Carob, or St. John’s Bread (bockser in Yiddish) is a unique “chocolate substitute” that grows only in a Mediterranean climate. While carob has a very unique and wonderful taste, it is not as robust and plentiful as chocolate, therefore it isn’t as well known. The large, horn, or banana shaped leathery pods produce “beans” or edible legumes that are dried and crushed into a powder, and the powder is used in recipes for sweetness and flavor. (syrups, brownies, cakes, muffins, etc.) Many people use carob as a natural, food based, dietary supplement because it contains potassium, thiamine, selenium, iron, magnesium and even calcium. Much like cocoa powder, carob powder has a rich brown color and a chocolate-esque flavor. Carob unlike chocolate, does not contain caffeine and it is naturally sweeter. The flavor of the powder is reminiscent of chocolate but much less bitter, carob also has an aromatic raisin or date like taste that is more profound with the fruit rather than the powder.
I’ll admit that I bought carob powder ages, and ages ago, it wasn’t until just a few days ago that I decided to dust it off. During our vacation in Israel last year I had the pleasure of tasting lots of things directly from the tree’s, one of the weirdest (to me) was carob. (Maybe this is because I ate the pod too?) I really think I enjoy it more now because I reminisce about the fresh raisin like, carob flavor. The key to enjoying carob is to not see it as a chocolate knock off, but as a beautiful delicacy that speaks for itself. These muffins are simple and easy to prepare, they are pleasantly different from the usual. Unlike an every day chocolate muffin these are free of caffeine and and packed with vitamins and minerals!
To accentuate the carob flavors be sure to use sucanat (raw sugar) or date sugar. To bring out or mimic the chocolate flavors, add 1 teaspoon of espresso or coffee granules. (Obviously this will un-do the caffeine free-ness.)
- 1 3/4 Cups Sprouted Wheat Flour
- 2/3 Cup Carob Powder
- 1 cup Whole Cane Sugaror Date Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil, Melted
- 1 Cup Coconut Milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 2 Teaspoons Vinegar
- Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.
- In a bowl combine your wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Combine your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until blended.
- Stir in chocolate chips or carob baking chips. (raisins or dates would be nice too)
- Dollop 1/3 cup fulls into greased muffin tins (or silicone baking cups)
- Sprinkle a few teaspoons of Raw sugar/sucanat on top. (I have jars that contain both. The sucanat caramelizes nicely while the raw crystals are pretty and shiny)
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Be careful not to burn! (carob burns easier than chocolate)
Carob was eaten in Ancient Egypt, and even Greece, it was primarily used as a natural sweetener and it was a great source of calcium. Carob is primarily popular in North African and Middle Eastern countries. Today carob is still a popular staple for many cultures and religions as it is a traditional, unique flavor of the Mediterranean regions. It is enjoyed for Ramadan and Tu Bishvat, and Carob Molasses is even used as a holistic remedy for cough and sore throats!
Why Sprouted Wheat Flour? In short sprouted and soaked wheat is easier to digest than it’s conventional counter part. When using whole grains that contain the hull it is best to soak and sprout for better nutrient absorption. The phytic acid found in the hull can prevent mineral absorption and cause stomach upset. Soaking and sprouting allows the wheat to “digest as easily as a vegetable.” (It is less abrasive and it has a better nutrient profile.)