Tales of Woe – Those Sunbutter Cookies

Tales of Woe – Those Sunbutter Cookies



… the internetowebbyverse screamed at me as I searched for a peanut-free cookie recipe. All of the recipes.. and I mean ALL… were simply an even swap (Sunbutter for peanut) in a standard peanut cookie formula.

I threw caution to the wind, and blindly followed their advice.. wildly inappropriate punctuation.

Here’s the hitch…

Peanuts and sunflower seeds aren’t the same thing. Peanuts work so well for nut butters because they are homogenized easily. Oil seeds (like sunflower) resist blending… they naturally separate and continue to separate even after incorporation into a dough. Is that a big deal? Certainly.  Butters that want to be oil will be inherently greasy… meaning, the Sunbutter cookies are going to be overly oily on the exterior as the oil migrates to the surface, while the interior becomes dry as a powder keg. And all that oil is going to turn to laquer, creating an odd plastic texture to your finished cookie.

There’s also something green going on. Sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and the like contain a generous amount of chlorogenic acid (chlorophyll, to you and me). Chlorogenic acid reacts with alkaline substances… baking soda and powder. Much the same way spinach, kale and green beans turn a Dr. Seuss shade of electric green when a 1/4 teaspoon is added to the water while cooking; sunflower butter will gain an unappetizing muddy green hue.

Additionally, there’s the seizing to deal with. While it isn’t inherent to only seed butters (peanut butter does it as well), but.. because of the excess, migrating oil… the clumping is worse. Happily, we’ve created steps that will allow you to work around it.

Not exactly the same as a good ole peanut butter cookie.

Let’s get to it…


MAKES 4 DOZEN 1″ Cookies

1 cup Self Rising Flour

1/2 cup Granulated Sugar

5 tablespoons Softened Butter

1/3 cup Sunbutter or Sunflower Seed Butter

1/3 cup UNSTIRRED Tahini – tahini separates in the jar. Either pour off the oil, or tilt the jar to one side so you can access the dense nut meat.

1 Egg

1 tablespoon Honey

Tools you will need: Mixing Bowl, Spatulas, Measuring Cups & Spoons, Pastry Cutter, 1/2 Tablespoon Scoop, Parchment Paper, Baking Sheet

Okay, as I mentioned, you  cannot treat this like a standard peanut recipe. Ditch the idea of using hand beaters, food processor, or stand mixer.  You are going to have to muscle through it. Mix together the sugar and softened butter until smooth. Add the flour. AND with a pastry cutter, cut the flour into the butter mix like you would biscuits.

Add the Sunbutter and tahini. Continue cutting the mix together; it will come together into a paste. Add the egg and cut in. Once it forms a thick smooth dough (like the above picture) Add the honey and cut in.

By adding the egg and honey last, the flour acts as a buffer keeping the nut oils from seizing up.

Preheat your oven to 350

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop out 12 cookies per sheet pan.

To give your cookies a traditional look, dip a fork in a little Granulated Sugar and press into the top of each cookie. (Dip the fork back into sugar before each cookie)

Bake on the center rack for 10 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

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