I’m not usually given to hyperbole but I just stuffed a bit of this croquant in my husband’s mouth and said: “Eat this! It’s a little piece of heaven!” He was trying to pry up a floorboard at the time so it was a mite inconvenient but he chewed obediently and said all the right things.
Hand on heart, this is delicious and takes only minutes to make. You do need cocoa nibs though. They’re dried and fermented pieces of cacao bean, which doesn’t sound particularly appealing, but they are deeply, intensely chocolatey and according to one website I looked at, contain half the fat of actual chocolate.
As I’m suggesting you then mix them with nuts and sugar, this is hardly a diet recipe, but a little goes a long way. Having said that, I wish I’d made twice as much. Croquant will keep in an airtight tin for several weeks but I very much doubt it would get the chance in most households.
You can get cocoa nibs from health food shops although mine came from Hotel Chocolat via a kind friend. (Disclaimer: I once wrote a little book for Hotel Chocolat but it was so long ago I think any lingering conflict of interest has long since dissipated.)
We ate it with vanilla ice cream – try pouring a little cooled espresso coffee over the ice before poking in the shards of croquant – but serious chocoholics might like to try it with a chocolate mousse.
Cocoa Nib and Hazelnut Croquant
75g golden caster sugar
50g cocoa nibs
50g chopped, toasted hazelnuts
Lightly oil a baking sheet and a spatula. Mix together the cocoa nibs and hazelnuts.
Put the sugar in a small pan on a medium heat and LEAVE IT ALONE. Don’t stir it, don’t mess with it, but do watch it so it doesn’t burn. The sugar will slowly melt into a clear golden brown caramel.
Quickly stir in the cocoa nibs and hazelnuts, coating them with the caramel. Spread onto the oiled baking sheet, pressing the mixture down with the spatula to flatten it. Allow it to cool at room temperature before breaking it into shards.