On the hunt for chocolate chips at the grocery store, you may have come across carob chips. Although they do look strikingly similar to the classic cookie favorite, carob chips are not chocolate. While chocolate stems from cocoa pods, carob stems from carob pods. On shelves, it can typically be found in two forms: chips and powder. So what exactly is carob? Here are the facts.
What Is Carob?
Carob comes from a pod of a tree of the same name, which is native to the Mediterranean. The ripe pods contain a sweet pulp that is dried, roasted, and then ground into a powder. That powder is called carob powder and is sold as is or made into chocolate-like chips.
Both the powder and chips are similar to cocoa powder and chocolate chips in color, but their flavor is unique. Carob is less bitter than chocolate and has a roasted, naturally sweet flavor (carob chips aren't made with added sugar for this reason). Carob also happens to be caffeine-free and high in fiber.
How to Use Carob
Carob doesn't taste exactly like chocolate, but it has a nutty flavor. So while carob powder and carob chips can be substituted one-for-one for cocoa powder and chocolate chips in recipes, try swapping in half first to get a sense of its unique taste. Also, carob chips don't have the same melty quality to them that chocolate chips do. Both carob powder and carob chips are pretty easy to find these days — stores like Whole Foods carry them, as well as natural grocers and online sources.
5 Recipes to Try Swapping in Carob Powder or Chips
Have you tried carob?