When I started feeding my body AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) foods and found out that I had to give up everything chocolate, to say I was disappointed is an understatement. But those of us who have been learning to live in the AIP world, we have a fabulous secret. There is carob!
What is carob? Carob, just like its cocoa counterpart, comes from a tropical tree, native to Mediterranean areas. Carob trees produce pods which are harvested just like cocoa. The pulp inside each pod is dried, roasted, and ground into a powder. If you didn’t know better, when you do a side-by-side comparison, you would think carob was the exact thing as cocoa powder. They definitely look similar, but they each have a distinctly different aroma. There isn’t anything quite like the smell of cocoa, and carob definitely can’t complete. I’m just thankful there is an alternative at all.
Although these two powders look similar, there is a slightly different taste between the two products. Carob is less bitter than chocolate and has a roasted, naturally sweet flavor. It is possible to substitute carob powder for cocoa powder in most recipes. Simply replace one part cocoa with 2–1/2 parts carob powder by measure.
To top off the fact that carob enables me to enjoy “chocolate” treats, there are a few nutritional facts about carob that make it appealing:
- Carob contains three times as much calcium as cocoa powder.
- Carob is caffeine-free.
- Carob is high in fiber.
Carob is on the market today in two forms, powder and chips. My favorite carob powder I can find on Amazon or at my local health food grocery store. Chips, on the other hand, are a little trickier. All the carob chips I have found ALL have sugar in them—even the ones listed as “unsweetened”. I can’t figure that one out, so until I do, I’ll just use the powder.
In all honesty, if I didn’t have to control my chocolate intake, I would love to continue using cacao (or cocoa) powder. There is relatively no caloric difference between the two powders. But since I have been re-learning my relationship with chocolate, I have been able to invite others to participate. There is a growing number of people in my life who cannot have caffeine in their diet, and now that I have found carob, I can make brownies when they come over for a visit.
Here is the recipe I made this weekend, and it turned out amazing! Thank you to Michelle at Unbound Wellness for her inspiration. I have changed a few things about the recipe (see below), but otherwise, it’s a keeper. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does! In my ongoing search for better “chocolate” treats, I just might have to write more about them. Until next time…
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch
- 1/2 cup carob powder
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2/3 cup coconut oil, softened (+ extra to grease the pan)
- 7 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp gelatin and 1/2 cup of water for the gelatin egg
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Combine the coconut flour, tapioca starch, carob, and baking soda.
- Mix in the pumpkin puree, maple syrup and coconut oil and stir until thoroughly combined.
- For the gelatin egg, measure water into small saucepan. Pour the gelatin over water and allow to bloom for 1–2 minutes.
- Turn the stove on low and allow the gelatin to quickly melt. Once the gelatin appears to have dissolved, whisk vigorously until the “gelatin egg” is frothy.
- Add the gelatin egg to the mixture immediately and stir.
- Grease a 9 x 9 baking pan with coconut oil and spoon into the pan.
- Bake for 25–30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing.