flour and cacao powder and stir until fully incorporated; set aside.
In a medium pot, melt the butter and honey together.  When they are liquefied, add the sugar, and espresso powder.  Bring this mixture to a boil;  stir occasionally to ensure the sugar dissolves completely.  Once it begins to boil, turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla and dry ingredients.
Use a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon to measure out even, rounded portions of dough.  Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leave about 4″ between each cookie because they do spread.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until they have spread thinly and turned uniformly dark and lacy.  Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for about one minute before trying to cut them out with the cookie cutter.

To Cut the Florentines

To cut the irregularly shaped cookies into clean rounds, you will need to use the largest round cookie cutter you have that does not exceed the size of the cookie.   The goal here is not to “cut out” the cookies like you would with unbaked cookie dough, but rather to stamp “perforation lines” onto each soft cookie.  Don’t worry about trimming the edges, just stamp.
Once the cookies have cooled completely, simply pick up each cookie and snap off the ragged edges.  The excess will break away cleanly, leaving you with a perfectly round cookie.  Save the scrappy crumbs for topping ice cream, adding to granola or over your morning cereal!
Melt the 4 ounces of chocolate over a double boiler and then drizzle over the cooled cookies!

Makes 24 ~ 4″ cookies
Source Adaptation Brave Tart

These cookies are exquisite if you are looking for a recipe to utilize those raw organic cacao nibs this is a great place to start 🙂

Thank you for allowing me to share with you this recipe and my Costa Rica experience, it was a great deal of fun but so is being here with all of you!!

From our kitchen to yours,
Sydney Jones

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2012 1:53 pm

    I missed you. And I’m glad you had such a restorative trip! On to Canadian adventures you go…

  2. June 8, 2012 7:10 pm

    Those look like the perfect size and just the right amount of chocolate – yum!

  3. June 9, 2012 7:01 pm

    How fun. I’ve never been to Costa Rica. Loving these cookies. Little gems of perfection.

  4. June 10, 2012 9:56 am

    Your Costa Rica Yoga spa and your cookies sound amazing. Would love to try both but think will start with the little organic cocoa nibs.

  5. June 11, 2012 6:44 pm

    SO jealous you got to spend time in that yoga retreat – sounds amazing! The bf’s sister went to a three week one in Mexico recently and after telling me all about sleeping in tents on the beach and all the lovely yoga I’m very keen to go to one myself. Recipe looks gorgeous too

  6. eliotthecat permalink
    June 12, 2012 6:16 am

    Have always wanted to go to Costa Rica and you have just reinforced that! Glad you had a great trip! Sounds wonderful and relaxing. Welcome back!

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