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How to melt cacao nibs

Updated April 17, 2017

Cacao nibs are tiny chunks of chocolate derived from cocoa beans used in baking or to eat as a healthy snack. Cocoa has an extremely low melting point, and can melt in your hand or your mouth at body temperature. While melting cacao nibs, much precaution should be taken to prevent the chocolate from burning at high temperatures, or seizing due to the introduction of water.

Fill the bottom of the double boiler with 2.5 or 5 cm (1 or 2 inches) of water. Bring the water to a low boil, then allow to simmer. Meanwhile, fill the top half of the double boiler with cacao nibs.

Place the top half of the double boiler over the simmering water, watching carefully that the hot water does not touch the top half of the double boiler.

Watch the cacao nibs carefully, as they melt very fast. Stir the cacao nibs slowly with a water-free utensil. Any water introduced to the melted chocolate can ruin the entire batch.

Remove the top half of the double boiler as soon as the chocolate melts entirely. Quickly pour the cacao nibs into a chocolate mould, or use to coat strawberries or another dessert. To keep the cacao nibs in a liquid state while working with the chocolate, put the top half of the double boiler over a bowl of warm -- not hot -- water.

Tip

Use the melted cacao quickly, as it resolidifies at room temperature. Improvise a double boiler by using two saucepans, one on top of the other.

Warning

Never introduce even a single drop of water into the melted cacao, as it seizes and ruins.

Things You'll Need

  • Double boiler
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About the Author

William Paul Wentzell is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, holding bachelor's degrees in English and photojournalism. His work has been published in the New York Times, Deseret News, The Victoria Advocate and The Daily Texan.