Good news! You can now buy carob powder and other carob products at OliveNation. Carob gained popularity in the U.S. in the 1970's, mainly advertised as a substitute for cocoa powder and chocolate. Carob comes from the carob tree, which is native to Mediterranean countries. It now grows in the warmer regions of the U.S. The tree produces bean pods and their seeds are turned into carob powder (aka carob flour); carob is a legume.
Even though carob has a similar color to cocoa beans, their tastes are different. Carob's flavor is mildly sweet, while pure cocoa is bitter. Carob's flavor faintly reminds us of caramel. Carob's key advantage over cocoa is that it's free of caffeine and theobromine. Since some people experience a sensitivity to chocolate or are allergic to it, carob is a fantastic alternative. Carob contains some nutrients not found in chocolate like calcium, B vitamins, and more. It's also loaded with fiber.
Baking with Carob
There are many ways to use carob in baking: rich carob cake, luscious carob brownies, chewy carob chip cookies, sweet carob fudge, and more. Also, try hot carob instead of hot chocolate. Or, add carob to smoothies. Remember that carob has its own texture, so baked goods might not turn out exactly as they would when baking with cocoa powder.