Since L has a peanut allergy and has been advised to avoid all nuts and coconut, a part of me has been bummed that he won’t get to enjoy treats such as Almond Joy, Snickers, or Nutella. My MiL has already mentioned she doesn’t know what she’ll do for Christmas because all of her cookie recipes call for nuts or coconut. I don’t want L missing out — he looks so sad when Mr Boots and G indulge in candy and foods he can’t have. It breaks my heart!
I chatted with a friend about L’s allergy one morning and she suggested SunButter. It’s made out of sunflower seeds and the parents she knows that use it love it.
I figured it was worth a shot. Peanut butter was the only way I could get some sort of non-dairy protein into G’s diet, so I was frustrated that I had to stop buying it. I tried almond butter, but that wasn’t a success. I love sunflower seeds, so it couldn’t be that bad, right?
The next time I went to the store I bought a jar of SunButter, hoping my kids would like it. We made SunButter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and each of the boys took a bite and spat it back out. This $8 jar of buttered seeds has been mostly untouched and sitting at the back of the fridge, because even I find the taste very overpowering. I’ve thought about just tossing the jar, but it was $8! (Finding nut alternatives isn’t cheap!)
So I decided to try to adapt a peanut butter cup recipe, in hopes that the chocolate will make the sunflower spread seem a little less offensive. But the recipe called for all the chocolate chips I had on hand, and I wanted to save some for pancakes. I decided to try to make Buckeyes, a favorite of Mr Boots’ that his mom makes in bulk during the Christmas season. I figured if I was somewhat successful at this, then I could make some for L so he wouldn’t have to look too sad at Christmas.
I adapted this Buckeye recipe, substituting peanut butter with SunButter. I also didn’t have any shortening so I left that out. That’s probably why my chocolate chips didn’t melt smoothly. Also not pictured, the vanilla and salt I added.
L wanted to help, and wouldn’t you know? He enjoyed licking the spoon we used to scoop the SunButter into measuring cups clean. It looks like peanut butter and that’s what G kept saying it was. I didn’t tell him it wasn’t peanut butter, though I probably should have. I didn’t tell him it was ground up sunflower seeds either. I was scared he wouldn’t touch the buckeyes if he knew what they were really made of, and I didn’t want to be the only one eating them.
And who wanted a spoon to lick clean as well? L stole the spoon I used to help mix the ingredients together. His might have tasted better because his SunButter was mixed with confectioners sugar.
This was my very first time making buckeyes. They aren’t pretty, and the kitchen was a mess when I was done, but they tasted alright so I have to give myself a pat on the back since it was my first go. G loved them and ate three. L ate most of one before he decided he’d rather play. I ate a few and found the chocolate helped with the intense sunflower seed taste I think SunButter has. I’m glad I opted to coat most of the ball with chocolate (to be fair, I am not a huge fan of buckeyes in general, so this is probably more of a personal problem!).
Now I’m wondering, if I get creative in how I use the product maybe my kids will eat it. SunButter also has a bunch of recipes on their website (Buckeyes included, though I never thought to look there first). There are a few savory ones I definitely want to try!
What are your favorite nut-free recipes?