CAROB

lat. Ceratonia siliqua
hrv. Rogač

Known as the carob tree, carob bush or locust bean. This evergreen plant belongs to the pea family, Fabaceae. It is used extensively in agriculture, as it is cultivated for its edible pods. 

History and Origin

Carob is commonly grown as an ornamental tree in gardens and can still be found growing wild in eastern Mediterranean regions.

The ripe, dried pods are ground to carob powder, which is used to replace cocoa powder. Its documented use goes back 4,000 years, all the way to Ancient Greece as well as the Arabic world, where its seed has been used to measure gems because of their consistent size. This is where we get the term “carat” from.

Properties

Carob contains polyphenols, naturally occurring chemicals which help with blood cholesterol levels in a way similar to dietary fibre. The polyphenols  are also powerful antioxidants, protecting the body from toxins.
The plant is high in calcium, an essential mineral as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, D and E and is often used for the treatment of cough, flu, and anaemia. Carob also contains gallic acid, an analgesic,  which can be used as an anti-allergic and is antibacterial.

Fudgy Carob Brownies

A healthy low calorie alternative to chocolate brownies. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup carob chips
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
¾ cup packed light or dark brown sugar (I used a combination of both)
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch square baking pan.
  • In a large microwave safe bowl, place the carob and butter. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between to promote melting and prevent burning, until fully melted. Stir in the sugars, followed by the eggs and vanilla. Stir until fully combined.
  • Add the flour and fold in using a rubber spatula until it is just mixed in. Do not over mix.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until the brownies are set and the middle is barely firm to the touch.
  • Cool for about 15 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving.

Tips and notes

Brownies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days or frozen, wrapped in greaseproof paper and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in the microwave for about 30 seconds.