I don’t know about you, but when the time is right, I can develop an atrocious sweet tooth. It’s unfortunate that my gastrointestinal tract and my brain don’t always agree — although it makes sense because they both have minds of their own (excuse me while I nerd out). My joke stems from the fact that we all have a central nervous system (brain + spinal cord) as well as an enteric nervous system (in the gut).
Okay, I’ll spare you the science and get to the good stuff. Life is short. As a degreed nutritionist, I think it’s equally as important to enjoy food and savor the fleeting moments of life as it is to be mindful of what you’re eating and consume foods in a balance. This to me is what eating healthy should look like. You can have a damn cupcake, but for goodness sake make sure it’s made of real food.
Sounds easy enough, right? It’s actually much simpler than you’d think. The food and marketing industries combined will lead you to believe otherwise, but trust me. They’re wrong (and also really wealthy and therefor find it easy to persuade you). You can totally make your own comfort food to be nutritious and still taste wonderfully satisfying.
I don’t crave chocolate often. In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I even desired chocolate at all. Growing up I hated the stuff. All I wanted were the sugar coated, brightly color gummy candies. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy an infrequent Sour Patch Kid, but they’re much more difficult to create yourself.
I’m cutting caffeine out of my life for a few weeks, but I was craving something chocolatey with a salty sweet kick. I decided to whip up these cashew carob balls instead because carbo contains zero caffeine and is a perfect substitute for chocolate.
Cashew Carob Fudge Balls
- 12 Tbsp cashew butter
- 4 Tbsp carob powder (plus more for rolling and dusting)
- 4 Tbsp local, raw honey
- 2-3 vanilla bean pods (may use extract)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- You may find that the cashew butter separates, leaving a layer of oil at the top. Do your best to mix the cashew butter up so it’s homogenous and creamy. I find that using a butterknife works best to mix it. Scoop out the 12 Tbsp cashew butter and place in a small or medium food processor.
- Next, add all other ingredients to the food processor.
- Process all ingredients until they combine and form a somewhat gritty mass (see photo below). You may have to scrape the sides down and continue to process a couple times.
- Prepare a shallow bowl with some carob powder. You will most likely need to to roll your balls in this extra powder to help prevent sticking.
- Once well combined, roll out into 1-1.5 inch balls using your hands. Toss in the carob powder bowl if you find they’re too sticky.
- Place each finished ball on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (make sure it will fit in your freezer). You should be able to make 14-16 balls, depending on size.
- Freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Dust with extra carob powder when serving. Let thaw for 5 minutes before eating. Enjoy!
Notes: I used a magic bullet to process my carob cashew fudge balls, but I recommend using a food processor as it is much easier to get all the ingredients blended together. It is possible to use a magic bullet, but it’s a challenge to get the cashew butter to not stick to the bottom of the bullet (which becomes the top when you have to flip it over to blend).
I love this recipe because it’s simple, sweet and packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, healthy fats and even some antioxidants. The cashew butter delivers vitamins E, K and B6 as well as the minerals copper, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron and selenium.
Copper and iron work together to produce red blood cells and ensure proper function. This is especially important throughout pregnancy, when a women’s blood volume basically doubles.
Carob is a nutritious substance that comes from pods that grow on carob trees. Similar to chocolate, the pods are dried and roasted before being ground and used in foods. It has a uniquely sweet taste which makes it a great swap for chocolate lovers looking for something more dynamic tasting.
For women who don’t consume dairy, carob contains calcium and is a good plant source of this super important mineral. Two tablespoons of carob powder contains roughly 42 mg of calcium. That same amount of carob powder also contains 5 grams of fiber, about 20% of the RDA. It’s naturally gluten and caffeine-free and offers antioxidants in the form of gallic acid and flavonoids.
These sweet fudge-y balls are sure to please your taste buds and fuel your body (pregnant or not)! If you try it out, I’d love to hear how it went. If you get brave and experiment at all, please comment here to let us know what you added and how it turned out. You can also share a photo of your creation on Instagram and use the hashtag #tfg_cashewcarob