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What works…what doesn’t…with carob (part 3)

26 Jul

Those of you who have been following along, know that I have been posting about making healthy changes in our diet, and what has/hasn’t worked for us.  If you haven’t seen those posts, you can read about them here and here.

Today, I will be talking about carob.  So what is carob?  Carob is a tropical pod that contains a sweet, edible pulp and inedible seeds. After drying, the pulp is roasted and ground into a powder that resembles cocoa powder, but does not have the same flavor and texture of chocolate.  One tablespoon of unsweetened carob powder has 25 calories, no fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, and 6 grams carbohydrate. By comparison, one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder contains 12 calories, 1 gram of fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, and 3 grams of carbohydrate.  However, unlike cocoa powder and chocolate, carob is caffeine-free. Carob also contains three times as much calcium as cocoa powder, and it is also naturally sweet, so less sugar/sweetener is needed when making products with carob.  It is also high in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium and contains iron, manganese, barium, copper and nickel.

How do you use it?
Carob can be used in place of cocoa powder, but keep in mind that it does have a strong, dark  flavor, that not all are accustomed to – in other words, a lot of people can’t stand it. 🙂  I, myself, happen to love it.  It also can be used in 2 key recipes, which I’ll get to in a minute.

How did it work for us?
Well, guess what?  Carob is another one of those lovely ingredients that I get to enjoy, all to myself. 😉 
The other members of my family can’t stand the taste of it.  I love to make it into these “chocolate” chips, (recipe #1) although, I leave out the peppermint, and break them more into chunks, than chips.  I snack on them when I get a chocolate craving.  I love them because they are all natural, and less processed then dark chocolate, which is hard to find without soy lecithin.  Bleh.  No thank you.
Now, here’s the deal.  As I said, no one else in my family likes the taste of carob, but I think I’ve found a pretty good way to mask it, and sneak it in. 🙂  There are many, many recipes on the web for chocolate carob pudding, and many different variations, but here is one that I came up with that works best for me:

Chocolate Carob Chia Pudding
2 1/2 C milk (can use coconut milk, whole milk, kefir, or a combination)
1/2 C chia seeds*
2 T dark cocoa powder
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
2 T roasted carob powder
1-2 t vanilla extract
1/4 C maple sugar (note that this is sugar, not syrup.  Feel free to substitute sweetener of  your choice)
pinch of salt
~Put all ingredients in blender and mix until well combined.  Chill for 30-60min.  Top w/homemade whipped cream, chilled coconut milk, or just enjoy plain.  Yum.

*A note on the chia seeds ~ if you don’t have a VitaMix or other strong blender, you may want to grind the seeds into a powder first.  A (clean) coffee grinder or food processor works just fine.  The powder form helps the pudding to thicken properly.
Oh, and feel free to play around w/the combination of cocoa/carob powders.  I was trying to find a way to mask the flavor of the carob, and this was what worked.  Makes a nice, rich pudding.  If you like the flavor of carob, you could use all 6T.

Closing with a picture I love: This one was taken on Orcas Island, Wa.  Re-purposing at it’s finest…have an old boat sitting in your yard?  Paint it up and use it as a planter. 🙂

This post was linked to: Simple Lives Thursday

and: The Homestead Barnhop

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