Do you love sunflower butter? Then you'll really love these sunbutter cookies! They're soft, chewy, and allergy-friendly, too![feast_advanced_jump_to]
My grandma was an amazing baker! Peanut butter cookies were one of the delicious treats we could find in her cookie jar.
Luckily, with a few allergy friendly substitutions, I can make sunbutter cookies that taste a lot like peanut butter cookies without the allergens!
Sunbutter cookie ingredients
Sunflower seed butter (AKA Sunbutter) - If you have a peanut allergy and haven't tried sunflower butter yet you're missing out! The taste and texture are very similar (it even tastes great by the spoonful right out of the jar!) It's also similar to peanut butter when it comes to fat, protein, and carbohydrate content so using it in place of peanut butter in baking works well.
Earth Balance Buttery Spread - This margarine has a nice, buttery flavor and comes in sticks making it very convenient for baking! It comes in several varieties including one that is dairy free and one that is dairy and soy free.
Flax "egg" - This is made by mixing 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of warm water. After the mixture sits for a few minutes, it thickens and becomes viscous (kind of like an egg). I use one flax egg in this recipe.
Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour - This is a flour blend that can be used in place of wheat flour cup-for-cup. It doesn't have an odd flavour as some gluten free flours do.
I have also used my own gluten free flour blend which is a combination of rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch. I add about ½ teaspoon of xanthan gum to the recipe if it isn't already added in the flour blend that I'm using.
Recipe tips and FAQs
Refrigerate the dough
Once you've mixed up the dough for the sunbutter cookies, it will stick together but will be soft. I recommend refrigerating it for an hour or so to allow it to firm up. This isn't absolutely necessary, though. I have baked the cookies right away and they still turn out fine. The main difference is the fork imprints on top aren't as defined. So, it's more of an appearance issue than a flavor or texture issue.
Rolling into balls
A cookie scoop works really well for making cookies that are uniform in size. Just scoop out a portion into your hand and then roll into a ball. The ball gets rolled in sugar and then placed on your cookie sheet.
If you don't have a cookie scoop, use a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon to create the balls.
Pressing the cookies
After rolling into balls, then into sugar, the balls are placed on a cookie sheet but we're not ready to bake yet!
Peanut butter cookies traditionally have a criss-cross pattern on the top. I was curious as to why this was and found an article on Wikipedia that gave the explanation I was looking for.
The cookies are pressed because dough made with peanut butter (and sunflower butter) is dense. Without pressing, it would not bake evenly. I'm not sure why a fork was used to do this but my guess is that it is a utensil found in every household making it easy for anyone to do!
Storing the cookies
These cookies are delicious right out of the oven but will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container. If you have leftovers, you can freeze them for 2-3 months.
Why do some sunbutter cookies turn green?
When I first attempted to adapt my grandma's peanut butter cookie recipe, the cookies turned green!
It turns out, the chlorophyll in sunflower seeds reacts with the baking soda/powder causing the green color to develop. While it's harmless, it isn't very appealing so I tweaked the amounts of baking soda/powder to prevent it. If you use sunbutter in place of peanut butter in other recipes, keep that in mind.
More cookie recipes
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- ½ cup "safe" margarine like Earth Balance
- ½ cup sunflower butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice milk or other milk alternative
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ¾ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- In a small bowl, mix together the ground flaxseed and water. Set aside until thickened. With an electric mixer, cream together the margarine, sunflower butter, and sugars. Mix in the vanilla and flax/water mixture. In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda, baking powder, and flour. Add to the sunflower butter mixture and mix well. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
- Put sugar in a bowl. Roll chilled dough into balls (about 1" in diameter) and roll in sugar. Place balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using a fork, flatten the balls making a criss-cross pattern. Bake in 350° oven for 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
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