Sunflower Butter Cookies (gluten free, vegan, nut free, low carb)

I'm back!

My technological delay is over. While my stolen, new computer is still MIA, I now have my old computer back, newly repaired and faster than ever. So, I am ready and rarin' to be back in the blogosphere! I have some recipe catch up work to do, starting with this awesome sunflower butter coconut flour cookie recipe I made a couple weeks back.

I desperately wanted to make cookies a couple weekends ago. I was going to the first rehearsal for the orchestra I'm playing in for the annual Barebones Halloween show here in Minneapolis. This Halloween show is spectacular - it is a big, radical theater production that takes place down in Hidden Falls Regional Park, put on through the Bedlam Theater. The performance is outside in the park at night, always involves crazy life-size puppets and awesome music, and everyone attending sits on long rows of hay bales. After seeing last year's performance, I knew I had to play in the orchestra this year.

So, of course, meant I wanted to bring food to our first rehearsal, and I wanted it to be something good. What I really wanted was the peanut butter cookies from my childhood. I wanted the cookies to be soft and dense and rich. But I wanted them low carb. And I wanted them low in sugar. And most importantly, I wanted them peanut free. So, I searched around online, and found a great recipe for agave-sweetened, low-carb peanut butter cookies on the blog Cookies and Candids: Vegan Baking. Switch out the peanut butter with Sunbutter, change a couple other things, and - voila! - amazing cookies! These were great, everyone loved them. They are super moist and dense, but not too heavy, and taste just like peanut butter cookies. They are wildly high in fiber, pretty high in protein, and surprisingly low carb. Hurrah!

The two bummer things about these cookies?
  1. These are expensive cookies. Coconut flour and Sunbutter are on the pricy side. But, they make a ton.
  2. They turned totally moldy in about 24 hours. I left them out unrefrigerated, and between the summer heat and the cookies' moist texture, what appeared to me mold formed before I knew it and I had to throw away a good portion of the batch. Thankfully, they were still okay to take to the rehearsal, but shortly thereafter, they were kind of green (update on 3/7/10 - SEE FOLLOW UP AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST FOR AN EXPLANATION, it wasn't mold at all, just clorophyll!). So keep these refrigerated until ready to serve (let warm to room temperature though before serving). Then freeze whatever doesn't get eaten right away. I did put some in the freezer, and they thawed well.

SUNFLOWER BUTTER COOKIES (gluten free, nut free, vegan, low carb)
yields around 45 cookies

1 1/3 c coconut flour
3/4 c quinoa flour
1 c tapioca flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c applesauce
1 c Sunbutter (or other nut/seed butter of choice)
10 prunes
1 + 1/2 c water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4-1/2 c agave nectar
2 T softened coconut oil
handful toasted whole sunflower seeds
handful whole flax seeds

Preheat oven to 350* and line baking sheets with parchment.

Place prunes in a saucepan or microwaveable bowl, and add 1 c water. Heat until prunes have softened, then remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.  Blend prunes with soaking water until totally smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, combine prune puree, applesauce, sunbutter, vanilla, agave, and coconut oil, and mix until smooth.  Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, adding additional 1/2 c of warm water as needed. When almost completely mixed, add sunflower seeds and flax seeds, and stir a few more times.

Form into a 1 1/2 ball, place on baking sheet, then flatten slightly with a fork. These cookies will not spread.
Bake at 350º for about 15 minutes, or until firm and golden. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. STORE IN THE REFRIGERATOR AND FREEZE ANY LEFTOVERS.