Caruncle Carob

25 06 2011
Manna from Heaven?

Put chocolate in front of me and there’s a cacophony of alarms going off in my head, it’s too hard to resist the temptation for a daily dose of “vitamin C” most days. In a never-ending quest for health, I’ve been looking into other options. Today’s kitchen experiment was with my new best friend – Carob.

Red Mill makes a fabulous toasted carob powder. It’s like fine silt, and it goes EVERYWHERE when you open the cellophane packaging.  User beware.

I have a habit of picking up some ingredient that I’ve never tried before when I’m at the market. I like to keep things fresh, but I must confess this carob has been hibernating in my cupboard unattended for longer than it should have.  Had I only known!?!

I started scouring the internet for recipe possibilities. There’s one word that kept catching my eye……brownies! But could this toasted carob stand up to the traditional cocoa powder version?

Carob comes from pods of the carob tree which is prevalent in the Mediterranean region. It is technically from the legume family. It is a good source of protein, fiber and Omega 6s.  The plant also goes by the name St. John’s Bread and locust bean. Wikipedia notes that Locust bean gum is a “galactomannan” vegetable gum extracted from the seeds of the carob tree and it is used as a thickening agent in foods. Well, now we know!

Conspectus Controversy –

Matthew 3:4 has John the Baptist feeding on locusts and wild honey. What if that was a reference for locust beans and wild honey? Is it possible that our beloved JB had a pure sweet tooth? (Carob sounds more appealing than grasshoppers, doesn’t it?)

I read that in the Jewish Talmud, there is a story about carob trees taking as long as 70 years to grow from a seedling to bearing its fruit. Israelites would not necessarily benefit from their own plantings; it would be done for the next generation to harvest. That’s an excellent reminder to invest in the next generation in order that they may harvest and prosper.

I won’t need to be eating too much carob for fear of further caruncle development…..but it is a good substitute when you’re looking for an option for a treat.

It has a naturally “sweet” taste to it, so the theory is that you need less sugar to go along with it. And now that we can rationalize using spiritual and historical significance….enjoy your daily dose of “Vitamin C(arob)”….

Carob Brownies

Yield: Makes one 8” x 8” pan

 Ingredients:

½ cup Earth Balance butter

¾ cup organic granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2/3 cup organic all purpose flour

½ cup carob powder (Red Mill makes a toasted carob powder that works here!)

½ tsp. baking powder

½ c. chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans) 

 Instructions: 

Preheat the oven to 350*F 

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add in dry ingredients (carob powder, flour, baking powder), blending until smooth, taking care not to over mix. Add in nuts and stir until combined. Spread batter in a greased 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan. Bake at 350*F for about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool before slicing.

 

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