By Request


Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Cookies and brownies are made with carob.

When chocolate’s out,
there’s always carob

It has come to my attention that there are people who cannot eat chocolate. They have allergies, or find that chocolate triggers migraines, or they have to avoid the milk or the caffeine found in chocolate.

The world can certainly be a cruel place.

But at least the world does provide carob, a substitute for chocolate that's higher in natural sugar, lower in fat and minus the caffeine. Some people actually prefer it to chocolate.

Patti Almonte is seeking the recipe for carob chip bars sold at Down to Earth Natural Foods. "I'm hooked on them," she says. Almonte can't eat chocolate and enjoys the taste of carob.

Down to Earth won't give out recipes for items sold by its bakeries, but offered as an alternative a carob chip cookie recipe used in the store's cooking classes. Almonte was willing to take that, as well as any other good carob recipes.

General baking cookbooks tend to ignore this substance. In index after index, between cardamom and carrot, you'll find a whole lot of nothing. But vegetarian cookbooks do pay the ingredient heed. It's favored by vegans because carob powders and some carob chips are made without milk products.

Carob comes from the dried pulp of the carob or locust bean and is sold at health food stores. But before you toss a handful of carob chips into your mouth, hear this: The taste is very pungent, and not really like chocolate. Some people love it, but others can't handle it at all.

Carob Chip Cookies

Down to Earth Natural Foods

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed raw sugar
2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup fructose (see notes)
1 tablespoon powdered egg replacer with 4 tablespoons water (see notes)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups carob chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Cream butter with sugar, then mix in all other ingredients, adding the chips last. Drop by tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 18 to 22 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Notes: Fructose and powdered egg replacer are sold at health food stores. Fructose may also be found near the sugar in supermarkets. Substitute 2 eggs for the egg replacer in this recipe.

Carob Nut Brownies

"Recipes for a Small Planet," by Ellen Buchwald Ewald (Ballantine Books, 1973)

1/2 cup butter or oil
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup carob powder
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons milk powder (3-1/2 tablespoons instant)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream together butter and honey. Beat in eggs, salt and vanilla.

Sift together carob powder, flour, milk powder and baking powder. Blend with creamed mixture. Stir in sunflower seeds and nuts. Pour into a greased 8-by-8-inch pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Carob Chip Oatmeal Cookies

"1001 Cookie Recipes," by Gregg R. Gillespie (Black Dog and Leventhal, 1995)

2-1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup carob chips
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Melt shortening with honey, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in eggs one at a time. Gradually blend in dry ingredients. Fold in oats, chips, raisins and nuts.

Drop dough by spoonfuls 1-1/2 inches apart onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Can you help?

While we're on the subject of baking, here are a few requests in need of solutions:

>> Grace Hirayama yearns for the pumpkin muffins sold by the now-defunct Sweet Thoughts in Manoa Marketplace.

>> Kate Chinen wants a proven recipe for brownies made with whole wheat.

>> Dana Izumi wants to recreate the fruit bar she used to buy at King's Bakery, "thick, yet moist and not too nutty," with candied fruits as in fruitcake. Anyone have a similar recipe?

Food Stuffs: Morsels

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
"By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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