Chocolate. When the craving strikes, it’s almost impossible to find a substitute that satisfies as much as rich, velvety chocolate does. Almost. But, today’s post proves that even if chocolate has been removed from your diet (like it has been from mine), you can still enjoy a treat that is a close second to that dark, magical, chocolatey bliss!
Throughout my autoimmune protocol (AIP) journey, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what foods I’ve missed the most. And the first thing that always comes to mind is chocolate! I’ve tried to curb my chocolate longings with fruit desserts, coconut butter, coconut milk ice cream, and other AIP-approved treats, but it really wasn’t until I found carob powder that I was able to fill the chocolate void. In fact, my first experience with carob happened on my 32nd birthday, when my sweet mom made me a carob layer cake! I was in faux-chocolate heaven!
Now, let me just preface this recipe with a statement that carob is unique and doesn’t taste EXACTLY like chocolate. It’s actually a tad sweeter and has an almost prune-like smell. (It turned me off at first, but I promise it tastes better than it smells!) After baking with it, I can truly say that carob a great substitute for cocoa powder! Which brings me to my debut of my AIP Carob Banana Brownies! These delightful Paleo chocolate-like brownies are like a cross between banana bread and chocolate cake! Just a few bites of my fudgy, dense, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free bars will satisfy your chocolate cravings and not destroy your AIP diet! (Plus, it’s a perfect way to use up ripe bananas!)
Now, some of you who are familiar with carob might be wondering what took me so long to jump on the bandwagon! I will say that I’ve been aware of carob long before now. However, since I have celiac disease, I had heard rumors that carob was typically cross-contaminated with wheat. That is true of some brands, but I can say now with confidence that I’ve tried Chatfield’s carob powder with no ill effects of cross-contamination. The can I purchased from Whole Foods also sported a “certified gluten-free” label.
Those of you who are not familiar with carob might be wondering what in the world it is! Well, carob comes from pods that are grown on carob trees. The pods are ground up into powder, with a consistency that is similar to cocoa. One major difference from cocoa (aside from a slight difference in taste) is that carob is caffeine-free. It’s also a less inflammatory option over cocoa and easier on the gut, so for us AIP-ers, it’s a helpful cocoa substitute.
So, in short, I’ve become a huge fan of carob powder and I can’t wait to try it in more AIP treats! Keep in mind, if you don’t need to avoid cocoa or chocolate, you could easily swap out the carob for cocoa powder in this recipe. (I haven’t tried that myself, so let me know how it tastes with cocoa!) The other specialty ingredients I used in my AIP Carob Banana Brownies include coconut oil, Artisana coconut butter, arrowroot starch, and grassfed beef gelatin (as an egg substitute).
While the ingredients are more unusual than most typical brownie recipes, I was so impressed with the texture and taste of these brownies! Even my non-AIP friends and family enjoyed them! And even though the recipe uses coconut products, I didn’t really notice a coconut flavor. They also stay super moist, thanks to the ripe bananas!
To make my AIP Carob Banana Brownies recipe, you’ll just need to mix the wet and dry ingredients, then combine them together and prepare the gelatin egg in a saucepan over the stove. Once everything is combined, you’ll end up with a very thick and delicious carob brownie batter. I recommend an 8×8” pan for thick brownies, but you could bake them for less time in a larger pan.
Once baked, cut them to your desired size, but I couldn’t resist some super-sized brownies, so I divided mine into 9 squares. I’ll be honest, when I cut them smaller, I always end up eating more than one anyway! 🙂 Check out these gorgeous, guilt-free brownies!
Since we’re entering back-to-school season, these AIP Carob Banana Brownies would be a wonderful, healthy treat to make your kids for an after-school snack! They’re also an easy go-to dessert for any dinner party or summer picnic. And why not try them out on your friends and family over Labor Day weekend?! Enjoy them plain with a tall glass of almond or coconut milk or with a generous scoop of coconut milk ice cream! YUM! (And if you CAN tolerate chocolate and eggs- you’ll also want to try my super easy Flourless Fudge Brownies, which are also Paleo, gluten-free, and incredible!)
- 1.5 cups mashed banana (3 ripe bananas)
- ½ cup coconut butter, melted
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ⅛ cup raw honey
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup carob powder
- ¼ cup arrowroot powder
- 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 gelatin egg (1 tablespoon gelatin + 4 tablespoons water)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8'' square pan with coconut oil.
- Mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl and the dry ingredients in a small bowl, except for the apple cider vinegar and gelatin egg components.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Add the apple cider vinegar and stir gently.
- Make the gelatin egg by adding 4 tablespoons of water to a small saucepan. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of gelatin powder over the water. Let sit for a minute, then whisk over low/medium heat until the mixture gets foamy.
- Stir gelatin mixture into the brownie batter and spread batter into the pan. (Batter will be thick.)
- Bake brownies for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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