Friday, September 9, 2011

Sunflower Butter + Sunflower Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

So I have discussed making my own nut butter here before. And last week I decided to tinker around with making my own sunflower butter. That works too. Which is good to know since it costs about twice to three times as much as a comparable amount of peanut butter. And in all the places I live I have yet to find a place that grinds the stuff fresh in store. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. 

I am pleased with the results. Fresher products are always nice. And you can make them just the way you prefer- for me that means toasting the seeds, sea salt and a bit of honey. The honey is extraneous, but I like it for flavor and consistency. Maple syrup and good quality molasses would also be good candidates as well. Once again, you can make it to your liking and cupboard ingredients. 

Sunflower Butter
2 cups of sunflower seeds
2-4 Tablespoons honey 
Pinch of sea salt

Toast the sunflower seeds in a skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan to keep the seeds moving and prevent them from burning. When they are fragrant and golden, pull them off the heat. Don't over toast, if the seeds get too dark they will have a faint bitter taste. 
Place the seeds in a food processor or blender. Pulse until you have a nice meal-like consistency. Then add the salt and honey and process until the oils release from the seeds and the butter begins to come together. Pause occasionally to scrape down the sides and then continue processing. It may take several minutes. Adjust to taste. If you want a looser consistency add a bit of sunflower or another neutral oil to the butter and pulse in. This keeps best in the fridge. If you find if a bit thick to spread, just heat it a bit.

Having lots of inexpensive sunflower butter was just the excuse I needed to create these cookies for my daughter, who is allergic to nuts and will never have a proper peanut butter cookie. I thought these were great, and not a concession to the real McCoy.  I froze half the dough to make more next time we need it. This may be our staple replacement for the classic peanut butter cookies.

And while you could leave out the chocolate chips and cross hatch them with a fork to get the right look, I didn't. Another note about sunflower seeds, they often turn green when cooked. The discoloration is the result of sunflower seeds being rich in chlorogenic acid. Most plants only have chlorogenic acid in the stems and leaves, but sunflower also has it in the seeds/oil/butter. Also one of the reasons sunflower is good for you. If you want the green, leave out the orange or lemon juice, it tames the sunflower pigment change. This could be exciting for St. Patrick's day, magic green middles in the cookies. 

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Butter Cookie

1¼ cups white wheat or whole wheat pastry or spelt flour (if using red wheat flour, I would go 50/50 with regular flour to avoid too much heaviness)
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1¼  cup smooth sunflower butter at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon orange or lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chocolate chips (I favor dark chocolate)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

3) In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4) Shaped dough into small two bite size balls and place mine onto ungreased cookie sheets, flatten slightly and leave about 2 inches in between.

5) Bake for 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

7) Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

1 comment:

  1. This looks wonderful. I tasted this sunflower seed butter before and I like it. Trader Joes used to carry it. Your fresh version looks even better. Thanks.


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