Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Cocoa Nibs and Pistachio Shortbread

Biscuits, Gifts | 17th January 2011 | By

This recipe from Suelle was another one I knew I was going to make as soon as I saw it on Mainly Baking. These biscuits looked so attractive with the lovely green pistachios and brown nibs, I thought they would make good Christmas gifts.

This is what I did:

  • Creamed 110g unsalted butter with 50g caster sugar until light and fluffy
  • Sifted in 125g unbleached white flour (unusual for me, but I wanted them to look pale and interesting – didn’t quite work), 50g semolina and a pinch of rock salt.
  • Mixed roughly together, then added 25g pistachios – roughly chopped and 20g cocoa nibs.
  • Kneaded this very briefly until all incorporated.
  • Rolled out to about 3mm and cut into 14 rounds – not very easy as mixture was fragile and kept breaking.
  • Baked at 150C for 25 minutes.

Well, mine didn’t look nearly as good as Suelle’s but I’m so glad I made them as these shortbreads were delicious and went down particularly well with the recipients. They were very short, crisp and crumbly and oh so yummy.  I wish I’d made a whole batch just for us. Thank you Suelle for a truly wonderful recipe.


  1. Chele

    17th January 2011 at 8:08 am

    Lovely idea – what a treat with a cuppa. I’ve been planning on making some shortbread with nuts and chocolate too! Hope they turn out as well as yours did ;0)

  2. The Caked Crusader

    17th January 2011 at 8:40 am

    I’ve seen cocoa nibs for sale and wondered what to do with them! Are they bitter?

  3. Suelle

    17th January 2011 at 11:30 am

    Glad you liked the recipe. You may get a less crumbly dough if you knead a little longer – I think shortbreads need hand heat to soften the butter more, before the dough holds together well.

    CC – I found the nibs a little on the bitter side, but in a sweet biscuit that can be a good contrast, IMO.

  4. Brownieville Girl

    17th January 2011 at 11:40 am

    Love the semolina in there.

    I’m off in search of cocoa nibs now.

  5. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    17th January 2011 at 5:03 pm

    looking lovely choclette, I too saw this recipe and put it into my must bake folder… just have Jan to get through before i’m allowing myself to bake again!

  6. Ananda Rajashekar

    17th January 2011 at 6:45 pm

    i’m not a big fan of cocoa nibs, but pistachio oh i love that little green stuffs 🙂 admire the fact that u have got uniform shape and size

  7. Choclette

    17th January 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Chele, I’m sure yours will turn out a heap better than mine – at least in looks if not in flavour.

    CC – yes, they are a bit bitter but I’d echo Suelle’s comment above.

    Suelle – that’s interesting what you say about kneading, I’d thought shortbread was a bit like pastry and that it would get tough if handled too much. Will try what you suggest another time.

    BVG – I’ve always used semolina in shortbread, but haven’t tried cornflour, so not sure how different they would be.

    Dom – only another 2 weeks to go – I’m sure you can do it, although looking at all these food blogs probably doesn’t make it any easier 😉

    Ananda – cocoa nibs are an acquired taste but they were very good in these biscuits. The uniform size and shape is down to using a cutter.

  8. Louise

    17th January 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Oh what a fab idea. My hubby loves pistachio, shortbread and chocolate but never had all 3 together and with Valentines around the corner I think i’ll give them a whirl!!

    First visit to your blog, but signed up as a follower so won’t be my last! 😉

  9. freerangegirl

    17th January 2011 at 9:07 pm

    mmm lovely, the bitterness of the cocoa nibs sounds perfect x

  10. Confectionary Designs

    17th January 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Wonderful sounding recipe – thanks for sharing. Pistachios are the best nuts for taste and color and a nice add of bitter nibs sounds great.

  11. Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours

    17th January 2011 at 9:41 pm

    How lovely! they sound very very yum, I do like cocoa nibs.

  12. Janice

    17th January 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Love pistachios and, of course, chocolate.

  13. Hazel

    17th January 2011 at 11:41 pm

    What a great combo. They must have a great texture. I love the idea of using cocoa nibs instead of chocolate chips, I love the bitterness!


    18th January 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Choc, they look and sound delicious – the semolina is an unusual ingredient. I love cocoa nibs and always keep a large quantity at home, so I’m always looking for things to do with them. Thanks to you and Suelle for the recipe!

  15. Choclette

    18th January 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Louise – thanks for following and kind comments. Would love to know how you get on, if you do make these.

    FreeRangeGirl – the cocoa nibs also provide an additional crunch contrast.

    Confectionary Designs – Thank you. Do so agree with you about pistachios.

    Helen – I was eating cocoa nibs as a health kick for a while, but think I prefer them in these biscuits 😉

    Janice – they do seem to be popular.

    Hazel, yes I can see these would be your sort of thing. Possibly not for those who have a very sweet tooth, but I thought they were a real winner.

    Celia – I always make my shortbread with semolina, gives it a little bit more substance and texture. the credit for this recipe goes entirely to Suelle.

  16. cityhippyfarmgirl

    18th January 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Have cocoa nibs…so can do. I was wondering what to do with the little fellas. Thanks Choc!

  17. Рафаэлла

    19th January 2011 at 8:21 am

    Wonderful idea! They look very tasty 🙂

  18. Nicisme

    19th January 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I keep looking for cocoa nibs but can’t find them. The shortbread is making me rather hungry!

  19. Choclette

    19th January 2011 at 8:02 pm

    CityHippy – I think I preferred these to Paul A Young’s cocoa nib cookies I made back in May (still haven’t made his tea loaf!)

    Raffaella – thank you

    Nic – most health food shops should sell them.

  20. mangocheeks

    19th January 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Oh they look good to me Choclette.

  21. Moogie

    20th January 2011 at 3:18 am

    I’m your newest follower.

  22. buywowaccount

    20th January 2011 at 8:22 am

    I could taste the fluffiness and as well as the texture of pistachios. A plus for cocoa nibs and this would drive me nuts wanting for more. Bakeylicious.

  23. Choclette

    21st January 2011 at 7:51 pm

    MangoCheeks – sounds like you are starting to get the chocolate bug 😉

    Moogie – thank you for following.

    Buywow – thank you

  24. Louise

    4th February 2011 at 9:44 am

    Hello, went off in search of cocao nibs but couldn’t find them in local supermarket. I assume they are different to Chocolate Chips? Any ideas where to get them from?

    Many thanks

  25. Choclette

    4th February 2011 at 11:38 am

    Louise – Cocoa Nibs are a pre-chocolate product and are very different to chocolate chips. You should find them in a health food shop or a good chocolate shop.

  26. Louise

    4th February 2011 at 10:47 pm

    thanks, i would never have looked in a health food shop so good job I asked! With pistachios and cocoa nibs these must be positively good for you then!! 😉

  27. JaynesDen

    5th April 2013 at 10:16 am

    So simple to make. I must go out to buy some pistachios.

  28. Hayley

    23rd July 2013 at 6:18 pm

    I love pistachios, so this sounds delicious to me!


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