Wow. This past weekend, we held our second Sweet Relief bake sale (this time, benefitting the Community Food Bank of New Jersey for victims of Hurricane Sandy) at The Well Coffeehouse. It came together really fast, but it was an amazing success. Tons of food and close to $1400 raised from the sales of our baked goodies. In just a few hours!
I’m not much of a baker, but for the sale, I really wanted to challenge myself to see if I could come up with something good that several of my friends could purchase. So, I wanted to make something that was vegan and non-allergenic. So, that is no dairy, eggs, peanuts, gluten, or soy. A tall order, but I quickly found a link to these cookies, SunButter Surprises.
This recipe is exactly what I was looking for, though I substituted milled chia seeds (from Dole Nutrition) for the ground flax seeds (side note: chia adds no flavor to baked goods like flaxseed can) and substituted half a bar of Olive & Sinclair 75% chocolate for the chocolate chips because it was the only chocolate I could easily find that did not contain any soy. Soy lecithin is used to keep the cacao and cacao butter bonded together for a better shelf life. And though it is not derived from the soy protein, people with soy allergies can still be sensitive. I didn’t want to take any chances. And I appreciate O&S for making such a pure and fine quality product (right here in Nashville!). So, now, I've got a hypoallergenic cookie!
And the feedback from the buyers is that this cookie is actually good! I suspect that’s largely due to having a center of Olive & Sinclair chocolate. But you do have to be okay with the taste of SunButter (which I like better than peanut butter). And you have to be willing to forgive a little bit of crumbs (just hold it under your mouth to eat it). Also, good news! These cookies are easy to make. And bad news! They’re not exactly cheap. Two batches will cost you a little less than $15. But it’s well worth it, I’m sure for people who love cookies but rarely—if ever—get to eat them.
Olive & Sinclair Sunbutter Surprises
adapted from Authentic Simplicity
yield: about two dozen small cookies
1 tablespoon milled/ground chia seed
3 tablespoons hot water
1 cup sunflower seed butter (Sunbutter)
1 cup raw (or turbinado) sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ Olive & Sinclair 75% chocolate bar, busted in to chocolate chip size pieces (if not available, Enjoy Life is a good alternative)
In a small dish, mix together chia seed and water and set aside to form a gel. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sunflower seed butter, sugar and cinnamon until blended. Then blend in the chia seed gel until combined well. Scoop out dough and roll into small balls. Then push a few chocolate pieces into the center until hidden. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, until the tops begin to crack. Allow to sit for 1-2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.