I've got a serious sweet tooth. I don't try and hide the fact. But rather than baking everyday or giving in to that bar of chocolate... again, I try feed my desire for the sweet stuff with natural cane sugar-free alternatives. Well, most of the time anyway.
I find the best way to make healthier choices is to be prepared. I nearly always have a version of these on the go in the fridge or freezer, ready to satisfy my cravings quick smart. The kids love them too and are always pleasantly surprised when they ask for seconds and thirds and I reply with yeah, go ahead. Not something they ever hear me say with traditional baking and sweets, that's for sure!
I was brought up on carob and eating it still reminds me of the banana cakes my mum used to spread thickly with carob icing, of the hot drinks my siblings and I would make, trying unsuccessfully to dissolve all the lumps of carob powder into the hot water before adding the milk, and of the ice-blocks (icy-poles/popsicles) we would eat in summer flavoured with carob, honey and milk.
It's a great healthy alternative to cocoa as it contains no caffeine and has the added bonus of being a really rich source of B vitamins, calcium and iron. And with the added protein from the almonds, these bites are 'good' enough to even eat for breakfast!
I like to keep these in the freezer which makes them extra chewy, and with a little crunch of nuts and a touch of coconut, this is quilt-free eating at it's best.
chewy carob bites
Some raisins/sultanas are coated in hydrogenated oil to keep them from sticking together. I like to source 'natural' oil-free ones, or organic whenever possible. Cocoa powder can be used in place of carob if you are unable to find it, or prefer a much more 'chocolatey' taste. To make these nut-free I'd use sunflower or pumpkin (pepita) seeds in place of the almonds.
Makes 16 small bites
- 1 cup raisins/sultanas (try to find oil-free or organic when possible)
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/4 cup carob powder
- 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- good pinch of fine sea salt
Place all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blend until a chunky paste forms. I like to keep it still a little chunky, but you can blend it for as little or as long as you like until it reaches the desired consistency.
Scoop out tablespoonfuls of mixture and shape into little bites. Place on a tray and freeze for at least 30 minutes before serving. I store mine in a airtight container in the freezer and eat them straight from their. But if you like them a little less firm, store them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If they make it that long!
Note: To shape these ones above I lightly oiled my tablespoon measure with a touch of coconut oil, pressed the mixture into it and levelled it off before removing them.