Carob powder is a great substitute for chocolate if you are looking to avoid sugar or cocoa butter. It has a unique flavor profile, so it may not be the best option for baking, but it can work well in smoothies and other drinks. There are many health benefits of carob powder as well.
Still, what if you can’t find carob powder for your recipe? How can you find a good carob powder substitute?
In this post, we will first break down the carob’s nutrition list, analyze the top 4 carob powder substitutes, and also provide you with three cooking tips! Read on!
What Is Carob Powder?
What is carob powder? Carob powder is a powder made from grinding the seeds of the roasted carob tree pods. Typically, it is used as a substitute for cocoa powder because of its similarities.
Carob powder is gluten and caffeine-free and hardly contains any fat and sugar at all. This food contains an average number of calories, making it good for diets.
To be more specific, carob powder is full of nutrients. Breaking down the carob’s nutrition facts, it has vitamin A, B2, B3, B6, minerals such as calcium, copper, manganese, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
What Are Carob Powder Benefits?
Now that we have learned what carob powder is and its nutrition, let’s dive deep into the benefits to understand the influence of this wonderful food on your body.
Does carob have caffeine in it? No, it does not contain any caffeine at all! This fact surprises many people. Even though carob belongs to the cacao family of plant, it is different from cocoa because it contains no addictive caffeine.
Therefore, if you are one of these people worrying about caffeine, then you could consider carob powder as a choice for cooking. It contains a similar taste to cocoa, but with zero caffeine.
Treat Acute Diarrhea
Traditionally, carob products have been used to treat gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, stomach ulcers, and acid reflux. Scientists prove that carob powder contains a high amount of tannin, decreasing the bacteria that cause diarrhea.
Carob powder is a great choice in daily cooking, with the ability to treat acute diarrhea. Carob recipes will reduce diarrhea and boost weight gain for infants.
One of the best points we love about carob powder is gluten-free. For those who have celiac disease, or are allergic to gluten, then you can choose to eat food made from carob powder.
Given that fact, carob powder is a perfect ingredient for baking: gluten-free, no caffeine, less fat, and sugar, making it a healthy choice for cooking for people from any age group. Carob powder is beneficial for your digestion system and keeping your body fit – so why don’t you use it frequently in your cooking, right?
Top 4 Carob Powder Substitutes
1. Cocoa Powder
The first substitute for carob powder is cocoa powder. In cooking, cacao vs. carob is known as an interchangeably used duo. Let’s learn the reason cocoa powder is such a perfect fit like that.
In terms of appearances, cocoa and carob are 98% similar. The color and the liquefaction level are the same as well. What about the taste? Briefly, they are similar because they both come from the cacao family plant.
What is the difference between carob and cacao, then? To be more specific, cocoa is sweeter and fattier than carob. A tablespoon of cocoa powder contains 12g calories and 3g carbohydrates, with 1g fat. Meanwhile, carob powders have 25g calories and 6g carbohydrates with hardly any cholesterol and fat.
The amount of calcium in the carob is three times more than in cocoa. In contrast with cocoa, carob powder is zero-caffeine.
So, you could use cocoa powder to replace carob powder with the ratio of 1 tablespoon of cocoa to 2 spoons of carob in any recipe, especially in baking uses like fixing dry cookie dough.
2. Instant Coffee Or Espresso Powder
Here is the option that we love most since it is the easiest to find and buy – coffee, as you can literally purchase instant coffee powder at an affordable price.
In our opinion, instant coffee and espresso powder are equally compatible to use in recipes using carob powder. The two types of powder don’t belong to the same “niche” as cocoa, but they do have the same smell and taste.
Putting instant coffee, espresso powder, and carob powder on the scale, we could see that instant coffee has the lowest deep and bitter taste. The espresso is more bitter, but none can beat carob powder in the three’s deep, rich, and bitter flavor.
Here is our suggestion: start adding coffee or espresso powder half an amount as used with carob. Then, slowly adjust until you are satisfied. Please remember that you cannot apply coffee in carob desserts recipes where carob powder is required as dry. Coffee (and espresso powder) liquefies.
3. Unsweetened Dark Chocolate
You can use dark chocolate to alternate carob flour, but remember that this tip is only available to unsweetened chocolate. Dark chocolate will lose its genuine cocoa simulation after being processed with sugar and other chemical sweeteners.
In particular, chocolate is made by mixing solid cocoa powder with milk, vanilla, and sweeteners. Based on the type of chocolate, the amount of sweeteners will fluctuate.
That being said, chocolate, of course, can simulate the taste of carob powder. Not only the taste and the smell are similar, but the dark brown color is also the same!
If you choose the chocolate, here is the ratio: use one ounce of unsweetened dark chocolate for three tablespoons of carob powder.
Cupuacu – sounds strange, right? Well, we understand your thoughts. At first, we did not know what cupuacu was.
In fact, cupuacu is a Brazilian fruit originating from the cacao family plant that shares many similarities with cocoa, and of course, carob.
Processed cupuacu has an earthy flavor like carob powder and a strong cocoa smell. So, you can use the cupuacu as a good carob powder replacement.
What Are Tips To Remember When Substituting Carob?
- When replacing cocoa powder with carob powder, measure out the same amount of each and then adjust accordingly!
- Between carob powder vs. cacao, the cocoa is much sweeter.
- Carob burns quite fast. So, unlike other typical cocoa-originated cakes, when baking the cake made from carob powder, drop the temperature by 25 °F. That’s a secret of what makes brownies chewy as well.
- In carob cookie recipes, you can also use chocolate chips or substitute for hazelnuts to replace carob powder as well. The taste will not change significantly.