Soft, moist, and chewy, these cookies are a beloved treat in our peanut- and tree nut-free household.  Of course, you can use peanut butter instead — the unhomogenized, natural kind is best.

A note to the uninitiated:  After a few hours, the cookies will turn a rather surprising shade of green on the inside.  This, according to the folks at SunButter, is caused by a chemical reaction between sunflower seeds and leaveners.  It’s peculiar, but harmless.

Sunbutter and jam thumbprint cookies

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen

1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 c. sunflower seed butter (Trader Joe’s is my favorite)

1 c. light brown sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 large egg

1 3/4 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

1/2 c. jam, any kind (I like strawberry)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, sunflower seed butter, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add vanilla and egg and beat to combine.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

With mixer running on low speed, slowly add dry ingredients to bowl and mix until well-combined.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Roll a tablespoonful of dough into a ball, then gently flatten onto pan, pressing into the center with your thumb to form an indentation.  Repeat with remaining dough, spacing cookies 2-inches apart.  Fill center of each cookie with about 1/2 tsp. jam.

Bake 12-15 minutes, or until edges of cookies are set.  Let cool at least 5 minutes on tray before removing to wire racks.  Cookies will keep in an airtight container for a few days.

Make it vegan: Use a non-hydrogenated, vegetable shortening (I use Earth Balance’s Buttery Sticks) instead of butter.  To replace egg, combine 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed and 3 tbsp. boiling water, whisking until thick and viscous.  Let cool to room temperature before adding to creamed butter/sugar mixture.  Alternatively, you can use commercial egg-replacer, prepared according to package directions for replacing one egg (if you’re also baking gluten-free, this is the preferable substitution).

Make it gluten-free: A lot of tinkering with ingredients, but a result as good as the original:

1/2 c. shortening (I like Spectrum Organic’s palm shortening)

1 c. sunflower seed butter (Trader Joe’s is my favorite)

3/4 c. light brown sugar

¼ c. honey

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 large egg (or commercial egg replacer prepared for one egg)

½ c. sorghum flour

½ c. millet flour

½ c. tapioca starch

¼ c. potato starch

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. xanthan gum

1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

1/2 c. jam, any kind (I like strawberry)

Follow directions in recipe above.

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