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Cacao nibs are roasted cacao beans separated from their husks and broken into small bits. Nibs are rich and nutty in flavor. They are great in baking and savory cooking. We encourage you to experiment with nibs. Try making your own chocolate!
Makes 81 Caramels
From The Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg (Hyperion, 2006).
Pastry chef Eric Shelton's buttery, chocolate caramels have a full-bodied, deeply satisfying flavor.
Cut a 9 by 17-inch piece of parchment paper. Lightly butter a 9 by 9 by 2-inch pan, and line it with the parchment paper, letting it extend evenly over two opposite sides.
Stir together the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a pot with a heavy bottom, and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Bring to a boil and then continue to cook until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
Add the chocolate and stir with a heatproof spoon or spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer with a small offset spatula.
Once the caramel has started to set, sprinkle with the nibs and press them in gently. Allow the caramels to cool at room temperature until firm, at least 2 hours.
Lift the caramel block from the pan, using the parchment paper "handles," and place on a cutting board. Dip a knife in hot water, dry, and cut the caramels into 1-inch squares, heating (and drying) the knife as necessary.
Store the caramels in an airtight container.