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The Advantages of Carob

carobgranolabars I'm a chocolate lover; you know that already. And I'm sensitive to caffeine; you know that, too. So, let's be frank: When you love chocolate, it's hard to find a replacement with the same flavor and mouth-feel, right? Enter carob. Not chocolate, not really. But a good place to start. In fact, there are plenty of times when I choose carob instead. Why? Unlike chocolate, carob is naturally sweet, low in fat, high in fiber, has calcium, and most importantly to me, no caffeine. And because chocolate is linked to migraines and caffeine-sensitivity for some people, carob definitely has its advantages.

Carob comes from the pod of a tree that grows along the Mediterranean Sea. The pod contains a sweet, edible pulp. Once dried and roasted, the pulp is ground into a powder called carob flour (but more commonly referred to as "carob powder"). It's similar to cocoa powder in color and can be substituted one-for-one in recipes, but carob is unique with its own special flavor and texture. {C}{C}If you've never tried carob, you're in for a treat. It's sweet, mild and packed with pectin, a soluble fiber. Traditionally, it was used to soothe an upset stomach.

I've been enjoying this soothing, winter-perfect recipe for Hot Spiced Carob. You can try carob in cookies, candies and beverages. It's very simple to substitute in your favorite recipes. Here are some substitution ideas to get you started:

  • Replace cocoa powder with carob powder one-for-one in your recipes.
  • Or use half cocoa powder and half carob powder in your recipes.
  • Substitute carob chips for chocolate chips in cookies, bars, cakes, muffins and candies. (Many of our stores carry unsweetened carob chips,too.)
  • Baking fat free? No problem! Omit the oil or butter and use a little extra applesauce, mashed pears, mashed bananas or other fruit puree.
  • Carob can burn! Set your oven 25°F lower when baking with it exclusively.
  • Got a recipe calling for baking chocolate? For each square, use 3 tablespoons of carob powder plus one to two tablespoons of dairy or non-dairy milk.
  • Add a tablespoon of carob powder to bread dough to make a nice, rich dark color.
  • Store carob flour in an air-tight container in a cool, dry pantry; if it lumps up, just sift before using.

And now for some fun ideas and recipes:

  • Bake a Carob Cake - fudge-like without the chocolate!
  • Top frozen yogurt or ice cream with carob powder. Mash it in and eat it up!
  • Mix peanut or almond butter with carob flour, raw honey and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom. Add a drop of vanilla; form into balls and eat it plain or spread it over apples, pears, peaches, plumbs or oranges.
  • Make a carob smoothie with milk or fruit juice, frozen fruit, nut butter and carob powder.
  • Prepare a batch of Maple and Carob Chip Granola Bars, perfect for breakfast.
  • Make carob pancakes: Substitute 1/4 cup carob flour for 1/4 cup regular flour in your recipe. Omit the sugar and add an extra tablespoon of oil or melted butter. Top with strawberries, walnuts and a little pure maple syrup.
  • Top fresh berries or other fruit with a combination of nuts and carob chips.
  • Melt carob chips and spoon over fruit or frozen desserts. Try with mango sorbet.
  • Throw a handful of carob chips into muffins for a nice treat.
  • Gather the kids (of any age!) and make these no-cook Chocolate Earth Balls; be sure to use the carob powder.
  • Heat a cup of milk or non-dairy milk. Add a small handful of carob chips, stir until melted and drink up.
  • Make a vanilla cake, throw a handful of carob chips into the batter, and bake as directed.
  • Make trail mix with carob chips, dried fruit, whole grain cereal and chopped nuts.

Have you tried carob? Got a favorite recipe or idea? Let me hear about it!

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168 comments

Comments

Felicia says …

Heather Neal...what is Roma and can you include a link on where to get it! Your recipe looks delicious but I can't seem to find any info on Roma. Thanks!

Kim Anderson says …

Are the carb chips carried at Whole Foods unsweetened? I'm looking for unsweetened ones.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@KIM - Our exact products can vary so check with your local store to find out what they have in stock!

Susan Earle says …

Iv`e just bought my first pack of Carob flakes as I have to be glutton and lactoise free I heard of carob while on holiday in norther Cyprus but I am having difficulty in finding recipes and instruction on how to prepare it

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@SUSAN - There are some great tips in the post above. Also, if you click on the links above it will take you to various recipes!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@SUSAN - Carob chips can be substituted for chocolate chips in any baking recipe. Like chocolate, carob can be purchased both sweetened and unsweetened varieties.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ALVINA - Carob is much lower in fat than chocolate, so melting a little oil to the chips will help with texture. Coconut oil would taste great and help the carob solidify again after dipping.

Mary Jane Alexander says …

I have been given Carib pods.. They appear dry but I've no idea how to prepare them for culinary use. Do I roast them ? Boil them or what ! They were given by my neighbour in Italy who uses them as medicine . In other words I have the raw ingredient but have no idea how to get them ready for use. Thank you .Mary Jane

Sherry says …

That was pretty useful, thanks a million I love eating carob in its primary form but this article gave me lots of ideas

Carolyn says …

The last time I was at your store in Hillcrest I noticed that you did not have carob chips. In the future will you have carob chips in the Hillcrest store?

Lindsey S says …

Am I the only chocoholic on the planet who can't stand the stuff? I really really wanted to like carob and tried it quite a few times, but I could never get over the suspicion I was eating something kind of grainy and too earthy to be chocolatey. Is there a recipe I should try that maybe will wet my feet and warm me up slowly? I want to like the stuff for health/caffiene purposes.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@CAROLYN - Our buying is done at the store/regional level. It would be best to check with the Grocery team at the Hillcrest store directly to find out when they will have them back in stock.

Nouhad Moucharrafie says …

My grand parent had a primitive carob juice factory as about 10 people in town.Carob juice as we call " dibbs" (it is slightly thick and smooth)was the basic sweetening mix before sugar came out.I remember eating "halawah" known here as "halva" with carob juice sweetener.In the past when sugar was recent,halva factories made both,halva with carob juice and halva with sugar and I had my choice but not any more and I may.People now want an appealing color and for lack of study and lack of education about the content,people distant themselves from carob despite it's great benefits. I did not know before about carob not containing caffeine or it does and same about # of calories. You can buy carob juice"dibbs" from middle eastern markets;it comes in glass jars and in various sizes or it might be provided in plastic container.It is delicious to have an equal amount of "dibbs" and "tahini",2oz +2oz,mix them up to have a one color loose paste and eat them with half roasted or heated to crisp color Arabic bread or(pita bread,pocket bread) available in middle eastern stores or even healthy whole wheat square slices of bread available every where.You can scoop the mixture with a piece of bread,spread the mixture on a slice of bread or spread the mixture in the middle,from edge to edge,2"-3" wide on the already opened Arabic bread loaf and enjoy. In the end of my comment,thank you for putting your carob products on the market,Nouhad Moucharrafie'

Joan Wagner says …

Can carob chips be melted like chocolate?

Jordana says …

I am pretty sure I am allergic to carob...

pete eastman says …

I am 73, just got out of the hospital after a heart attack. I'm going to replace coffee, cigarettes sugar snaks and anything else I can think of with Carob. I bought 5 lbs to start with because I have a lot of things wrong with these old bones. High blood pressure, borderline diabetic, high cholesterol, clogged everything, and a few other things. On a diet since November 2013 and went from 280 to 227 in 2 months eating yogurt instead of fat snaks.

Diane P. says …

I just made a wonderful smoothie: 1 scoop whey protein, 1 tbls carob powder, handfull of kale, handful spinach, 1/2 blueberries and 1/2 bananna. I never tried the powder before ...very good!

Theresa says …

In their bulk section, Whole Foods carries a Carob-Date-Nut-Coconut cluster that is absolutely amazing! I can give up all chocolate and other candies for this! Do you happen to have the list of ingredients? I'd like to try to make something like it at home.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@THERESA - Since our bulk items differ between locations, check with the store where you purchased this. They will be happy to share an ingredient list.

Gary Pipta says …

I'm interested in using carob powder to help the cramping and blood flow in my legs. How does this work if you are an insulin dependent diabetic. My diabetes is in control but I do have a problem with walking and exercise due to the cramps. Thanks.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@GARY - I would highly suggest reaching out to your healthcare professional for their advice before adding anything to your diet.

Gary Centabar says …

I am a diabetic, Are Carbo Chips sugar free?

Gloria Chambers says …

Carob recipes

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@GARY - I would check with the type of carob you plan to buy. More than likely there will be naturally occurring sugars.

cckk says …

I recently heard about the many health benefits of carob. I decided to give it a try and bought carob powder. I decided to put some in hot milk to try it. I had to spit it out in the kitchen sink. The taste was disgusting. Nothing like chocolate not even remotely close. I almost threw the can away. Did I do something wrong? Was I supposed to add something else to it? yuck!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@CCKK - So sorry it didn't work out! I would suggest following the instructions for the package and making sure it can be mixed as a beverage!

Patricia Kasik says …

Has anyone substituted almond flour for the flour in the Carob Cake?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@PATRICIA - If you replace with almond flour, it will be much more dense. I would suggest trying out this cake recipe and using carob: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/chocolate-almond-cake-bay-whipped-cream.

Doris Kay Sadow says …

Making trail. mix with carob chips. dried fruit. whole grain cereal would be great for me. I would substitute seeds for the nuts as I can not have them. Is there a recipe for it?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@DORIS - The great thing about making trail mix is that there really aren't any rules! You can either combine equal parts of all the ingredients or we have a few recipes on our website: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/granola-trail-mix.

Beryl Bicheno says …

This website has helped me already. they do have carob products in my local health stores but they put dairy in it which, besides caffeine, I can't have. No more giving in to chocolate and though loving it at the time of eating, keeping me awake at night and giving me a bad head and bags under my eyes the next day. I find it so difficult to never eat certain foods, it gets so boring. Thanks for the info.

Susan says …

How to make grain free carob cake for canine? Thxxx!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@SUSAN - We don't have too many pet recipes on our website but I found this wheat and gluten free carob recipe at http://doggydessertchef.com/2010/11/01/carob-crunchers/.

Deann says …

thanks for your share...great info! cant wait to use it in my next recipe! :-D

Jan Denbow says …

I saw on Dr. Ox today that carob powder is good for people that suffer with IBS and other digestion problems , I would like to know more

Elizaer nutrientsbeth Begley says …

Thank you for the information on carob. Do you have specific nutritional info on unsweetened carob chips: protein, fat, sugar, fiber, etc? Do you have the andi score for unsweetened carob chips? Thanks so much!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ELIZAER - I would suggest looking for a particular vendor of carob and they should be able to provide you with their nutritional info.

joseph winn says …

Carob is also a great replacement for chicolate for dialysis patients being it is naturally low in phosphorus and many chemicals that a dialysis patient needs to avoid.

Betty says …

I'm on warafin for my heart, can I use this carob powder without raising my proton numbers

cristy smith says …

I live in mobile Alabama and can not find what we love the most. Walnut covered with carob, I'd love to find a store that carried a lot of different nuts or fruits covered with this. We lived in Phoenix for many years and had no problem finding this. can you tell me if there is any one here? Thanks for your help. Cris

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@CRISTY - We do not currently have a store near Mobile but we have announced one for hopefully for 2015 (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company-info/stores-development). In the meantime, you can check with our Lamar store in Austin as they can ship any products that they carry in their store. You can call them directly at 512-542-2243.

Daura says …

Hi, I have been looking for carob spread for a while now. Do you sell it in your Miami stores? In Europe you can find it under the brand Carobella Carob spread. It seems they do not export here. Their spread has no sugar or cane sugar which is ideal. Please let me know. Thanks, Daura

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@DAURA - Our exact products differ between our stores. I would suggest calling the exact store you shop with in Miami to see what they have in stock!

Donna Hayes says …

Wow great information, recent change to Vegan diet, about 3 months. Did my homework on the nutritional needs and to ensure good coverage of B vitamins, plant based proteins, calcium. Only animal product I do not omit is raw honey. Used to eat carob eons ago and just reintroduced myself to it today. Was in California Fresh Market (a lot like Whole Foods and Frontiers Market) and saw the Vegan carob chips sold by the pound. I am always interested in all the information and variety I can get from good sources. Am interested now in learning about how to bake Vegan. Was a Chocoholic and stopped all of that nonsense. Would like more info on where to find good bakery goods recipes. Nana Vegan cookies are great but pretty pricey. So more recipes on carob, this article very helpful, and what can be used to make tasty treats. I am loving this new way of eating. Lost 20 lbs without really trying.

Lanai says …

I love making granola and recently sprinkled carob chips on top before baking. It turned into a delicious, melty, carob gooeynees and is the best granola I've ever made.

Laura says …

are there any carob chips available made without palm or palm kernel oil?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@LAURA - Check with your local store to see what they have in stock. They'll be happy to check the ingredients for the vendors they carry!

Miss says …

I drove two hours to whole foods . I asked two clerks there where to find carob. They did not know. I left with other groceries in the Mt Pleasant , SC store. So much for that inspiration.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MISS - My apologies the store didn't have this in stock. Our products differ between locations so it can vary. We have a store in Austin and can ship non-perishable items within the US if you would still like to try carob. You can reach them at 512-542-2243 for more info!

Deborah Williams says …

Thanks so much for this information regarding carob. I have not tried it yet but I will as I need to take caffine out of my diet for better living. Reading the information you have stated, I am now truly excited and look forward to trying it. Thanks again Ms. Alana. Sincerely, Deb Williams

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