Ancient food of the Middle East, carob’s sweet flavor makes this vegan dessert naturally good.
When I was a little girl living in New York, Israel was just a faraway hot, sandy country to me. Tu B’Shvat meant planting a tree by mail, although today you can plant a tree in Israel online. It was when Dad would bring home carobs. “Boxer,” he’d say. Yiddish for carob. A taste of the Holy Land, something to bring the New Year of the Trees closer. We kids would chew away earnestly on the long black pods, fascinated with the sweet taste with a cheese flavor. The shiny black seeds, hard enough to split a tooth, we carefully collected for our own arcane purposes in a box under my bed.
Having lived in Israel for over three decades and now a grandmother, I still delight in carob, although as a powder, for cooking. These just-sweet-enough carob balls are so right for a Tu B’Shvat celebration. The recipe includes other native Israeli foods: honey, almonds, wheat and nuts. Enjoy!
Carob Nut Balls
recipe adapted from Fran’s House of Ayurveda
3/4 cup almond butter
1/2 cup carob powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup puffed wheat
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1. 1/4 cup Dried, powdered coconut
2. 4 Tblsp. cocoa powder mixed with 4 Tblsp. carob powder and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3. Blend 3 Tblsp. carob powder and 1/4 cup sugar. Melt 2 Tblsp. margarine, remove from heat and mix in carob powder/sugar. If needed, thin the coating with a little warm milk (soy, almond, coconut milks are fine). If too thin, add a little more carob powder.
Vigorously mix the almond butter, carob powder, cinnamon, honey and vanilla. The dough will be stiff.
Add the nuts and cereal. Wet your hands to form the dough into balls. The surface of the balls should be moist in order to help the coating stick.
Roll each ball in one of the coating mixes. Refrigerate till firm.
More seasonal recipes that fit into Tu B’Shvat from Green Prophet:
Recipe and image from Fran’s house of Ayurveda.