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Carob

We have been using carob powder (also known as carob flour) since the 80s, when Sime developed an intolerance to caffeine.
He had overdosed on coffee & his body couldn't take any more. 

We discovered carob powder in our local health store & have used it ever since as an alternative to cocoa... 
We enjoy it warmed in a pan of plant milk & drink it like hot chocolate, but mostly I use it in baking. Carob doesn't have the kick that cocoa can give you, but it is higher in fibre, has a lower fat content & is naturally sweet - so it's possible to use less or no sugar at all in recipes. It is also rich in calcium & contains a long list of minerals, as well as Omega 6 fatty acids. 
We love it!

You can substitute carob for cocoa in any recipe, but I would recommend adding an extra half of carob to the required amount of cocoa, so if a recipe says 2 tbsp cocoa - I would add 3 tbsp carob & then deduct 1 tbsp of sugar from the recipe... Otherwise, it would be too sweet!

Here are some of my recipes, which are free from sugar & added fat.

Carob Balls
4 oz chopped dates
2 oz chopped apple or puréed apple
2 fl oz plant milk
2 oz carob powder
1 oz toasted hazelnuts
1 oz desiccated coconut
6 oz porridge oats
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon for dusting
Makes around 16


Method
Mix the dates, apple (or purée), milk & carob in a pan.
Gently bring to the boil & simmer for 5 minutes.
Chop or grind the hazelnuts.
Take the pan off the heat & whizz the date mixture with a hand blender.
Add oats, nuts, coconut, vanilla & spice.
Mix thoroughly, then roll into walnut-sized balls.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Leave to cool on baking sheets.
Store in airtight container.


Carob, Orange & Apricot Cake
Wet ingredients: 5 tbsp puréed apple, zest & juice of 1 orange & 3 1/2 oz chopped dried apricots.
Dry ingredients: 5 oz self-raising wholemeal flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tbsp carob powder, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, pinch of ground nutmeg & pinch of sea salt.
Makes enough for one 8 inch cake tin.


Method
Preheat oven to a medium heat & line cake tin.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the wet ingredients.
In another bowl mix the dry ingredients.
Gradually add the dry to wet ingredients & mix well.
Add a little plant milk if the mixture is too dry.

Transfer into the cake tin & bake for 20 minutes.
Test the cake with a fork, if it's still soggy - bake for another 10 minutes.
Remove from the tin & cool on a rack.

We think this cake is nice as it is, but for some extra sweetness... 
This is a delicious topping or if you double the cake recipe - you could also use it as a filling.

Carob Fudge Topping
4 oz chopped dates, 8 fl oz plant milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract & 4 tbsp carob powder. 


Heat it all up in a pan for around 10 minutes, then whizz the mixture up with a hand blender or food processor & just add extra milk if too dry.

Enjoy!

Kay x







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