What Is Carob and How Do I Use It?
Did you think the only healthy alternatives to chocolate were cacao and cocoa? Well great news for all you chocolate lovers - there’s an another way to get your fix and control those cravings - and it’s caffeine-free. It's name? Carob.
Carob boats a virtually non-existent fat content and an impressive amount of calcium: around three times as much as found in cocoa. For some of us who are sensitive to the stiumlants found in cacao and cocoa (caffeine and theobromine), this is an ingenious way to avoid headaches and jitters yet still enjoy the odd brownie.
What Is Carob?
Carob is a plant which grows in areas bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It grows similar to cacao, in pods containing a sweet pulp which is dried and roasted, before being ground into a powder. Whilst carob is still naturally sweet, it's taste and texture are different from cacao. It has a slightly nutty, earthy taste with a sweet hint of caramel - making it a great addition to baking, desserts and even smoothies.
For the minority who suffer from headaches related to caffeine and chocolate products, carob can be a real life-saver. Natural or not, stimulants like cacao can make some of us anxious, tired, restless and cause a spike in our energy levels - so hooray for carob!
How Do I Use It?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Start using carob powder by introducing it to recipes which call for cacao powder. If you're just looking to cut down on cacao, try substiuting half cacao for carob so you'll still get that rich, chocolatey taste
- Carob chips - these are my favourite way to use them: quick and easy and it involves little effort. Use these instead of chocolate chips in muffins, cookies, brownies or any recipe, it’s an all round better choice and hardly anyone will notice!
- Use carob flour to create healthy pancakes, energy balls and cakes
- The best one yet - hot chocolate! Mix together carob powder and milk (I love it with almond milk) to form a paste, stir through a low heat and whisk throughout to avoid any lumps. Add a drop or two of maple syrup or agave to sweeten to taste
If you have any other tasty carob recipes or way you use it at home then I’d love to know! Give me a shout in the comment box below…
mouth-watering to share?