Monday, September 30, 2013

Pecan Carob Brownies with Cashew Cream Icing


When it comes to making chocolate desserts, you might see that some recipes use cacao while others use carob. Is there a difference?


               CAROB     VS.    CACAO
ORIGIN
Carob tree pods (seeds are used to make locust bean gum) – edible in its original state
Cacao pod seeds (some fat is removed and used to make cocoa butter) – has to be fermented to remove the husks and to develop flavor
FLAVOR
Naturally sweeter, less chocolate flavor
True chocolate flavor, more bitter
BENEFITS
-No caffeine, no 
   theobromine (which is    
   poisonous to pets)
-No oxalic acid (interferes 
  with calcium absorption)
-Higher in calcium and fiber
-Lower calories and fat
-Good for treating diarrhea
-Contains antioxidants
-Considered a Superfood
-Higher in protein, iron, and
  trace minerals
-Lower in carbs and sugar
-Contains caffeine and
  theobromine which are 
   mood enhancing chemicals
-High in flavonoids and
  antioxidants

As you can see there are benefits to using either of them.  I tend to use carob when making raw desserts just because I have some friends that have issues with caffeine. Otherwise, I enjoy the flavor of both and sometimes mix a little of each in my recipes if I have them both available. If  you use cacao, you might have to add more of it or extra sweetener to get the same sweetness that carob adds.

Here's an easy recipe if you need a chocolate fix!

PECAN CAROB BROWNIES
2 c pecans
1 c dates
¼ c carob powder
2 T agave
1 T vanilla
¼ t sea salt

Process the pecans in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and process the mixture until it becomes a sticky consistency. Line a small dish with wax or parchment paper and press the brownie mixture into it.


CASHEW CREAM ICING
1½ c cashews, soaked for at least two hours and rinsed
½ c coconut milk
½ c agave
1 T vanilla
½ lemon, juiced
¼ t sea salt
½ c coconut oil, liquid form

Blend all the ingredients together, except for the coconut oil, until smooth.  Slowly blend in the coconut oil.  Poor the icing on top of the brownie mixture, and place the dish in the freezer to set up for at least 2 hours. If the cashew cream is to be used for another recipe, store the icing in the fridge for at least 6 hours to firm up before use.
When ready, remove the dish from the fridge and remove the paper from the brownies. Cut and serve.  Store the brownies in the freezer until ready to eat! YUM!!




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