Carob is a power made from the carob pod and is commonly used as a substitute for chocolate. Carob pods are dried and the pulp of the plant is roasted and ground into powder, which can be used in baking or to make carob chips, which are an alternative to chocolate chips. Carob is not as bitter as cocoa, although it has some background flavors in common with it, but it does have a distinctly vegetal note to it that takes a bit of getting used to.
Carob doesn’t contain any caffeine or theobromine, two mild stimulants found in chocolate, which means that it is popular with people looking for chocolate substitutes. It went through a period of being hugely in vogue in the 1970s, but is a bit less commonly seen these days. It also lacks the antioxidants found in chocolate, so people are much more likely to dark about dark chocolate as a health food than carob these days.
Still, carob is readily available in natural food stores as both non-chocolate carob chips and as carob powder. Both can be used in recipes in much the same way as real chocolate chips and cocoa powder can be, for a not-quite-chocolatey treat that uses no chocolate. It is worth noting, however, that carob chips will start to burn at a lower temperature than chocolate chips will, so keep that in mind if using them for a batch of cookies,