So I quit my job and moved to Kingston, Jamaica for a few months to launch my freelance career. I like to have a bite or two of rich dark chocolate every day, but good quality bars are tough to come by here. They’re available in the specialty health food stores but they’re pricey. And I know I’m spoiled from living in the Bay Area but for the high prices you’re expected to pay, the options are limited. Plus, the fact that I’m newly unemployed isn’t the only reason I’m not trying to spend seven dollars on a chocolate bar, but it’s a factor.
I did find a bag of carob powder for seven dollars in the supermarket, though. Carob isn’t chocolate, but it’s dark and rich and the consistency is at least vaguely similar. Plus one bag of powder yields bars for days.
Here’s a clean and simple recipe for some homemade carob candy bars. I even decided to get fancy and stir in some of Jamaica’s famous scotch bonnet peppers along with toasted, salted raw peanuts with the skins on. Once you have the carob blended with the heated coconut oil, you can add anything you like.
Carob Candy Bars
3/4 cup carob powder
1 cup coconut oil
1 scotch bonnet pepper (you can use chiles, or any pepper spicy enough to kick through the sweetness)
1 big handful of raw peanuts
1 tsp salt
In a sauce pan, combine the carob powder and coconut oil. Put on a low flame and stir to combine as well as you can until smooth, removing any lumps or chunks.
Place a skillet (no oil), over a medium flame. Add peanuts, and sprinkle salt over them.
Toss the peanuts every 20 seconds or so, allowing them to toast, but ensuring they don’t burn. Do this for about 3 minutes.
Once peanuts are done, pull them off the pan with your hands once it’s cooled down enough and place them on the bottom of a flat container (I actually used a plastic plate with a rim around the edge, but you can be creative here).
Sprinkle some but not all of the left salt over the peanuts.
Stirring the carob again to be sure it’s lump-free, pour over the peanuts, mixing the nuts in and allowing the whole thing to settle into the vessel and flatten.
Place in the freezer for 1 hour.
The candy should pop out of the container easily once frozen.
Break into pieces. Keep refrigerated.