Carob. It’s almost a dirty word for some people – seen as a weird “not chocolate” imitation that is relegated to dusty shelves in health food stores. And in many ways, it is similar to chocolate. It comes from a bean, like cocoa, and is often found in powder, bar, and chip forms, like chocolate. It’s brown and usually used in desserts, though, like chocolate, has its occasional foray into the savoury world. But the comparison to chocolate is where carob gets its bad name. It does not taste like chocolate, and to pass it off as a “chocolate substitution” can lead to disappointment. Chocolate is nice! But carob is nice too, in it’s own, not chocolate way.
So, give carob a chance. Naturally sweet, caffeine-free, and very rich in calcium, carob is a great addition to your snacks! These cookies, soft and almost gooey in the middle, with chunks of carob running through, are an ideal introduction to the flavour.
You can buy carob easily in health food shops – Holland and Barrett stock it, or anywhere local to you should! You can also buy it online if you like. For this recipe, I used the powder and the drops, but if you can’t find the drops, just chop up a bar into small pieces and use it instead!
Now, there’s one other ingredient in this recipe that may seem a little strange. In many of my sweet recipes, I don’t necessarily use an “egg replacer” because the recipe is such that it doesn’t need one. But there are recipes that benefit from the binding and structure formation of eggs and in that case, there are many “replacements” that can be used – from seeds and fruits, tofu, to the latest discovery – “aquafaba“.
Aquafaba – literally “bean water” is the liquid that you drain from a can of beans, often chickpeas. This sounds strange, but really, it’s no stranger than eggs are if you think about it, and it makes use of a food that we often just throw down the sink. The liquid that the beans have been soaking in is full of protein that comes from the beans themselves, and this provides a similar structure to that of eggs! It even whips up just like egg whites – next time you open a can of beans, strain out the liquid and have a go with an electric whisk, you can whip it up to form peaks and make meringues, macarons, anything! Tasteless as well – you can’t tell it comes from the beans.
These cookies are quick and easy to make, and even bake in just ten minutes! You mix the dry ingredients together, the wet ingredients together, and then combine the two. The dough is quite stiff and you kinda have to get in there with your hands (it’s vegan, so safe to lick your fingers afterwards!), and form the dough into balls about walnut sized.
Bake for ten minutes, and then – this is important – leave to cool before picking them up. They’ll be pretty soft and fragile immediately out of the oven, but firm up once cooled.
Then you can eat as many as you want.
Double Carob Cookies
- 160g plain flour
- 50g carob powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
- pinch salt
- 100ml neutral oil
- 200g sugar
- 3 tbsp aquafaba (liquid from a can of beans)
- 3 tbsp almond milk (or non dairy milk of choice)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 80g carob chips
- Preheat the oven to 175C/350F
- In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients until well combined.
- In a separate jug or bowl, mix the wet ingredients and whisk with a fork until creamed.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix together. It may be a little stiff so get your hands in and mix it as best you can. Add an extra splash of milk if you really need to, but try not to add too much.
- Once the dough is formed, add the carob chips and work them through.
- Form the dough into balls about the size of a walnut, and place an inch apart on a lined baking tray.
- Bake in the preheated oven for ten minutes. They’ll still look pretty soft, but this is how we want them.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray before you move them.
- Enjoy your cookies!