Carob Nut Balls

Over the holidays the kids made handcrafted gift baskets. We included Carob Nut Balls in wax paper bags tied with twine. Our homemade calendula soap, a plant-dyed dish towel, our homemade lotion and a decorated gourd were all combined in a paper grocery bag made into a gift basket. They were quite happy with their work!

Our recipe is based on the one I found at FRAN’S HOUSE OF AYURVEDA. Thank you Fran!

“3/4 cup almond butter
1/2 cup carob powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup raw honey, brown rice syrup or agave nectar (up to 1/2 cup if you like them sweeter)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup puffed cereal*
1/2 cup chopped nuts*

unsweetened coconut
carob ganache
cocoa or carob powder combined with a dash of cinnamon

Thoroughly combine the almond butter, carob powder, cinnamon, honey and vanilla. The dough will be quite stiff. Knead in the nuts and cereal. With wet hands, form into walnut-sized balls. Make sure the surface is glisteningly damp. Choose which coating you’d like to use and roll balls in either coconut, carob ganache, or cocoa/carob powder. Personally, I tried them all, just to see how pretty each variation can be. I found the coconut coating to be the nicest, and easy to coat by shaking the balls in a ziploc bag with the coconut.

Refrigerate until firm, or freeze in an air-tight container to store for a week or more.

*If you have the option, choose a tiny puffed grain like quinoa or millet. Otherwise, crisp rice will work great, or a flake cereal crushed into smaller bits. If using sweetened cereal, use smaller amount of honey.
*Use any seeds or chopped nuts you like, or according to your dosha. I used lightly toasted pecan pieces.”

For those of you unsure about Carob here is some information that might be helpful:

-Carob has it’s own natural sugars similar to what you find in honey and fruits.
-Unlike chocolate, you don’t have to add a lot of sweetener to make it taste good.
-It’s an alkaline food
-Contains 3 times as much calcium as chocolate.
-High in fiber and protein
-Full of antioxidants and polyphenols
-Low in fat (contains about 1% fat compared to 24% fat in cocoa)
-High in vitamins and minerals (contains iron, vitamin B, phosphorus, and magnesium)
-Doesn’t contain any harmful stimulants such as caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline
-Not addictive
-Safe enough for dogs to eat unlike chocolate which can seriously injure or kill them

I remember living in San Diego and walking around my neighborhood picking up carob pods off the sidewalk. It was planted as a landscape tree. I’d break a pod open and want to eat it on the spot. They smelled delicious!

In her course at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Michelle Vesser makes “Ojas Balls”. “Ojas- the essence of the body, which literally means ‘to invigorate'”. The same basic recipe as above but she included powdered immunity-building herbs such as Ashwangandha, Codonopsis, Astragalus, and Siberian Ginseng. You can also add demulcent/moisturizing herbs such as Marshmallow Root, flax seeds and Licorice Root. Or, warming/activating herbs such as Cardamom and the Cinnamon already in the recipe. Yum!

Michelle teaches a two day course called REMEMBERING OUR WAY at OAEC. Check it out.

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