Carob ~ Mother Nature’s Chocolate Substitute
Technically considered a legume, carob comes from the ground up pod of the carob tree. The pods are often roasted before they are ground to give the carob a more “chocolaty” taste. Carob powder is very similar to cocoa powder and can be substituted in most recipes with excellent results. It can be added to baked goods, smoothies, hot “cocoa”, fudge, etc., and most anything calling for cocoa. It also contains no caffeine, making it a perfect alternative for those that are health conscious or allergic to chocolate. You can find carob powder at health food stores like Whole Foods Market and some large supermarkets.
A Word About Honey:
Some vegans maintain that honey is an animal product and will not use it. Others believe it is an animal by-product and therefore it is allowed. There are a few recipes in this series that use honey. This is one of them. Purists can substitute barley malt, maple syrup, corn syrup or molasses, in it’s place. It will however, alter the flavor a bit.
Tips, Tools and Technique:
- Large stainless mixing bowl
- Cookie scoops in 2 sizes, large and small
- KitchenAid makes both a high-speed mixer and a powerful hand mixer. Either one will do for the wet ingredients.
- Mixing: Do not over mix the batter. This will make the muffins tough and they will not rise properly. Fold dry and wet ingredients together with a wooden spoon or spatula just enough to make sure all ingredients are moistened.
- Muffin pans: Non-stick pans like Baker’s Secret are easy to use, or use muffin papers for easy cleanup. Texas size, regular size or mini muffin pans can be used.
- Baking: All ovens were not created equal. Baking time may vary from oven to oven. Always preheat. Resist opening the oven for the first 15 minutes of baking.
- Freezing: This makes a large batch and they freeze well, making this a great once-a-month recipe. Use an airtight container, layer muffins between wax paper or paper towel.
The Recipe: Vegan Carob Muffins
- 7 cups whole wheat pastry flour, sifted
- 2 Tbsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup carob powder, sifted
- 1 1/2 cup soy plain soy milk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice concentrate
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 cup honey
- 1 pkg Mori-Nu soft silken tofu, drained
- 2 Tbsp vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups coconut, unsweetened and shredded
- 1 cup sunflower seeds, hulled, optional
- 1 cup carob chips, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray muffin pans with vegetable spray, or use muffin papers.
- In a large stainless mixing bowl, combine pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, carob powder and coconut. Set aside.
- Combine in a large high-speed mixing bowl, soy milk, apple juice concentrate, canola oil, honey or substitute, tofu and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until blended and tofu is completely combined leaving no chunks.
- Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and mix with a large spatula or wooden spoon just until moistened. Do not over mix.
- Fold in sunflower seeds and carob chips if desired.
- Using a cookie scoop, deposit batter into prepared pans 3/4 full.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until muffin springs back when lightly touched.
- Let sit 5 minutes, then carefully release muffins and let cool on a wire rack.
- Makes 24-30 regular size muffins. This recipe can be divided in half.