What’s in the Pantry: Sunflower Seed Butter

    Before Ramadan started, I got on another baking kick. It’s easy to do in this house, always equipped with ingredients and interesting foods that we’re not sure what to do with. But Ramadan can’t stop me from getting in the kitchen, either. I already tried plans for popcorn chocolate chip cookies. I was inspired by the cocoa powder in the pantry. I was feeling a classic pairing of chocolate and peanut butter, but we didn’t have peanut butter. What we did have was sunflower seed butter. Have you heard of such a thing? You may have seen it among the cookie butters in Trader Joe’s. This place clearly carries everything. I found this jar sitting in the pantry, and it seemed to be waiting for the right moment to be used. No one had opened it, so I thought I would see what I could do. It wasn’t the smoothest of nut butter, but that’s not an issue if you like texture with your chewy. Thus materialized from the kitchen and my free Saturday afternoon, my sunflower seed butter-stuffed double chocolate cookies!

     I don’t care what the back of the cocoa powder packet says – melting chocolate is always the best way to go when baking cookies and brownies. Moist, dense, and excellent.

     You could always add some cocoa powder for that extra oomph, though.

     Electric mixers! I’m all about manual labor and traditionalism, but sometimes electric mixers just give you a texture you can’t get any other way that I’ve found.

     The art of moderate-sized stuffed cookies. You have to stick a hole in the first half of dough and stick a little bit of ss butter in the center then top it off with just enough dough, so the cookies don’t get massive. These came out just right. But I’ll warn you now: it will quickly become very challenging to manipulate the dough, oily fingers or not. I had to wash my hands and restart multiple times. I guess one disadvantage of the melted chocolate is the extra stickiness of the dough when you’re working with it.

     So shadows. Much sunny. Wow. So much chocolate – but not too much! Dig right in.

Sunflower Seed Butter-Stuffed Double Chocolate Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

6 tablespoons butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 large eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
Peanut Butter Cookie Filling
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions
In a large bowl, melt butter, bittersweet chocolate and 1 cup of chocolate chips with double boiler setup or in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted completely. Set aside and let cool.
In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add sugar and eggs, beating until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract and melted chocolate/butter, beating for another 1-2 minutes until combined. Stir in the dry ingredients with a large spatula until thoroughly dispersed. Fold in remaining chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer while you make the peanut butter cookies. Let the dough sit in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.

Place sunflower seed butter and sugar into a medium bowl, mix to combine.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the cookie dough from the freezer. and scoop out about a teaspoon of dough placing them about 2 inches apart. Using oiled hands, make a small well in the dough. Now take about 1/2 teaspoon of the sunflower seed butter and place it in the well. Scoop another teaspoon of the cookie dough and flatten into a disk. Place this over the filled well, pinching the cookie dough layers together. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Consume rapidly.

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