A Chocolate Fix… Without the Chocolate?

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I’m not going to deny it, I am a bit of a chocoholic! It is my go-to sweet on just about any occasion and I have sneaky ways of combining it into just about any meal- including breakfast!

I typically go for the raw cacao option where possible to maximise the nutritional factor compared with processed cocoa (and to make me feel more justified in indulging!) BUT there are times where I want a chocolatey kinda hit without the chocolate. I also know, from conversations with peers and readers of my blog over the years, that not everyone likes or can tolerate a lot of chocolate, particularly later in the evening.

The primary benefit of carob as a chocolate substitute is that, unlike cocoa, carob contains no caffeine or theobromine. Both of these chemicals (which belong to a family of substances called methylxanthines) are stimulants, which some people are sensitive to. If that’s the case, this recipe is definitely one for you!

I have a bit of a personal ‘history’ with carob. Long-story-short, I was told by a food specialist at around the age of 10, that my hyperactivity was down to chocolate and E-numbers so my mum tried to fool me by swapping chocolate for carob bars…. Yuk!!! It took me a long time to trust again and for almost two decades I refused to acknowledge carob as an option.

I am happy to report I am now over that. Carob and I are firm friends!

Tip- Don't expect carob to directly replicate chocolate, instead appreciate it in its own right as a softer more ‘caramelly' chocolate-like flavour. In this recipe, I have combined it with maca powder and dried mulberries to further amplify the caramelly notes.

Give it a go and let me know what you think?

P.s Yes, if you want to swap in some raw cacao for some of the carob, feel free.

Caramelly Carob Bliss Balls

Makes approx 15 balls

Ingredients:

1 packed cup dates (whole ones chopped)

½ cup dried white mulberries (or more dates)

1 tbs maca powder (optional)

½ cup desiccated coconut*

1/3 cup carob powder

Method:

  1. Soak the dates in boiling water for five minutes or so and then drain very well (this makes them easier on the food processor blades).
     
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz together until well combined and the mix is smooth and slightly sticky. You may need to scrape the bowl down a couple of times.
     
  3. The mix should not be too sticky to roll into small balls with your hands. Dust in carob and allow to firm up in the fridge to serve. These also freeze well.

* Note- if you want a super smooth truffle like ball- add the coconut on its own to a food processor and blitz until very fine before adding the remaining ingredients.

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Jo is the health and mindset coach who works with the ‘square pegs’ trying to force themselves into ‘round holes’. Her passion was born from a personal journey of plant-based nutrition being the gateway to stepping away from convention and conformity into a deeper connection with her true sense of self. When she’s not whipping up incredible dishes in the kitchen, you can find her sharing her recipes and words of wisdom over at www.includingcake.com and on Instagram @johodson

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Jo Hodson

Jo is the health and mindset coach who works with the ‘square pegs’ trying to force themselves into ‘round holes’. Her passion was born from a personal journey of plant-based nutrition being the gateway to stepping away from convention and conformity into a deeper connection with her true sense of self. When she’s not whipping up incredible dishes in the kitchen, you can find her sharing her recipes and words of wisdom over at www.includingcake.com and on Instagram , twitter and facebook