Three-Bite Sunflower Cookies (gluten free, vegan, sugar free)

While my new apartment is perfect for so many reasons, it is lacking one thing: garden space.  So, my friend Amy is letting me use some of the garden space in her backyard.  Since it was the perfect day to garden - sunny, lightly breezy, and about 65* -  I  dedicated the afternoon to preparing the soil and planting.  There is nothing more grounding than working the earth with your hands, feeling the soil between your toes, and nurturing the promise of a summer harvest.  I planted all sorts of things: butternut, delicata, and buttercup squashes, zucchini, summer squash, cucumber, beets, kale, swiss chard, peas, and a variety of lovely herbs (parsley, basil, rosemary, savory, thyme, tarragon, and lemon balm).  I can't wait for my garden to grow! 
Anyway, tilling the soil, fertilizing, planting, and putting up a fence to protect the plants from Pickle, Amy's crazy Boxer,  worked up a serious appetite.  By the time I got home, I was ready to gnaw my dirt-covered clean hand off.  After a lovely and satisfying dinner of salmon, steamed parsnips and broccoli, and seared brussels sprouts (leftovers from my pickled brussels sprout project), I wanted something a little sweet.  A cookie.  Yes, I wanted a cookie.  So, I whipped these up.  
Oooh, and yummy, yummy, yummy, these petite three-bite cookies satisfied my sweet tooth.  Why "three-bite"?  Because they can be gobbled up in one, two, three little bites.  Perfect.  That means you can eat a few, and it equals one normal cookie, right?  
Studded with sunflower seeds and chopped up chocolate chunks, and sweetened with stevia, they have a bit of crunch and are just sweet enough.  I used SweetLeaf sweetener; it is a mixture of stevia and inulin.  If using pure powdered stevia, use a little less than my recipe calls for.   My chocolate "chips" are an experimental homemade mixture of ground raw cacao nibs and agave nectar; feel free to substitute any kind of carob chip, chocolate chip, or chopped up carob/chocolate product of your choice.   For moisture and binding ability, I used a little Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) and pureed cooked peach (substitute applesauce or any fruit puree).  Yum!  These are soft and cakey, and would be very tasty with a glass of your favorite milk substitute.  I'm totally out of rice milk, so I had mine with some licorice tea instead, and that was pretty good too.  
I really like making petite cookies, and think these are totally charming in their diminutive size.  If you insist on baking a bigger cookie, I'd suggest flattening the dough slightly with a fork, probably baking a little bit longer. I also froze a few scoops of the cookie dough for baking later, and will also be freezing the leftover baked cookies; I'll update on how those bake/thaw.   Enjoy!

THREE-BITE SUNFLOWER COOKIES

yield: about 30 petite cookies

3/4 c millet flour
3/4 c amaranth flour
1/4 c arrowroot starch
1/2 tsp salt
2 T sunflower butter (or other nut/seed butter)
1/2 c fruit puree (I used peach)
3 T sunflower oil, safflower oil, or other light tasting oil
1/3 c hot water
1 tsp SweetLeaf sweetener (stevia-based sweetener)
1/3 c toasted sunflower seeds
1/3 c carob chips, chocolate chips, coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate, etc...
  1. Preheat oven to 350* and prepare a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together flours and starch.  Add salt and baking powder, and whisk together.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix sunflower butter, fruit puree, and oil with a hand mixer until smooth.
  4. In a microwave or saucepan, heat 1/3 c water; once heated, dissolve stevia in the water. SEt aside.  
  5. Add flour mixture to fruit/sunflower butter mixture, adding in batches, and mixing in between.  Before the last batch of flour, add the hot water, mix, and then finish adding flour, stirring only until moistened.
  6. Quickly and gently fold in sunflower seeds and carob/chocolate chips, stirring only until evenly mixed.
  7. Scoop by the tablespoonful on prepared baking sheet, and back for 10-12 minutes, until firm to the touch and lightly golden.
  8. Remove from oven, let cool on baking sheet a few minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.