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Raw Cacao Candy Crunch

When I was little, one of my best friend’s family owned a candy store. I was always so jealous of her access to all the best candies all the time. She could have anything she wanted, whenever she wanted and when I would go visit the store with her, it was like I entered a magical wonderland. Little did I know at the time, that the majority of candy I was eating was filled with toxic ingredients like refined sugars, ingredients made from petroleum, and other very harmful ingredients. Also, I was a very sick child, making every excuse not to go to school because I had low energy, low concentration, and eczema all over my arms, legs and face.

Thank goodness I figured out that all the conventional candy and a lot of other foods I was consuming made me feel and look that way and I’ve now reversed all of that. Even though I’ve stopped eating the candy I used to, I still love candy and try to find ways to enjoy something sweet without exposing myself to all the toxic chemicals. 

This Raw Cacao Crunch Candy is one of the ways I do that. It’s deeeeelicious and nutritious! I got the idea for this recipe when I tried something just like it at a trade show recently. This candy totally cures my chocolate cravings in a fabulous healthy way. I love making desserts with raw cacao because it gives you a blast of serotonin, endorphins and other neurotransmitters which all work together to give you an overall sense of well being, bliss, pleasure and pure happiness! Try this candy and you’ll be consuming the highest concentrated antioxidant on earth and flying high! This candy makes the perfect travel snack and it would go perfect wrapped in cute little bags for those Easter baskets.

Food Babe's Raw Cacao Candy Crunch
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup almonds (or any other nut of your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs
  1. Put sugar, water, sea salt, cinnamon and vanilla in a medium sized skillet and warm over medium-low heat stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add nuts and keep stirring until the sugar mixture is very thick and the almonds are well coated, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in cacao nibs.
  4. Pour onto piece of parchment paper and spread out into single layer and allow to cool completely.
  5. Break up pieces into desired sizes and store at room temperature in an airtight container.
***Please choose all organic ingredients if possible***


One note: Don’t feel pressure to only use almonds in this recipe – you can use any nut or seed you like! I plan on using pecans next, yum!

If you know someone who could use a little pep in their step, please make them some of this candy or share this recipe with them, I know they will appreciate it!



P.S. If you are looking for other healthier candy options check this post on chocolate and this post on how to avoid GMO candy. You’ll love the options!



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128 responses to “Raw Cacao Candy Crunch

    1. It won’t have the same crunch factor – I would definitely hold out until you can get the nibs. They are so good in this recipe!

    2. I used cacao powder instead, cuz I just needed the candy fix. It was still very good, but I can see how the crunch would be better.

  1. Like your recipes but I can only get them on a smart phone. I’m not online at home. Wish I could pin them to recipes on Pinterest.

    1. What kind of smart phone do you have? If you download the Pinterest app to your phone you can add a pin on your phone. I have a galaxy and I just have to hit the menu button, share, and the click via Pinterest. 🙂

  2. A friend gave me a piece of chocolate today that was more of a novelty (to me) than an actual snack. I of course, immediately read the ingredients and found something I hadn’t noticed before. PGPR. I googled PGPR as I did not know what it was and found it to be an emulsifier used in cheaper chocolates. I would love to know a little more about it and how unhealthy it actually is. I’m all for a good quality organic fair trade chocolate, but I’m pretty picky about what chocolates I eat. And something containing PGPR I don’t think I would want to eat. But I love cacao. Use the nibs in my smoothies and my cereal every day!!

  3. Wow, this is really interesting. Just put those nibs in my shopping cart. Cranberries will be a great addition to this I’m sure. I’ll probably use 1 cup of walnut pieces or pecan pieces and see how that solidifies. Great stuff, Vani. I’ll come back with a report!

  4. In your email…you asked which was my favorite candy as a child…it was a Big Hunk and Hot Tamales. 🙂

    This recipe looks and sounds yummy! 🙂

  5. Do you soak your nuts to take out the phytic acid? If so, would you mind adding your process to this recipe as well please? 🙂

  6. I will try this, another good use for nibs besides my custom “trail” mix. I was a sugar addict too, with excrma, and then “terminal” haha i used to say acne…but it did hurt. Anything chocolate was my fav-Mounds, almond Joy, m&m’s. but i did like Bit O ‘Honey, too. Now it’s Trader Joe’s 72%, Fair Trade, Organic Dark Choc with a little red wine. God forbid I run out! Stocked in the freezer. And its a great choc for flourless choc cake-now our family’s staple festive dessert-w berries.

    1. Never mind the pasteurization or phytic acid. The California almond crop is single handedly contributing to the honeybee failure. The bees are over wintered in the east by being fed corn syrup and antibiotics. They are trucked to CA for Feb 14 pollinating of chemicalized monoculture almond trees. As they are trucked back home they stop to do other jobs where they interact with all sorts of pollinators, spreading disease as they go.

    2. Never mind the phytic acid or “pasteurization” . The California almond crop is single handedly destroying honeybees. The over winter feeding of corn syrup laced with antibiotics and then trucking to the west coast is mismanagement. The bees are pollinating over chemicalized mono crop almond groves and then working their way home working on peaches and strawberries. They spread disease as they go. See Queen of the Sun (watch it in Waking Times.)

  7. Somebody just posted an incredibly ignorant comment here regarding GMOs. Quote: “Until scientists prove otherwise, GMO’s are no more harmful than any non GMO food”. Whomever wrote this comment really needs to get EDUCATED regarding the topic before posting nonsense. it is because of people like this why we really need the support of others who are aware what is is actually going on.

    Monsanto will NOT allow nor provide what is necessary for INDEPENDENT scientists to conduct unbiased studies. The only studies that have been done thus far are from the very company who is to gain financially: aka Monsanto of course!! Dig further and get educated from creditable sources and you will become sick to your stomach with what you discover.

    GMOs are NOT safe. They are a catastrophe and I can only hope that one day GMOs will be labeled in America as they are in Europe and eventually BANNED as they are mostly in the EU. It is DISGUSTING what is happening in this country and Canada.

  8. GMO”s harmful? Toxic? I saw an experiment done by a scientist who set up 2 feeding stations for squirrels.One feeding station was GMO corn cobs and the other feeding station was organic corn cobs…..both outside.He observed over time what happened.The GMO corn cobs were not eaten and the organic ones were eaten….interesting pictures.

    1. And here it is. I was wondering why you were trolling on this site. Damage control I guess. Not surprised you have a GMO corn field. I watched Food Inc. I truly do sympathize with these farmers with all the debt their in because of Big Ag. It’s part of the reason I try to boycott.

      1. Is it possible you misread Renie’s message? I think Renie was being sarcastic with the initial questions about GMOs being toxic because the message goes on to say: “The GMO corn cobs were not eaten and the organic ones were eaten” — appears to be an anti-GMO message.

  9. Wonderful. Now can you find a way to make SweetTarts (or Nerds, Spree, Smarties or any of the other utterly artificial, chemically colored, horrible for you but wonderfully tart candies? I know ascorbic acid is used as the sour in sour skittles (the good news ends there) but it’s gotta be possible right?

  10. i see people like Ted posting ignorant comments about quote — “GMO’s are no more harmful than any non GMO food”. He seems to be the poster child for Monsanto and GMO, he grew up on GMO food. 🙂

  11. Hi, I’m new to your blog and I really like it. Quick question, what is a serving size per cup and how many calories per serving? I realized that this maybe hard for you to answer because this is your creation so is hard to calculate but I figured to ask anyway.Whatever you can do will be appreciated.

  12. Will definitely try this out. Funny how there are so many pro-pesticide folks here pushing GMOs on this site. At the end of the day it is an “informed choice” issue. People need to know what is in their food so they can make informed choice. 90%+ of Americans want to know what is in their food… and yes they will avoid GMOs if given a choice!!!

  13. My favorite candy was all of the candy. I loved chocolate, sweet & sour candy, tart candies, cookies, – all of the bad stuff. Now I battle diabetes : (. Now I try to find alternatives or just stay away from it. Sweets are big triggers for me.

  14. I used to love Chicco sticks. I used to love cotton candy. I would eat an entire bag. : ( I used to eat all of my Halloween candy in one sitting. Feeling grateful that I’ve made a change and am avoiding petro-chemicals.

    1. I loved Chick-o-sticks! You’ve inspired me, Food Babe, because I think I can make them. They consist of coconut, peanut butter, & sugar. I’ll let you know how they turn out. 🙂

  15. I like these kind of recipes to make at my work with the people I work with at a DD. So we will make this one. Also my favorite food when I was a kid was the hard boiled eggs. Not the candy. But I loved those eggs, ate so many of them each Easter. I gave the candy away to my brothers.

  16. Some people have strong bodies and good genetics and can eat crap and feel good and preform better… Heck some people I know now who are older than me still eat crap and I may eat better but they still feel better than I… Such is life. But I love eating good stuff and trying…

  17. Just a quick word or two to Ted…Ted, You’ve got much to learn!!

    M question is this…I recently purchased raw cacao nibs from Whole Foods. I had never tasted them before. I was totally surprised by the flavor and intensity….especially as they became increasingly unpleasant the longer I chewed on them. Finally, I had to discard them into a tissue…they were absolutely awful!!! Were the nibs I got spoiled or was I just unaccustomed to the flavor? I ground some of them up in a food processor and used them to make “chocolate milk” and then they were rather enjoyable. So, now those nibs are just sitting in my frig going unused. Do you have any suggestions…and do you think there was something wrong with them? I’d love to try this recipe but am afraid to use these cacao nibs.

    1. Cacao nibs come in a pod surrounded with a wonderful pudding-like substance. They are bitter unless fermented and further processed with sugar. Each brand of nibs will be different depending on country grown and soil type. Good for you saving them and trying new things. Sugar is only bad when: 1- put in commercial products (they use too much or put other additives) and 2- beet sugar is used (it is GMO). Use cane sugar, local honey, maple syrup.

  18. I too grew up in LOVE with candy. My sweet tooth was unstoppable! Thank goodness as I’ve gotten older I’ve become much more health conscious. Thank you so much for all your hard work and great information!
    P.s. My favorite candy was tootsie rolls and Reese’s peanut butter cups!

  19. My favorite candy as a kid would always be chocolate or triple fudge brownies. That’s not a official candy but that was definitely my favorite sweet. Can’t eat them now because of how fast it turns into fat and I’m watching my figure. One day I’ll have my brownies again!

  20. Oops…forgot to tell you! My favorite candy was (and still is, although I don’t eat it anymore) red and chocolate licorice. I eat 100% clean now…but when I leave this earth, my daughter has been instructed to send me off with my casket filled with red licorice….among a few other things…all edible!! Guess I won’t have to worry about what I eat then….AND the licorice, with all of its artificial colors, chemicals and preservatives might even be a great preservative….LOL!!!

  21. We love and I will try your candy too.

  22. This is off the subject. I just thought I ruin someone’s day. Are you aware that potato farmers and their families will not eat potatoes at restaurants, church potluck dinners and other sources?

    The potato farmers only eat potatoes from their own private gardens. Yep. Growing potatoes in the field requires fertilizers sprayed into or onto the freshly worked ground right after planting. The plants begin to grow and become taller and then they get sprayed with pesticides to kill bugs.

    Later the plants are sprayed with herbicides (like Agent Orange) to kill off the plants and make them nearly disappear so the machines can come in and harvest the potatoes from underground. Where do you think all that fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides goes? Yep…..through the plants and into the potatoes.

    Potato growers don’t put that stuff on the potatoes they feed their families.
    Have a nice day!

    1. I’m not one bit surprised!! Those farmers aren’t stupid. What’s really sad is that Ted and people like him think that “food is not something to be afraid of.” I guess he wouldn’t have a problem eating these potatoes. Poor Ted!!

  23. Favorite candy: caramel corn and peanut brittle…yes, I’m old. Id love a healthier alternative.
    I’m gonna try the babe’s recipe as soon as my cocoa nibs arrive!!!

  24. I enjoy your passion and your recipes and really hope I win one of these juicers. I researched them on line and a little pricey but I want one!!

  25. Being Hispanic as a child I loved eating Tamarind candy. The flavor and density of the candy is my absolute favorite. I stay away from it now but if their was a homemade recipe for Tamarind candy I would so make it myself at home. The Candy Crunch recipe looks super delish and easy to make 🙂

  26. thanks for this wonderful post and recipe! my favorite snack as a child coincidentally was candied almonds from a local vendor at the farmers market, fortunately for me I grew up and got to know that vendor and still love his almonds, will have to try this sweet tooth non-gmo recipe, that’s one way to use up the nibs, I have a bag from a long time ago. Do cocoa nibs and organic protein powder such as @essential living foods brand expire at all?! I have been wondering when do I throw them away, I cant seem to go through a bag fast enough?

    1. I’m not Food Babe but I think I can answer. I have coconut oil and cacao that have been around since 2011. They are both perfectly fine and delicious. Don’t throw the stuff out unless they are notably spoiled as in taste, smell.

  27. What are the calories and carbs & sugars on that candy? I am diabetic so im constantly watching for that. Also do you recommend diabetic healthy sweets?

    Thank you

  28. Jacquie Mosher from Radiantly Raw would make you proud! I believe she shared a post with you about her ingredients.

  29. My favorite candy was AirHeads & SourPatch Kids! Now it’s chocolate… So I can’t wait to try these myself & to let my 2 year old try them;))

  30. Lucky me! I just bought cacao nibs for the first time yesterday & you post this recipe today…plus I am off work tomorrow, so I’ll get a chance to try it out! (Or I wont be able to resist making a late night snack :-P)

  31. I may actually try this bcs it is easy, and looks good . Been wanting to use coconut sugar for something ! As kid one of my fixes were “elephant peanuts”. They tasted like bananas. I bet they do not have bananas in them . HAHA . Also on the list for most kids in the 60’s was Lik a Maid.

  32. As a child we were poor and I learned to hate candy as it was a waste of money. It had no nutritional value. The only time candy was OK was on holidays when our grandmother provided it. Easter and Christmas.

    So I must admit I do not have a favorite candy. My favorite cake though was angel food. On my birthday only.

    The recipe sounds tasty.

  33. As a kid of the 50’s I loved the original 3 Musketeers bar and a 6oz. Coke. The candy bar was much different then, it looked like a chocolate bar of soap with three segments. Soft chocolate marshmallow inside with chocolate coating on the outside that would melt on your fingers. A swallow of ‘real’ Coke (not so much real sugar with lots of carbonation) behind each bite would foam up in your mouth. If you took too much it would come out your nose, lesson learned, it only took once.

    Also I loved to top off a 6oz. bottle of Coke with a bag of salty Blister Peanuts.

  34. I’m new to your blog, I was introduced to it by my grandma. I really enjoy reading about health topics but yours has had a big impact on me. I’m still a teen so I love eating junk food with my friends and can go off campus for lunch so I don’t always make the best good choices. I was just curious of ways to avoid some off those yummy food addictions such as pizza and coffee. Things you can use to steer yourself away from wanting them. Hope to hear front you soon! Thanks (:

  35. I love all this chatter about chocolate (because I love chocolate!) but it doesn’t really agree with me, nor do lots of almonds. The phytic acid content of raw chocolate and almonds leave me feeling tired and even dizzy/foggy if I eat too much. All forms of chocolate leave me feeling less than stellar. For those with intense chocolate cravings, it could be a magnesium craving. Take some good Mg and see if your chocolate craving doesn’t diminish. Last week, I could not keep my hand out of a bag of dark chocolate, and this week, it’s barely crossed my mind after starting Mg (400-1200 mg/day until loose stools develop or cravings subside).
    Don’t mean to throw a wet rag on the chocolate Easter bunny but thought this might be helpful to some!

  36. I can’t eat nuts due to diverticulitis what could I add the nibs to, to make something crunchy and nutritious?

  37. When I was a Kid back in the 1960s my Mother would make Home Made Fudge and Peanut Brittle, There were 9 Kids in my Family and we could not afford to go to the candy store, we were always working in our garden or with the Farm Animals.

  38. Perfect timing! I bought a bag of cacao nibs for my daughter who sounds a lot like you when you were a child. I didn’t know what to do with them. Now I do! Hopefully she will enjoy this recipe.

    One question, do your nibs contain any sugar? Mine definitely don’t so I’m wondering if I need to adjust the sweetness?

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