More Beautiful Family And Family Of Family And Cocoa Nibs And Sea Salt



My husband always tells me that he has no family (except his kids and us). I’ve written about this before. I can’t figure out if he really believes it or if he’s looking for sympathy or what the deal is but the truth is he’s got a lot of family. And more family pops up all the time. This time it was a sister. Granted it was a step-sister but a sister nonetheless. And the sister came with her cousin (on her mother’s side so not a relative of my husband’s but a relative of his relative). Alan’s step-sister is Ronni and her cousin is Gay. They are delightful and funny and energetic, and we had a totally fun evening. So, Ronnie’s mom Ellie was married to Alan’s Dad Bernie. Since Bernie and Ellie got married when their kids were adults the kids didn’t develop a real sibling relationship – but they have a friendship and a commonality of people in their lives. Also, what I found interesting is that they have a natural closeness as a result of a commonality of their childhood experience since they grew up in the same environment in New Jersey - Teaneck. They know the same places, the same people, schools, concerts, experienced the same events. Ronnie’s cousin Gay also has a sort of vicarious commonality of experience by virtue of the fact of her cousin-ness. All said, the shared experience made for a totally enjoyable and talk-filled evening. One more thing, both women are artists. I have not see Gay’s work except for the lovely jewelry she was wearing. I have seen Ronnie’s work and confirm her talent - beautiful clothing and accessories (knit and crochet), and jewelry. What she brought with her was crochet/beaded anklets and bracelets. I purchased a few anklets for my nieces.



So that said, sister and sister’s cousin were coming for dinner and I was cooking which is my favorite thing to do. However, the day before ‘the dinner’ was moving day (moved my mom into a ‘retirement home’ and all that comes with that). So I was spending the day helping my mom adjust and fetching things from the old digs and taking them to the new digs. I needed an easy but not cheesy meal. So…. I made Tia’s roast chicken (salted inside and out with a couple of stabbed lemons stuck into the cavity and cooked on high heat); Kale and shredded brussel sprouts salad – which would have been a hassle except that Alexandra helped a ton, roast potatoes, a sourdough baguette that we just pulled apart with our hands (washed) and butter. Easy as pie. And then…. I made Chocolate shortbread with cocao nibs and sea salt. And that is the recipe you get here.

Chocolate Shortbread with Cacao nibs and sea salt (




1 cup flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp cacao nibs crushed with a rolling pin (we used a combination of bitter and sweet) and the bitter were practically uncrushable.

1 tsp sea salt

12 Tbsp (8 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 325° Racks should be on the lower third and upper third of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper

Combine flour and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Combine the nibs and sea salt in another small bowl.



In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and the blade a couple of times. Mix in the vanilla.

Add in half of the flour mixture and mix at low speed. Add the remaining half of the flour mixture. Scrape the bowl a couple times. Once incorporated, mix on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the nibs and salt. (ok to refrigerate well wrapped for up to a week or frozen for a couple months)

On a lightly floured board or between parchment or wax paper, roll the dough into a square ¼ inch thick. Cut into 1 x 2 1/2 inch rectangles or other desired shape by hand or with a cookie cutter and place on the pans, about 1 inch aapart.

Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pans once halfway through baking. Cool the cookies on a rack and store in an airtight container.

They’re pretty great. Not sweet.

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