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Carob Bars

 
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I'm wondering if anyone on this forum has tried to make carob or honey locust bars before. I've seen one recipe for carob bars in an online video, but it uses coconut butter (not coconut oil), so the recipe would not be good for anyone wanting to find an entirely locally grown substitute for chocolate. Most other recipes I've seen call for pre-made carob chips, so they're not an option for anyone wanting to use his own carob powder.


I'm hoping someone here has an alternate recipe for carob or honey locust bars that uses an alternative binder to hold the bars together: maybe tallow, lard, ghee, or butter.

By the way, I am currently planning on making honey locust powder from a full bag of honey locust pods I've collected this Fall.
5427E555-83EB-4D83-B472-4951BFA5A7E9.jpeg
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Honey locust pods
 
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Carob gets so much hate. I love it. When I want to make a chocolate banana smoothie and only have cocoa powder, not carob, I'm sad.

I can't watch the video on my phone, so not sure what you're aiming for. Are you wanting to make chocolate, but with carob; or bar like a Nanaimo bar, just a tasty, chocolatey treat?

If the latter, I'd use either nut or seed butter as a binder or dried fruit for a raw carob treat. For a cooked one, i really like buckwheat with carob.

If you're trying to make chocolate and the video you posted is basically what you want minus the coconut butter, should be easy to experiment from there.

Please let us know how the locust pods turn out
 
Ryan M Miller
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Jan White wrote:Carob gets so much hate. I love it. When I want to make a chocolate banana smoothie and only have cocoa powder, not carob, I'm sad.

I can't watch the video on my phone, so not sure what you're aiming for. Are you wanting to make chocolate, but with carob; or bar like a Nanaimo bar, just a tasty, chocolatey treat?

If the latter, I'd use either nut or seed butter as a binder or dried fruit for a raw carob treat. For a cooked one, i really like buckwheat with carob.

If you're trying to make chocolate and the video you posted is basically what you want minus the coconut butter, should be easy to experiment from there.

Please let us know how the locust pods turn out



I am aiming for a carob or honey locust bar resembling chocolate in firmness, preferably something brittle like dark chocolate without the bitterness.
 
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Some people may not be familiar with Nanaimo bars so I have located a picture.

Here's a joke that I heard shortly after moving to the Nanaimo area 26 years ago. It used to be a pretty rough town.

What's in a Nanaimo bar? There's some nuts, but it's mostly bikers and hookers.
Screenshot_2019-11-07-18-01-32.png
[Thumbnail for Screenshot_2019-11-07-18-01-32.png]
 
Ryan M Miller
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Just now, I've found a recipe and procedure for making carob bars. https://www.food.com/amp/recipe/easy-homemade-carob-chocolate-sugar-dairy-free-455671 The recipe doesn't seem to give any hints on whether or not coconut oil or beef tallow can be crystallized and tempered in the same manner as cocoa butter. For anyone curious, tempering is a process of thermal cycling cocoa butter from 113-131°F down to 81°F and back up to 82-86°F in order to make the chocolate harden better once the chocolates have solidified and prevent the fat from separating from the cocoa solids in emulsion. One tempering process video looks pretty complicated and requires a heat gun:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bibJS2P58wM&pp=ygUWdGVtcGVyaW5nIGNvY29hIGJ1dHRlcg%3D%3D

Due to the risk of hyperlink rot, I intend to post an archived link for the first recipe. I'm hoping I can adapt the recipe with beef tallow.
 
Ryan M Miller
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I just now found a website by a food gastronomist where the author claims that carob bars do not need to be tempered in the same way as chocolate. Hopefully this applies to honey locust powder and mesquite flour as well:
https://chocolatealchemy.com/blog/2012/12/13/ask-the-alchemist-16?format=amp
 
Ryan M Miller
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I found the YouTube channel for the author of the article I posted above and he has a video explaining the problems encountered when trying to make a candy bar out of cocoa powder or carob powder without a melanger. For those who don't know, a melanger is a specialized food mill that grinds and blends the ingredients used to make chocolate or carob bars over a period of at least 24 hours.

In one YouTube video, this same author shows an example of some chocolate he attempts to make out of cocoa powder without a melanger and he shows the resulting coarse texture of the bar. I've decided to include the link to this video to my post. Chances are, my attempts at making a candy bar out of honey locust powder will also have a similarly coarse texture as well. I have gone ahead and bought silicone molds, but hopefully the flavor of the candy bars doesn't suffer along with the texture.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfsOiUFMG4k
 
Ryan M Miller
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A quick update: Another author has a YouTube video where he claims to have made a reasonable bar of chocolate using undutched cocoa powder and powdered sugar. His resulting bar looks reasonable from the 720p quality on the video, but he says that the resulting bars have a slightly coarse texture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6inTwwloRBU

For my carob and honey locust bars, I intend to test different batches each with sorghum syrup, powdered sugar, and local raw honey. Hopefully the resulting bars have enough good flavor to make up for their slightly coarse texture.
 
Ryan M Miller
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I've also forgotten to share some updated images of the honey locust pods that I intend to use for the candy bars. I no longer have the honey locust pods from 2020, but I was still able to find a reasonably large quantity of honey locust pods from a tree while I was living in Cincinnati. This time, instead of grinding the pods without processing them, I removed the seeds, soaked them in hot water overnight, and then drained out the excess water the following morning. Once I strained the pods, I placed them on a baking sheet and roasted them in an oven at 170°F for about twelve hours or until the pods were dry and brittle to the touch.

Since I now have a grain mill, I cut the pods into small one inch pieces and fed them through the grain mill several times. This process took longer than I expected since honey locust pods have a fibrous texture. Even after multiple passes through the grain mill, I was unable to get a powder finer in texture than sawdust. In order to get around this, I sifted the resulting coarse meal twice: once through a 40 mesh baking sieve and again through a 100 mesh baking sieve. The resulting power after sifting was reasonably close in texture to cocoa powder but is probably closer to fine-grained sand. The second author's video that I most recently posted suggests a particle size of about 30 micrometers for the solids in a candy bar; but I suspect that even with a 100 mesh sieve, I won't be able to get a particle size finer than 254 micrometers.

Here are my most recent images of my attempts at processing the honey locust pods into a fine powder.
IMG_2348-1-.JPG
Coarse material left behind after sifting
Coarse material left behind after sifting
IMG_2350-1-.JPG
Honey locust powder after the second sifting
Honey locust powder after the second sifting
IMG_2344-1-.JPG
Honey locust powder after the first sifting
Honey locust powder after the first sifting
IMG_2262-1-.JPG
Honey locust pods used in this batch of powder
Honey locust pods used in this batch of powder
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Honey locust pods with seeds removed added to pot filled with water
Honey locust pods with seeds removed added to pot filled with water
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Honey locust pods simmering in a pot before reaching a boil
Honey locust pods simmering in a pot before reaching a boil
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The pods rise to the surface as the water reaches a boil, so they have to be pressed down.
The pods rise to the surface as the water reaches a boil, so they have to be pressed down.
IMG_2269-1-.JPG
Honey locust pods after boiling 15 minutes and then soaking overnight while covered
Honey locust pods after boiling 15 minutes and then soaking overnight while covered
IMG_2271-1-.JPG
Seeds removed from the honey locust pods
Seeds removed from the honey locust pods
IMG_2270-1-.JPG
Honey locust pods placed in a baking pan before going in the oven
Honey locust pods placed in a baking pan before going in the oven
IMG_2272-1-.JPG
Pods after removing seeds, soaking, and oven-drying
Pods after removing seeds, soaking, and oven-drying
IMG_2278-1-.JPG
Grinding the pods in my grain mill
Grinding the pods in my grain mill
 
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