Many people love chocolate, but it has harmful substances like caffeine and theobromine, among others. Even aside from this, though, cocoa is often mixed with milk, oil, and sugar before we are willing to consume it. Milk and sugar especially will cause fermentation in our stomachs, leaving a nasty residue that you don't really want in your body.
But health issues are not the only problems with chocolate: there are ethical concerns. 75% of the world's cocoa is farmed in West Africa, where there has been issues with child labor, and, in some cases, child slavery.
So what does one do? Some turn to carob. Carob mimics the appearance of chocolate: you can substitute carob for chocolate 1:1 in pretty much any recipe, be it powder or chips.
What is carob? Carob comes from the dried bean pod of the carob tree. (Fun fact: The carob tree is also called the locust tree. It is widely believed that John the Baptist ate not the insect locusts, but the fruit of the locust tree pods.)
For an in-depth look at the nutritional benefits of carob, look here.
Some say that it has a similar taste: indeed, when making a recipe, it may. I think that carob has it's own wonderful taste. This writer highly recommends raw carob powder to get the naturally fruity nuance with it.
A warning for the cook: when melting carob chips, they burn faster than chocolate, so be careful.
Without any further ado, here is this month's recipe!
3 cups carob chips
1 cup peanuts *
1 cup dried cranberries *
*Feel free to use different add-ins to your liking.
Melt the carob chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high power two minutes. Give the chips a stir, then microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time until they are melted. **
**For an optional smoother texture, you may melt a little coconut oil with the chips.
Once the carob is ready, stir in your add-ins until they are coated.
Drop by the teaspoonful onto a a sheet of wax paper or a silicone baking sheet.
Let set until firm.
By the way, we demonstrated this and more Healthy Christmas Cookie recipes at our Healthy Living Seminar in November. We have them the last Thursday every month at 6:30 pm on location. We would love to see you there!