Christmas at Petraia comes at the end of our busiest season when I am already exhausted and seriously in need of some dietary reform. This year I decided to limit my holiday baking to sugar and gluten free items. My plan was to use nut flour and honey to make traditional cookies and cakes like Torta Caprese, ricciarelli, amaretti cookies, panpepato and macarons. Then it occurred to me the cacao bean, like an almond, or a hazelnut is about 50% healthy fat. I wondered if it might be possible to substitute cacao for almonds, hazelnut and buckwheat in some of these traditional recipes, and for awhile I have been experimenting with this idea.
Here I have adapted the fruit and nut spice bread from my last post to make a cacao nib quick bread. This is a rustic bread and it is not very sweet so you can increase the honey if you like. It makes a perfect bread substitute for a cheese course or a liver mousse. It is also nice for breakfast with honey, yogurt and applesauce. In the photo you can see I glazed it with some melted chocolate and sprinkled pistachio nuts on top to garnish for dessert.
- 130 grams cacao nibs
- 3 eggs
- 100 grams chestnut honey
- 50 grams yogurt
- 20 grams unblanched whole roasted almonds or hazelnuts
- 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp. ground coriander (optional)
- ¼ tsp. allspice (optional)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 1 cup mixed dried fruit (I use Petraia raisins and our dried mulberries)
- Preheat your oven to 165 C and prepare 1 loaf tin.
- Place everything but the dried fruit in a blender and process to a smooth batter. Fold in the dried fruit and transfer to your prepared loaf tin. Bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- You can eat the bread right away but the flavors will develop if you age it. Once the loaf has cooled I wrap it tightly in tin foil and let it age for a day or two before slicing.