I used to be in the minority. I was akin to a mythological being – the mysterious and misunderstood Nut Allergy Person. Because of my condition, I don’t really remember or know what a many things taste like – peanut butter, Rocky Road ice cream, those amazing smelling cinnamon-roasted nuts that they sell at stands around Christmastime. These days, there is barely a child out there that doesn’t have a food intolerance or four. So, I thought you might want to be prepared for the Nut Allergy Person who will inevitably come into your life (I don’t have an answer for your Gluten Free Person yet, sorry).
“How?” you might ask. With Sunbutter, which is actually a specific brand of the generic food sunflower seed butter (there are other brands). People had been telling me about Sunbutter for a few years before I tried it. I waived them off because I believed that I didn’t need their nut-loving pity. Boy, was I wrong. I bought some about 6 months ago and it was everything that I imagined peanut butter could be! Butterflies flew, birds sang and rainbows formed across the sky. Ok, not really all that, but it was so delicious that I had to try all sorts of silly things that I hadn’t eaten like Sunbutter and jelly sandwiches and Sunbutter, honey and bananas on toast. I went on a rampage and ate my first jar in weeks. Which was probably not good because it does still have the fat and calories of actual peanut butter (but, also the protein, I like to tell myself). Oh, well.
Turns out, after some trials with normal humans, Sunbutter doesn’t actually taste anything like peanut butter. What a let down. But it still has that creamy, roasted, nutty goodness that makes peanut butter so beloved, and it is a shockingly good direct substitute for peanut butter in baked goods. This got me thinking about Sunbutter cookies. So, I whipped out my trusty binder that just happens to have a gorgeous peanut butter cookie recipe.
But this recipe is something special. It has the ingredients by weight. And not just any weight – metric. You may be thinking, “ABORT! ABORT! This is too hard!” Fortunately for you, you would be wrong. Baking IS a precise undertaking. A little too much sugar or a not enough fat and the deliciously baked outcome you worked so hard for could change or fail entirely. Every person that scoops a cup of flour will get a different weight, depending on the method they use. You can quickly tell that this is not good when it comes to baking precisely. A small investment (mine was $50) in a food scale can change everything! It will take a few times to get used to the new method. Questions arise like, “How many eggs equal 98 grams?” But then you learn great tips, like each large egg is approximately 50 grams (yes, ALWAYS, but pay attention when using different sizes, like jumbo), so 98 grams not quite two large eggs. Of course, this leads to more questions, like “How the heck do you manage 1.98 eggs? Can’t I just use two?” The answer? NO and you need an equal amount of white and yolk, so all you have to do is crack an egg into a tupperware with a lid, then scramble the egg with a few serious shakes. Then use about 98% the scrambled egg. Ta da! So, consider this a fabulously fun adventure and give it a shot. Learning is cool – get into it!
And here is your first adventure: combining the two things we have talked about in this post into something delicious!
Sunbutter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Big THANK YOU to the San Francisco Baking Institute for the foundation for this recipe!
Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies
223g Room temperature butter
193g Brown sugar
252g Sunbutter (You can pick this up at your nearest Whole Foods)
3g Vanilla extract
367g All-purpose flour
14g Baking powder
200g Dark chocolate chips/chunks
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine the dry ingredients and reserve.
3. Cream the butter and sugars.
(How long you ask? I do approximately 2 minutes on speed 2 in my KitchenAid stand mixer. That is enough to equally distribute the sugar crystals within the fat crystals, but not so much that you overwork it.)
4. Add the egg and the vanilla and then the Sunbutter.
5. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated.
(I like to give it a little go in the mixer, but mostly do this step by hand to prevent excess gluten formation through over beating. You don’t have to do much, since you are mixing more in the next step anyway.)
6. Mix in the chocolate chunks. By now everything should be incorporated perfectly.
7. Scoop cookie dough in 50-60g scoops onto a cookie sheet.
(This makes fairly large cookies, once they bake and spread. You can make whatever size you prefer, but the important thing is that they are all the same. This promotes even and uniform baking. Using a ice cream scoop helps.)
8. Bake for 22-26 minutes (my oven took 24)