As much as I love chocolate brownies, the carob version is a nice, healthy alternative which exercises our skills of foraging and utilizing wild-growing foods. The pods of the carob tree are rich in minerals and vitamins, and can be utilized to make tasty, naturally-sweet powder that is often used as a cocoa/chocolate substitute. As a bonus, unlike cocoa, carob is naturally sweet, so when using it I can cut back on added sugar.
Carob trees grow all over Israel (and in similar climates), and the dark brown pods can be picked in the summer. They keep extremely well, so you can pick a big bunch and then process it at your convenience. Make sure the pods you pick are ripe. They are supposed to look and feel dry and to come off easily from the tree. Choose the biggest, shiniest, healthiest-looking pods.
Wash the pods and boil them for around 30 minutes to soften them. This way they will be easier to de-seed. Cut them lengthwise with a sharp knife, remove the seeds, break into pieces and place on a cookie sheet. Dry in the oven on low heat, or in the sun. The pod pieces should be really crisp, but not burned.
Throw your dried carob pieces into the food processor. Once you have mostly powder, sift to remove any chunks that are left, then return them into the food processor and repeat.
Above: carob powder in process of making. Note it’s still a little chunky.
Once you have your carob powder, you can proceed to making the brownies. That’s the easiest part by far!
• 3 eggs (we prefer to use our own, of course)
• ½ cup natural sweetener (we use honey or organic maple syrup)
• ¾ cup cold pressed coconut oil
• ½ cup carob powder
• 1\2 cup flour (if you wish to avoid gluten, any kind of gluten-free flour will work perfectly well)
• a pinch of baking powder
• optional: some natural vanilla extract to taste
1. Mix well and spread over a baking-paper lined tray.
2. Bake for 20-25 minutes at medium heat, checking often (don’t overdo – they are supposed to remain a little moist inside).
3. Cut into squares while brownies are still hot, and allow them to set before removing from baking tray. Store in an airtight jar for a week or indefinitely in the freezer.
Carob brownies, cut into squares while still hot.
Anna Twitto’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Anna and her husband live on a plot of land in Israel. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. Anna’s books are on her Amazon.com Author Page. Connect with Anna on Facebook and read more about her current projects onher blog. Read all Anna’s Mother Earth News posts here.
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