Like many people out there, I am a big fan of chocolate. One of my favorite brands of fancy chocolate is Alter Eco. They make an incredible dark chocolate with puffed quinoa. It’s organic, vegan, and fair trade and doesn’t contain any funky ingredients like soy lecithin. My less fancy (but equally tasty!) go-to vegan chocolate is Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips. One of my all-time favorite snacks is a Lundenberg Hemp-a-licious Rice Cake topped with Organic Once Again Almond Butter (or homemade almond butter!) and a sprinkling of Enjoy Life chocolate mini chips. What I love about these mini chips is that they’re non-GMO and free from artificial emulsifiers and other unrecognizable ingredients.
That said, when given the choice between carob and chocolate, I would almost always choose chocolate. However, I recently found this organic carob from Sunfood Super Foods and was determined to see if I could create a dessert that would be as delicious as its cocoa-based counterpart.
Carob is actually part of the pea family. While traveling in Argentina in 2013 we encountered algarroba (carob) trees throughout the country. The tree, which is also found along the Mediterranean, produces massive pods that contain a sweet, edible pulp. When the pulp is dried and roasted, it is then converted into carob powder.
From a nutrient perspective, carob is loaded with soluble fiber and is also rich in thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and folate. Additionally, when compared to chocolate, carob is know for its calcium content, containing 100 mg per ounce. (As a reference one ounce of milk has 38 mg of calcium.) Lastly, while chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine, carob is naturally caffeine-free.
These brownies are rich in flavor (and fiber!) as a result of the carob, adzuki beans, and hazelnuts, but they aren’t overly sweet. They’re decadent and filling due to the high fiber content but won’t leave you feeling weighed down. Oh, and they’re most excellent with a dollop of almond butter…and a sprinkling of vegan chocolate mini chips if you insist on adding a little chocolate!
This recipe for carob-adzuki-hazelnut brownies was inspired by The No Meat Athlete’s recipe for black bean brownies.
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup sucanat
- 1.5 cups carob powder
- 1.5 cups chopped hazelnuts
- 1 15 oz can adzuki beans, rinsed and filled with new water
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup almond milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients: spelt flour, brown rice flour, salt, baking powder, sucanat, carob, and chopped hazelnuts.
- Process the adzuki beans, water, almond milk, and vanilla in a food processor until smooth.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Be sure to not over mix.
- Pour batter into a greased (or parchment paper-lined) 9 x 13 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. When the brownies are finished they should be firm in the center. If you prefer a more gooey brownie, take them out around 25 minutes.
- If you can resist, allow the brownies to cool before slicing them.
- Top with almond butter and enjoy! Also, these yummy carob treats go perfectly with a glass of homemade Brazil nut milk (recipe to follow).