I've recently done some vegan cooking, but I've never done any gluten-free and allergy-free baking so I was not surprised to find some ingredients in this cookbook that I'd never heard of. I am always up for a challenge and I am so glad I took this one! I now love coconut nectar, which I did not find to taste like coconut at all. It has the same consistency as honey or molasses, is mildly sweet, but has some extra depth to it. I used Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend (gluten-free) but there is a recipe in Sweet Debbie's cookbook so you can make your own if you want. I made this recipe twice. The first time I omitted the guar gum just to see what would happen. Guar gum is expensive and I was trying to save a little money. Sweet Debbie also has a recipe for sunflower seed butter and chocolate chips in her book. I bought both at the grocery store and my chocolate chips were dairy, nut, and soy free and they were mighty tasty!
So which version did we enjoy more, with guar gum or without? They were both a good treat for someone with food limitations who wants a sweet treat. We enjoyed the version with the guar gum a little more, though. My guess is if you are cooking from this book, having guar gum on hand is a necessity anyway and I recommend taking Sweet Debbie's advice on ingredients. She's done all of the research and the trial and error. Why not follow her lead?
As I read through the cookbook I found that two things stood out. Love for her son (he's the reason she started on this allergy-free, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free, and nut-free journey) and some delicious sounding recipes. The next time I have a house guest with any of these culinary restrictions, I will most certainly cook from this book!
Sunflower Buttercup Brownies
Adapted from Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats
48 mini paper baking cups
2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
2 1/2 teaspoons sodium-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup coconut nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/8 teaspoon stevia powder (I omitted)
1 cup sunflower seed butter
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Add the paper cups to your mini muffin baking pan(s). Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) together. Whisk the wet ingredients (oil, applesauce, nectar, vanilla) together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Add the sunflower seed butter and stir until combined and then do the same with 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Fill the paper cups 2/3 of the way full with brownie batter and top with a sprinkle of chocolate chips. Bake for 18 minutes. Cool completely. Enjoy!
P.S. I started a group on Facebook called "Leftovers!" for my neighbors. Because of all of the recipe developing my husband and I are involved in, we often cannot eat all of what we cook and I don't like to waste food! I had some leftover Sunflower Buttercup Brownies and also had some leftover dough, so I posted them in the group. This was actually the first post in the group and I wondered, would I have any takers? Well, I did! And not only did my neighbor come and pick up these treats and the dough in seconds flat, but I ended up getting texts about how great they are! The following day I got texts with photos of the newly baked treats with the dough I sent. And accolades galore! Honestly, it might have been just as much fun for me to hear about the leftovers as it was to cook in the first place! So if you are wondering if these treats are delicious - my neighbor says, absolutely!