Carob powder and carob chips are made by drying, roasting, and grinding the pods of the carob plant into a powder that can then be used on its own in baking or turned into carob chips. The flavour of carob is very similar to chocolate, but it doesn't have the same amount of bitterness as cocoa and has a slightly more sweet but earthy flavour. Since it is similar enough, it is widely used as a chocolate substitute. Since carob doesn't contain any caffeine or theobromine, which are both stimulants found in chocolate, many people who can't eat chocolate will choose carob as a healthier alternative. It is also a great vegan substitute for chocolate, because many chocolates contain added milk ingredients. You can find carob powder and chips in almost all natural food stores and many big box grocery stores are now carrying them as well (I have found it at Superstore, Save-On Foods, and Bulk Barn). If you would rather just stick with chocolate then in most recipes you can use carob and cocoa interchangeably and just swap one for the other. [Source]
1 and 1/4 cup oat flour - Oat flour is just made from finely ground oats, so you can easily make your own by pulsing the same amount of quick or rolled oats in a food processor until it turns into a fine powder.
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup carob powder
1/2 cup carob chips
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3 medium-large, very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or soy milk (or dairy milk)
3 and 1/2 Tbsp. applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners, or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the oat flour, oats, brown sugar, carob powder, carob chips, baking powder, and baking soda.
In a separate bowl, mix together the bananas, milk, applesauce, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups until they are completely full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. These are especially delicious when served warm.
*Recipe adapted from Vegan Family Favourites (Erin Pavlina, 2005)