One of the things that you face as a challenge if you go nut free, is the absence of nut butters. No more cashew, almond, macadamia…. And the big thing is, this affects baking too. I love using nut butters for binding agents in cookies to replace egg or xanthan gum. Or a nice nut butter to give a nice fatty texture to chocolate desserts to replace dairy, or to add to a dairy-free ice cream for a similar mouth-feel. In short, cutting out nuts if you have multiple intolerances, can sometimes be a challenge.
A little while ago I started experimenting with sunflower seed butter. I can basically tolerate the bought stuff, but I have to be honest- I don’t really love it. I wondered though, if it would taste differently if I made it from scratch. I was on to something!! It is so much more roasty ‘nutty’ tasting, and really super delicious. I was quite pleasantly surprised :
Sunbutter, as its also know, seems to be used alot by nut-free bakers. The Spunky Coconut does a great job of using sunbutter in her recipes. Its got a more noticeable flavour than the more neutral almond butter, but it tastes great with any topping like jam for a sandwich, and can be used as a direct replacement for nut butters in almost all recipes, and goes a long way towards binding baked goods like cookies. In short, great nut-free stuff :)
Home Made Sunflower Seed Butter
NOTE: the butter here is a touch thick, but all you need to do is add a touch more oil of your choice (I like olive oil) while blending, and you can bring it to the consistency you like.
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
- olive oil (or neutral tasting grapeseed oil)- 1/4 cup
- fine sea salt, 1 generous pinch
- OPTIONAL: 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional, for a sweet use)
- OPTIONAL: for a sweet mix: 2 tbsp or to taste of honey, agave nectar, coconut sap or other sweetener
- OPTIONAL: Make Nut free Nutella– include 1/4 to 1/2 cup cocoa powder or to taste, plus the cinnamon and sweetener above (yes, include the salt too!)
- Roast the sunflowers on a cookie tray at 350 for 3-10 min until golden. Its a large margin of time depending how thick you layer the sunflower seeds on the tray, how hot your oven is, and how close your pan is to the burner. I use parchment paper on the sheets to help prevent burning.
- Throw into a food processor or vitamix blender. Emulsify with olive oil (or oil of your choice) to your preferred consistency, and add sea salt to taste. Done! How easy was that? :)
- NOTE: for nut-free nutella- add dark cocoa powder, agave or honey or coconut sap to your taste, and even a tsp or two of espresso powder for an extra kick :).