I hope everyone had (or is still having) a great Mother’s Day today! Behold what I found on the mantelpiece this morning:
Yep, for the first time ever, this year I received a card from The Girls. I guess that
hinting cajoling begging having temper tantrums being a loving partner all year really paid off! 😉
[What was inside that envelope.]
For our Mother’s Day brunch this morning, the HH and I ate a batch of fabulous Buckwheat Waffles. I used the recipe in Vegan Brunch and simply swapped out the all-purpose flour with the same volume of Amy’s Basic Flour Blend (Sorghum-Garfava). Perfection! Here they are drenched in Sweet Almond Sauce:
But I’m not here to talk about breakfast (unless, of course, I slip in an extra mention that a copy of my breakfast ebook, Good Morning! Breakfasts, is being given away over at Tasty Eats at Home until May 14th–if you haven’t yet, go enter!). No, I’m here to talk about this month’s SOS ingredient, carob, and these amazing cookies I baked up!
Unlike many people, I’ve never really thought of carob as a replacement for chocolate (even though I did end up creating a “faux chocolate” recipe with it when I first started the ACD).
In general, I think it’s better to remain 100% of what one really is than be 75% of something or someone else. The last time I tried to imitate another person’s style was back in high school, when I donned embroidered Lee overalls, grew my hair long and painted a little flower on my cheek so I could be more like my then-idol, The Nurse. I ended up catching my hair in the overall’s buckles and losing a fairly large chunk of it. I was decidedly not a happy little hippie.
[A batch made with unsweetened carob chips added.]
Similarly, there are certain foods that are frequently considered inferior versions of something else. For years, margarine was the poor relation of butter (of course, after that it went through the very popular “cholesterol-free-even-though-hydrogenated-but-we-don’t-know-that-it’s-bad-for-you-yet-so-let’s-all-eat-margarine” phase, before it evolved to the “margarine-is-the-devil-real-butter-is-better-than-trans-fat-full-spreads” and finally “let’s-make-trans-fat-free-margarine-but-it’s-still-a-chemical-so-let’s-continue-to-eat-real-fats-once-again” phase). Or how about the debate over whether tofu can be used to impersonate meat in vegan dishes? And years ago, when I decided to enjoy Segura Viudas as a favorite Cava, I was informed rather undiplomatically by one acquaintance that “it’s not real champagne, you know.” (I did know. I loved it anyway.).
I’ve always felt kind of sorry for sweet little Carob, in fact, living life as a second-rate stand-in to cacao–sort of the way Jan was to Marsha, or Montreal is to Paris, or Lady Gaga is to Elton John (or is it Lady Gaga to Madonna? No matter–I suppose she was just born this way.).
[Simple and unadorned.]
This recipe was inspired by one I found in a very old cookbook of mine, called The Alternative Chocolate Cookbook (see, even culinary professionals view carob as a chocolate pretender). I’ve completely revamped the recipe so it’s gluten free, sugar free and vegan–in fact, the only thing I didn’t change was the spotlight on carob–to create a light, crisp cookie with just a hint of chewiness inside, very much like a sugar cookie. A whisper of cinnamon helps to emphasize carob’s natural sweetness, with just enough coconut sugar and stevia to make this sweet enough to qualify as “cookie.”
These light confections were perfect alongside a cup of Sencha tea, or sandwiched together with some sugar-free, allergen-free Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (the HH’s preferred way to nosh on them).
If you’ve been thinking of carob as a lesser form of chocolate, now’s the time to appreciate this lovely, slightly fruity, barely sweet legume for its own merits. Sort of the way moms appreciate their children. 🙂
I’m also submitting this recipe to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Cybele Pascal’s Allergy-Free Fridays.
Carob Refrigerator Cookies
suitable for ACD Stage 3 and beyond
Light and not too sweet, these cookies are perfect for an afternoon snack with tea or as the base for sandwich cookies. Made without the chips, they’d be great crumbled for a tart or pie crust.
1/4 cup (40 g) lightly packed coconut sugar
2 Tbsp (30 ml) water
20-25 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, to your taste
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut oil, preferably organic, melted (I used refined so there would be no coconut flavor, but these would still be great with a hint of coconut)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) finely ground flax seeds
3 Tbsp (45 ml) carob powder
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) xanthan gum
1/3 cup (80 ml) unsweetened carob chips, optional
3.2 ounces (90 g) all-purpose GF flour mix (2/3-1 cup, depending on the mix–I used Amy’s Basic GF Flour Blend, which equaled 2/3 cup; other flours will yield different volumes for the same weight)
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, water, vanilla and stevia so that the sugar begins to dissolve. Add the coconut oil and whisk vigorously to combine, or beat with electric beaters (it’s okay if the mixture appears curdled). Mix in the flax seeds.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, carob powder, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir to create a slightly sticky dough. If using the carob chips, add them now. Create a roll about 8 inches (20.5 cm) long, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. (If you’re in a rush, you can freeze the log for about 15 minutes, until firm, then proceed).
When ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Using a sharp knife, cut cookies about 1/4 inch (.5 cm) thick and place about an inch (2.5 cm) apart on the cookie sheet. If the dough cracks or if the cookies are squished when cutting, press with your fingers to re-shape into circles.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the sheet about halfway through, until cookies are slightly puffed and lightly browned on the bottom. Cool 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet. Store in an airtight container. Makes 12-16 cookies. May be frozen.
Last Year at this Time: Pick-Your-Own Gluten Free Pancakes
Two Years Ago: A Reunion and Some Reflections
Three Years Ago: Easy Millet and Red Pepper Pilaf (gluten free, ACD friendly, all Stages)
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awesome! these are my kind of cookies!
They were so simple to make and still tasted great. I think the HH was surprised at how much he liked them!
Valerie @ City|Life|Eats says
These look lovely 🙂 I love the idea of the carob cookies with chocolate frosting 🙂
It’s nice that they can get along that way, isn’t it? 😉 Actually, there’s some carob in the frosting as well, along with the cocoa!
these look fantastic (as usual).
a few years E tried to dip the kitties paws into water w/food coloring to sign the card…you can imagine how well that went over. =)
That is hilarious. And while I’m pretty sure that my Girls would probably allow it, I can’t imagine the HH actually taking the trouble! 😉
Johanna GGG says
that card is so cute and your bikkies look delicious – though I was confused by the name as I always thought refridgerator slice was uncooked and just firmed up in the fridge so I expected the same of refridgerator cookies – I keep learning the subtle differences between our food naming and find it fascinating – must think about carob recipes
In North America, “refrigerator cookies” are ones you mix up and let sit in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake them. I would guess that what you describe are called “No-Bake Cookies.” 🙂
I’ve never played with carob but I’ve certainly tasted my fair share of faux chocolate treats created by my fellow vegans over the past 25 years. I like finding recipes that don’t apologize for the ingredients. I love that your recipe says, yeah it’s carob…and it’s awesome!
Hee hee! Yeah, carob IS pretty awesome, I have to say. I’ve come to love, love it!
Shirley @ gfe says
Oh, Ricki, you are always so funny. Ouch on that chunk of hair years ago! So glad the girls and HH treated you properly this Mother’s Day and these cookies look sensational! 🙂
Aw, thanks, Shirley! Not too much fun on the hair, but the Mom’s Day was pretty cool. 😉
You start us off, as usual, with an awesome inspiring recipe. I think I’ve found a good one but have family events going on so it will be a week or so before I can try it out. The SOS challenge ingredients are always so interesting – many of them I have never tried before. But that is what keeps it REALLY interesting.
No rush, Gretchen–you’ve got until the end of the month! 😀 And I’m so happy to hear that the Challenges are introducing new ingredients. With Kim’s and my restricted diets, we are sort of forced into finding more options. . . nice to know they are interesting to other people, too! 🙂
Alisa Fleming says
Uh oh, Tony might get some prodding now that our loving cat should remember me on mother’s day 🙂
HH is smart, these look perfect with the frosting smashed between! But really, why mess around with that second cookie? Just a perfect carob cookie with a double helping of frosting stacked on top would be excellent, no?
I think every pet should get a Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day) card for her/his human “companions.” 😉 And you know, if not for the messiness (I can’t pack them in his lunch with frosting just on top), I’m all for the “leave off the second cookie” idea. In fact, why not just leave off the cookies–?? 😉
Oh my Ricki. I am with HH. That Chocolate Buttercream is soooo good, paired with the carob cookies it looks like a much healthier and yummier fudgee-o. Remember those?
Are you kidding? I LIVED on those in my 20s! I think mine are a little less dense as cookies, but sooooo much better in every way!
pure2raw twins says
cookies and frosting, yum!!
What could be better, really? 😉
i’ve definitely gone through my share of phases…maybe not margarine but I did smart balance for awhile. now i’ll just take butter, maybe a little more sparingly. actually, no, probably not any more sparingly 🙂 and i totally hated carob when i tried it as a kid, tasted nothing like chocolate! but now i love it, and these cookies are totally getting made 🙂
I sort of went through a similar journey with chocolate/carob–but I do love it now. And I cringe when I think of how much margarine I ate in my twenties!
I was waiting to see what this month’s SOS would be…and sadly I must sit out. I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen carob from a nut free facility, so the safety issue is going to allow me to continue with my chocolate snobbery!
I love your creative healthy baking styles – these look delicious Ricki!
Thanks so much, Patty! (I love your website!) 😀
I haven’t eaten carob for years, I seem to remember buying a carob bar once in distant memory and it just tasted like floury, muddy, icky dirt. I never went back. Now that I am vegan, pretty much most of the carob here in Australia actually has dairy in it, and I haven’t been able to find any carob bars or chips that are vegan. It’s funny, because most people assume I cannot eat chocolate (they are silly) and only eat carob. I can buy carob powder here, which I have a few recipes using, but I always get a bit nervous and remember that taste. Maybe I should be brave and try it!
I remember those early bars, too, and they were awful. I think it’s because so many people use carob as a pure substitute for chocolate, which it is not! Carob has much, MUCH less fat than chocolate, which means that when you bake with carob, you have to add a bit more fat to compensate. I buy dairiy-free carob chips, but when I melt them, I still usually add a touch of coconut oil or they just seem dry, somehow. But carob flour/powder is much easier, as you can add whatever else you want to it! I hope you give it a try, and learn to love it on its own merits, as I do. 😀
I’ve got a bit of a request! I changed up this recipe a little to make chocolate wafer cookies (so I can make my own oreos eventually, oh man oh man) and am in love with recipe. So much, in fact, that I’d like to make it for a bake sale and hand out a little comic of the recipe! If I credited your website as the original inspiration, would that be okay?
Oh yeah, that was me. I never know which handle to use, heh.
No worries–I’m always happy to hear from any of your aliases (hee hee). 😉
Angelica, I’m so glad you love the recipe! Yay! And yes, as long as you give proper attribution, I’d be absolutely delighted for you to share the recipe! I hope you’ll blog about it (or at least send me a photo) so I can see what you did with the recipe! 🙂 (And wow, now you’ve got me thinking. . .I was never a fan of Oreos, but these, with a vanilla cream filling. . . oh la la!!).
If I am concerned about the stevia taste, should I just omit it and up the coconut sugar? Or just do without the stevia. I bought all this carob and I’m determined to use it! Thanks.
You can certainly increase the coconut sugar, but I think it will change the texture a little. Carob contains a modicum of sweetness on its own, so you can add just a wee bit more sugar, taste, and proceed until you reach a flavor you like. You might have to increase the coconut oil a bit as well to compensate. Let me know how they turn out if you give them a try! 🙂
haha i have to laugh at my old reply. times have changed. 😉 stevia is a godsend! (the right kinds of course)
That’s so funny! But I know what you mean–time often does change these things! And I couldn’t agree more: stevia IS a godsend! 😀
Stephanie @Lungesandlunch says
Oh my goodness, how did I not see this post before? These look amaaaazing. I wish I lived next door to you! 😛
And I would love to share! (I see a pot luck coming on this summer. . . ) 😉
Those little sandwich cookies are so cute!
Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner says
Absolutely GORGEOUS! I love Carob!
made these with a few adjustments and they were great. my husband won’t let me use carob, so i used cocoa and 100% unsweetened chocolate chopped up for chips. then xylitol instead of coconut sugar. only flour i had was quinoa. no xanthan. it was a little crumbly to roll but in the end worked out and was a tasty treat. no frosting this time but maybe in my future. i love that these are not too sweet and nice and crunchy. thanks for a great recipe!
Bitt, so glad they worked out with all the changes! I wonder if the “not too sweet” is because of the chocolate vs. carob (any reason why he won’t let you use it??). I find carob a lot sweeter than cocoa. Thanks for reminding me about these! 🙂
I’ve got Lyme Disease, and sugar is a no-no, so I’d like to replace the coconut sugar with yacon syrup (tried it for the first time in you incredible Carob Fudge recipe). Would that be doable? Would I need to make any adjustments elsewhere in the recipe? I also need to replace the flax seeds with something else (not chia seeds either); any suggestions? Thanks!
Ricki Heller says
You’d need to do a bit of experimentation with the yacon, Sue, as it is liquid while the coconut sugar is (obviously) dry. Also, yacon is less sweet than coconut sugar. SO, I’d start with 1/3 cup yacon and adjust by adding a wee bit more flour and carob to achieve the same texture. The only other thing I can think to replace the flax is psyllium husk (not sure if you can have that, either). If you use psyllium, us about the same amount. Or, add a tiny bit more xanthan (maybe 16th tsp) and omit the flax altogether. I can’t guarantee they’ll come out the same, but they should be good anyway. 🙂