The last time I was in Bahrain, I picked up a jar of carob molasses. Although a loyal date molasses fan , I’d heard so many good things about carob, or Kharrub as it’s called in Arabic, so I snapped it up when I spotted it at a local natural foods store.
Some background info, courtesy of the world wide web:
Dibs el kharrub, or carob molasses, is a thick syrup made by soaking milled carob pods in water and reducing the extracted liquid. It is produced in large quantities in the area of Iqleem el kharrub (the district of carob), located in the foothills of the Shuf mountain district south of Beirut.
In Lebanon, carob molasses was traditionally used as an alternative to sugar. Mixed and served with tahina or sesame paste, for example, it is still eaten as a dessert called dibs bi tahina.
Carob is often used as a substitute for chocolate and is said to be rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, B vitamins, calcium, potassium and iron. It’s also used in natural remedies as a digestive aid and has been shown to lower cholesterol (read more on the benefits of carob here and here ).
Pretty neat, no?
Now, I’m a firm believer that Sundays are for pancakes, but alas a hectic schedule over the past few weeks meant my pancake mantra had fallen by the wayside. Last weekend, armed with a jar full of carob molasses and a craving for something rich and hearty, I decided to rectify that.
Serves 1 (yields 3 large pancakes or 4 medium ones)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour*
1/4 cup oat flour **
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp carob, cacao or cocoa powder
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk (almond or rice milk would also work)
1/4 cup raw beet juice (approximately 1/3 of a medium beet)
2 tbsp carob molasses
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 a flax egg (1 tsp ground flaxseed + 2-3 tsp warm water, mixed to gel)
coconut oil or vegan margarine for frying
* Made from ground raw buckwheat groats, not kasha
** You can make your own by grinding some rolled oats in a food processor or coffee/spice grinder. Make sure to use certified GF oats if making gluten free.
In a small bowl, mix the flax with warm water and set aside to gel.
Juice your beet and set aside (It may be a good idea to do this in advance at a time when you are already going to juice, to save having to clean up the juicer over such a small amount).
Add the dry ingredients to a small mixing bowl and mix well.
In small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the juice, with the soy milk, carob molasses, vanilla essence and flax egg.
Add the wet ingredients to dry and mix till just combined. The batter will be pretty thick and look slightly gummy on account of the buckwheat flour – completely normal.
Lightly grease a skillet or breakfast griddle using coconut oil or vegan margarine on low to medium heat. Scoop in the batter in 1/4 cup increments and cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping once in between.
The result: rich, chocolate-y, almost red-velvet pancakes.
If you’re feeling truly decadent (as I clearly was), serve with tahini soft-serve, and a healthy drizzle of carob molasses.
Can you handle how good this looks?
What’s more is that these pancakes are good for you too. They may not taste healthy but they definitely measure up, nutrition wise. Loaded with protein from the buckwheat and oat flours, rich in antioxidants from the beet and carob topped with a dose of healthy fats from the tahini in the soft-serve.
Not to mention the fact that kids/fussy eaters will totally fail tonotice the sneaky addition of vegetable juice. Who could ask for more from a humble pancake?