Maybe it was the crowd my family hung with, but carob made many apprearances in my life as a youngster growing up in the newly health conscious 70's. Along with thick, mystery-ingredient smoothies that required the unique talent of both drinking and chewing at the same time and morning breakfasts of raw milk and wheat germ, carob was slipped into anything that called for chocolate as a healthy addition to our diets.
My brother & I would spy a sinfully dense, chocolatey cookie only to bite into something that tasted to us... well, healthy! The carob bait-and-switch was such a frequent trick not only at my house but neighbors who must have read about carob's health benefits, too, that I loathed the mere mention of carob. It conjured up spoonfuls of cod liver oil and the aforementioned wheat germ. Ah, children. Alas, I was one, too.
But there was a time in the 90's when I came to appreciate carob on its own merit. You see, carob is not chocolate. Yes, it has a deep and perhaps decadent taste but if you try to switch out carob on a chocolate lover, well poor carob often falls short.
Not that it should. Carob adds a unique and complimentary flavor to many items. One of my favorite evening sips is a warm mug of the coffee-like Teeccino, which lists carob as its first ingredient. Paired with dates and honey, carob is scrumptious. And that's where this little snack/treat comes in. It features all of carob's BFFs in one yummy bite. Plus a few throwback ingredients to the 70s (wheat germ & hemp protein powder---hemp in a different form!). It's very adaptable and it's inspired by HEAB's Carob balls. Give it a try and tell me what you think of carob!
13 large Medjool dates, soaked for a couple hours
1/4 C. Almond Butter
1 T. Carob Powder
1/4 C. Hazelnuts (or substitute another kind)
1 T. Raw Honey
1/2 C. Rolled Oats
1 T. Wheat Germ
1 T. Hemp Protein Powder
To make: Set up either a dehydrator, or preheat your oven to 200-degrees. Drain the dates and place them in a Vitamix or food processor. Add the remaining ingredients except the rolled oats, wheat germ & protein powder. Grind the ingredients until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Stir in the rolled oats, wheat germ, and protein powder until thoroughly combined. By the tablespoonful, place on either a dehydrator tray or lined baking sheet. If dehydrating, set your dehydrator to 115-degrees and dehydrate until dense (about 8 hours). If baking, check them after an hour.
And whatever you do, don't tell your kids they're chocolate!