I have been experimenting for some time now with carob as a natural alternative to chocolate. Carob is a pod from a tree that is naturally sweet and has a similar flavor to chocolate, making it a great substitute, especially in baked goods and smoothies. The two ways I have used carob are in powder form ( replacing cocoa powder) and in chip form ( replacing chocolate chips for cookies and other baked goods). I have had very good results with carob, and since it contains no caffeine or added sugar, I have found it to be very beneficial with my oldest son, who has an extreme sensitivity to sugar! This has allowed him to continue enjoying baked goods with the rest of the family.
I would say you can substitute carob powder for any recipe calling for cocoa powder, and the chips for any recipe calling for chocolate chips. Please note that they don't melt like regular chocolate chips!
Here is a recipe for a great Protein Smoothie that I have adapted to use carob powder. I like to use this smoothie to get in my pregnancy protein requirements, without added sugar.
1 cup vanilla-flavored yogurt
1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
2 tbsp. raw honey
2 tbsp. carob powder
1 tbsp. raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp. chopped dates
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. You can add a few ice cubes if you desire a more frosty smoothie, just increase the blend time by a minute or so.
I have also used carob chips to make my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe--just sub them in for your regular chocolate chips!
I have purchased carob powder and chips both on-line and in my natural foods store. Try amazon.com or Azure Standard for on-line buying.