When we first started switching our diet to Paleo, I knew I was going to have to find a way to help our three kids feel like they weren’t being deprived of their favorites, or they would never be on board. One of the easiest ways to do this was to bake! The kids were already used to whole wheat flour and honey or maple syrup sweetened muffins and cookies, because I had been trying to switch us to a less processed diet little by little over the previous year. Because of this, they were also already used to my baked goods being much less sweet than traditional baking usually is. In Paleo baking, almond and coconut flours are two of the most commonly used flours, so I started experimenting with those. Almond flour is pretty easy to swap out in recipes, and it is usually a 1:1 ratio. But coconut flour is much harder to work with. I have experimented a little, but I usually always start with a tested recipe, because coconut flour is unique, highly absorbent and requires a lot of liquid for very little flour in a recipe.
This “anytime” cookie recipe is one that I have changed up a little bit. The original version can be found at Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain. I call it an” anytime” cookie because we eat them for breakfast (they are a bit like muffin tops), I send them in the girls’ lunches, and they take them to school for snack. I regularly make double batches, freeze them individually and then keep them in the freezer. When we want one, we just know we need to let it sit out for about 10 minutes to defrost. They are sweetened only with fruit, are grain and dairy-free, and high in both fiber and protein. Taking them to school for snack is why I adapted this recipe a bit. Both girls are in nut-safe classrooms this year, so I knew I couldn’t send the much-loved original, but sunflower seed butter would be totally acceptable, and they turned out great!
Sunflower Seed Butter Anytime Cookies
Adapted from Against All Grain
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
6 dried, pitted dates (soaked in warm water for 15 minutes)
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons raisins
3 tablespoons golden raisins
3 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.
2. Process the coconut flour, dates and sunflower seed butter in the food processor until the dates are broken up into very tiny pieces.
3. Add all remaining ingredients to the food processor, except for the raisins and sunflower seeds, and process until a wet dough forms. scrape the sides of the bowl and process again.
4. Add the raisins and sunflower seeds and pulse once or twice to combine, but do not chop up the fruit.
5. Using a large spoon or cookie dough scoop, drop the dough onto the cookie sheet in rounded spoonfuls.
6. Slightly dampen your fingers with water and press the dough balls down, into the shape you would like the cookies to be. They will not change shape while baking, so make sure they are the shape you want them before putting them in the oven.
7. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly golden on top.
A note about these cookies: All plants contain chlorogenic acid, mostly in the stems and leaves, but sunflowers also contain it in the seeds. When using sunflower seed butter or sunflower seeds in baking, this acid reacts with the leavening agent, either baking soda or baking powder, and as the cookies cool, they will turn green. You can counteract this by adding a little lemon juice to the batter or by reducing the leavening agent by up to half, both of which will affect the outcome slightly. However, my kids think green cookies are kinda cool, so we just leave them as they are! I pulled these out of the freezer this morning for snacks at school today, hence the “frost” on top.