How to make cocoa nib macarons: An experiment. In progress.

cocoa nib macaron with a peanut butter ganache

Yes it’s true, I am becoming a little braver. After cracking the secret to nearly no-fail macarons (thanks to Stella, aka The Brave Tart), I branched out with some peanut shells last month.  I wasn’t able to master the 100% peanut shell and ended up using some almond flour as well but I was pretty happy with the results.  Then a couple of weeks ago, I received a message from my friend Shulie at Food Wanderings, wondering if I might like to try my hand at some tree nut-free macarons.  There’s an allergy in her family to tree-nuts (I had to look this up…) and she’s on the hunt for macaron recipes sans almonds. Ok then. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I retrieved my giant bag of cocoa nibs and got to work. And finally a number of batches later, I managed to produce some semblance of macaron

But don’t be fooled – for the complete story, head on over to Shulie’s to read how these just about did my head in…

And even though these are not “fruit” themed, I am submitting them to this month’s Mactweets because you know, the cocoa pod IS the fruit of the cocoa bean tree, right?

*Don’t forget to enter my Peko Peko Charity Cookbook giveaway! Details here.

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59 Responses to How to make cocoa nib macarons: An experiment. In progress.

  1. Victoria (District Chocoholic) June 22, 2011 at 07:14 #

    This is a really cool experiment series you are up to – first no fail macarons, then no tree nuts. And nibs! I love it – and agree that this counts as fruit.

  2. foodwanderings June 22, 2011 at 07:33 #

    Good Morning Mardi, Thanks for going on the tree nut free macaron journey and being my fab guest! Your cocoa nib macarons are spectacular I wish I could have some!! Loved the entertaining way you documented your tireless work in all stages! & yeah def a fruit! 🙂

  3. Jamie June 22, 2011 at 08:07 #

    Ah, Shulie asks me this too and I have to read what you did! It is kind of scary. But I love these cocoa peanut shells and is that peanut butter filling? Wow delicious! And Mardi your shells are perfect!

  4. Mr. Neil June 22, 2011 at 08:17 #

    Alas, a great experiment but a substandard result, it has to be said. Outer shell cracks and crumbles in a most disappointing fashion; the ganache is nice, though.

    But let’s be clear: my macaron expecations are mighty high, after the 93 batches our home has had to endure these last two years. 😉

    Wash this down – and you’ll need to – with a nice dessert wine. Personally, I’d veer slightly off the norm and go for an Olorosso Sherry with this – ever-so-slightly chilled.

  5. Paula June 22, 2011 at 08:33 #

    Heading over to Shulie’s now and wishing I had a few of these to take with me 🙂

  6. Valerie June 22, 2011 at 08:38 #

    Your macarons seduced me! I loved this idea!!

  7. Helene June 22, 2011 at 10:01 #

    I have never tried a macaron. I should make some and see how it taste. Yours are lovely.

  8. Brian @ A Thought For Food June 22, 2011 at 10:51 #

    Bucket list for 2011: make macarons! Thank you for always inspiring me with your mac posts.

  9. Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet June 22, 2011 at 12:07 #

    Mardi you are inspiring me to get past my macaron-phobia. These look delicious! You make them seem so effortless. Thanks for inspiring! 🙂


  10. Jenn June 22, 2011 at 13:01 #

    Looks like a great effort to me!! Would love to try them!

  11. Ann June 22, 2011 at 13:05 #

    Wow! You did some real work to get those so beautiful! Congrats….they look amazing!

  12. Carolyn June 22, 2011 at 16:43 #

    Saw these already on Food Wanderings, they look wonderful! Great job.

  13. Steph@stephsbitebybite June 22, 2011 at 16:58 #

    These look great!! Wish I was as brave as you!!

  14. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts June 22, 2011 at 17:29 #

    Great Macarons!! So cute!

  15. Evan Thomas June 22, 2011 at 18:46 #

    Oh God, these sound DELICIOUS. I thought it couldn’t get any better than cacao nibs, until I saw the peanut butter, too.

  16. Eliot June 22, 2011 at 20:56 #

    Love peanut butter, love cocoa, love these macarons!

  17. Amy June 22, 2011 at 22:30 #

    I am always looking for ways to use cacao nibs, and this sounds perfect! Your macaroons are lovely, and they sound like they taste even better!

  18. Prerna@IndianSimmer June 23, 2011 at 02:23 #

    Saw your post over at Shulie’s blog and got excited to see “cocoa nibs” in the recipe because I have a BIG packet I got from BlogHer Food 🙂
    Only wish I was an expert at making macarons!

  19. Ethan June 23, 2011 at 03:31 #

    As someone who tried these cocoa nib macarons at Mardi’s, I have to admit that while it looks like a macarons, as Mr. Neil says, it doesn’t taste like one. It is very chocolatey and the peanut butter ganache is decadent (2 wonderful things), but it’s tough to overlook the fact that you either have to pop the whole thing in your mouth or have to deal with your spare hand under your mouth to catch the broken pieces as you bite into it.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 23, 2011 at 06:47 #

      Geez, thanks for the votes of confidence, guys 😉 If you go to Shulie’s blog and read the entire story, you will see that I have not called these proper French macarons at all. And they are, indeed, a work in progress. The sugar and sweetness in the nibs will always make them a little crunchier than a regular macaron and in fact you guys were eating them quite a number of days after they had been made when they are not at their prime. Oh well, at least the flavour was there, right?

      • Mr. Neil June 23, 2011 at 08:33 #

        Ethan and I are just pushing you to greater heights.

        That’s all. 🙂

      • Ethan June 23, 2011 at 11:37 #

        of course, the taste was there! chocolatey and decadent are reserved for only good tasting things.

        • foodwanderings June 23, 2011 at 14:55 #

          No Macs for you Ethan! Spank! (Seinfeld) LOL Ok. ok. I didn’t say that. Still #teamsnl buddies? Say, YES!

        • Mr. Neil June 23, 2011 at 15:19 #

          Oh come on, they weren’t that good. They *looked* pretty, but definitely a work in progress….

  20. mai June 23, 2011 at 07:41 #

    Love this!

  21. Sanjeeta kk June 23, 2011 at 10:05 #

    What perfect Mac shells! Love the cocoa nibs..now thats what is something very exciting to know. Lovely clicks, read the post at Shulie’s blog too.

  22. Danielle June 23, 2011 at 21:18 #

    Mardi, these may not be the ‘perfect’ French macarons, but your photos are amazing! It seems like you and your camera have reached a new level of comfort with each other, and it shows in your photos 🙂

  23. Belinda @zomppa June 24, 2011 at 00:54 #

    Definitely want to nibble on these!

  24. Jill@MadAboutMacarons June 24, 2011 at 10:09 #

    Bravo for taking on such a challenge. They look delicious. Isn’t it great fun experimenting with them? Love the colour and the filling sounds addictive.

  25. Joyce June 25, 2011 at 11:09 #

    Your macarons look so pretty! I’ve tried making them once and my kitchen ended up in a mess. I’ve been wanting to try again but I’m not looking forward to cleaning up. lol

  26. penny aka jeroxie June 26, 2011 at 09:29 #

    Nice challenge. Can’t wait to see what else you come up with 🙂

  27. Roller Scrapper June 27, 2011 at 22:01 #

    Of course these count! And they look so amazingly delicious! I still have not figured out how to do chocolate shells, maybe i should try cacao nibs!

  28. Deeba June 30, 2011 at 08:38 #

    Gorgeous Mardi…just ever so gorgeous. Shulies inspired to to try my hand at some too, and I did fnd some success. Yet to post though. Love how beautifully yours have turned out. Thanks for joining us at MacTweets!

  29. Nikki @ The Tolerant Vegan June 30, 2011 at 15:05 #

    These are beautiful and so wonderful of you to try a nut-free recipe! You are braver than I am. I bow down to you!

  30. HI Cookery July 2, 2011 at 21:52 #

    Yeah, why can’t cocoa count as fruit for this month’s MacTweets theme? 😉 Interesting to learn about your experiment. They do look like the regular almond macarons. And I bet they are just as yummy.

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