Full disclosure. This cookie recipe was born out of my own laziness. While living in San Francisco, I was lounging on my couch one foggy afternoon, dreaming of fresh baked cookies. The only problem was that I was feeling too cheap and lackadaisical to go to any great lengths to procure baked goods that required much thought or effort. Any recipe that needed more than one step and a few simple ingredients was out of the question. I also wanted something relatively wholesome—no yuck ingredients, such as white sugar or bleached flour for my cookies!
Like all good San Franciscans, I turned to my smartphone for an answer. I don’t remember exactly what I typed into my keyword search, but it was something to the effect of “really easy cookie recipe” or “cookies for really lazy people.”
The recipe that caught my eye was a three-ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe. This three-ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe eventually morphed into a slightly more wholesome sunbutter cookies recipe, replacing peanut butter with sunflower seed butter and cane sugar with coconut sugar. I have made variations of this cookie recipe at least a dozen times, and no matter how I seem to tweak and refine, the results are always stunningly delicious and satisfying, yet not overly sweet.
These sunbutter cookies are best described as delicious little seed butter patties. They have a distinctive nuttiness and are just sweet enough. Though I don’t advise eating cookies for breakfast every day, a couple of these cookies and a spicy cup of chai tea can make a great breakfast on occasion. Sunbutter cookies are also a real crowd pleaser—they are a favorite at potlucks and holiday cookie parties. They are also flourless, which goes over well with the gluten-free crowd. Above all, they are not only tasty, but incredibly easy to make.
Here I will share both my classic recipe, as well as a couple of riffs that I have found to be as delightful as the original. It is also important to note that peanut butter or sunflower seed butter can be used for all of these recipes. Since I am an Ayurvedic practitioner, I generally choose sunbutter over peanut butter because peanuts are considered to be disruptive to all three doshas (constitutional types), and sunflower butter is less hot, dry, and heavy as compared to peanut butter. However, I have used peanut butter on occasion, and I must say that either choice yields delicious results.
Sunbutter Cookies: A Tasty Winter Treat
[recipe_ingredients] 16 ounces sunflower seed butter (unsweetened) [/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions] [/recipe_directions]
Greta's Sunbutter Cookie Classic
1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
a dash of each: dried ginger, cinnamon, cardamom
2 tablespoons molasses (optional)
16 ounces sunflower seed butter (unsweetened)
I can attest to the above recipe being tried and true. However, I have also experimented with a few variations on this theme that I have found to be equally delicious. Here are those variations:
Give it an Herbal Boost!
Give these sunbutter cookies an herbal edge! Try adding herbal adaptogens such as powdered ashwagandha, shatavari, or kapikacchu to the mix. I got this idea after attending a holiday herb talk in Asheville, North Carolina given by Asia Suler of One Willow Apothecaries. She shared her adaptogenic cookie recipe (as well as some samples) with the attendees. I was so inspired by the concept of adding stress-busting herbs to holiday cookies, I figured I would try this trick with my own recipe.
I have experimented with adding a few different adaptogens and find that I don’t notice a significant change in flavor, but I take comfort in knowing that I am getting a little extra fortification. I recommend adding no more than a two tablespoons total of powdered herbs, and any combination of adaptogenic, tonifying herbs will do. (This category of herbs is referred to as rasayanas in Ayurveda). Nothing else in the recipe needs to change. Follow all other directions as given above. Kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens), ashwaganda (Withania somnifera), shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), and eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) are nice for their innocuous flavor. Ginseng powder adds a little more of a bite.
Everything’s Better with Chocolate Chips!
In this variation, I add chocolate chips because, well, everything’s better with chocolate! Since the chocolate chips add a little more sweetness, I subtract a half cup of sugar from this recipe. Chocolate chips provide a bit more flavor accent and texture, and satisfy anyone’s chocolate craving.
[recipe_ingredients] 16 ounces sunflower butter (unsweetened) [/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions] [/recipe_directions]
Greta's Sunbutter Cookie with Chocolate Chips
1 cup coconut sugar
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon molasses (optional)
a dash of cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom
16 ounces sunflower butter (unsweetened)
True, this recipe is a bit aberrant from my classic Sunbutter Cookies recipe. Here I add oats and a little coconut oil to counteract the dryness of the raw oats. The oats add texture and a bit of that oatmeal cookie comfort, but you get the same nutty satisfaction from the peanut butter. I have only made this recipe with peanut butter to date, but I imagine sunflower butter would do just as well.
[recipe_ingredients] [/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions] [/recipe_directions]
Greta's Sunbutter Cookie with Oats
Whether it’s the classic recipe or a variation thereof, I find that these cookies really hit the spot when I am craving a little hassle-free holiday cookie baking. They also make a lovely homemade gift or contribution to a holiday spread. Or, follow my example and enjoy these wholesome treats for breakfast any time of year! No recipe could be easier. Bon appetit!