Anyone else a fan of carob? Some of my best childhood memories revolve around days spent in the countryside enjoying fresh air and carefree living, and munching on carob. I can still remember the satisfaction of opening a carob pod and sucking out every last bit of its super sweet pulp (never enough in one pod, so I had to open a lot, lol) Little did I know carob would become a food trend, years later 🙂
“Carob grows on trees, is a member of the legume family, and is frequently turned into a popular chocolate substitute. It’s also known as locust bean or St. John’s bread, and has been cultivated since the late 1800s in the Mediterranean and other parts of the world with similar climates. The tree produces brown, leathery pods six to 12 inches long with inedible seeds that turn from green to brown as they ripen. Raw, ripe pods are consumed by humans as a sweetmeat, but more often are used as animal feed due to their high sugar content” (Liz Tarpy, “What Is Carob? A Guide to Buying, Baking, and Storing Carob”)
In the US, carob is mainly found as powder made from drying, roasting, and grinding the edible pulp inside the pods. The powder is naturally sweet and milder/less bitter than cocoa powder, and it can be used as a substitute for the latter in baked goods. Since it’s naturally sweet, you might have to reduce the quantity of sugar in recipes where you want to use carob. According to Liz Tarpy, carob is also available as a syrup, which you can use with pancakes instead of maple syrup, or in savory glazes. I have yet to come across carob syrup.
Since I do a lot of baking, I like to buy carob powder from Azure Standard in bulk, and to store it in closed jars, in a dark and cool spot in the pantry.
You can shop Azure Standard using my referral link here 🙂
I recently used carob instead of cocoa powder to make the vegan mini Bundt carob brownies below, which are actually a revisiting of one of the oldest recipes ever posted on the blog.
What I love about this family recipe is that it’s not overly sweet, and it includes fruit jam, which adds an amazing layer of flavor, in my opinion. I will be posting a revised recipe soon 🙂
Do you use carob? Let me know in the comments, and happy holiday baking 🙂