Monday, December 10, 2012

Chocolate Thumbprint Sunflower Seed Butter Shortbread Cookies (vegan, gluten and nut-free)

Well if you haven't noticed, there hasn't been a lot of recipe posting here in the last two months. I have been baking of another kind. Instead of baking cookies, breads and biscuits in my oven, I have been working hard on another "bun in my oven" and expecting another baby around early May. Hence my absence. I put myself on a little blog sabbatical and have been taking one day at a time to get through those rough, rough early weeks of pregnancy. And to be honest, the forced rest has been good for me.

And making a baby is hard work, I tell you!
But after getting myself past the first trimester and seeing all of the holiday food festivities from Thanksgiving and now stories and pictures of Christmas goodies and treats I had to get my hands busy baking again. Tis' the season!
So these sweet, salty and simple treats are no great feat in the kitchen. They are just a simple knock-off of the famous peanut butter and chocolate kiss cookies that everyone adores and curses at the same time because of how addicting they are. I must say I don't know why it has taken me almost 6 years of eating gluten-free and more recently nut-free to make these amazing cookies in a new way. Melt-in-your-mouth DELICIOUS!
To me, when these shortbread's are baking in the oven it smells like a perfect holiday baking extravaganza. Lots of weakening of the will power with these babies. But, they are healthier and also delicious after all, so possibly worth the try of one or two (maybe three or four if you're nice). I hope you are looking forward to and not dreading baking this holiday. Try something new and start simple.
Chocolate Thumbrint Sunflower Seed Butter 
Shortbread Cookie Recipe 
(gluten-free, vegan and nut-free)
1 cup of freshly ground gluten-free oat flour*
1/2 cup of white rice flour
3/4 cup of freshly ground buckwheat flour*
1/2 cup of organic coconut sugar (I use Madhava)
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1 TB of pure vanilla
2-3 TB of non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious Coconut)
3/4 cup of softened organic coconut oil
1/2 cup of sunflower seed butter (I used Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter, but you could used regular SunButter brand or any other favorite nut butter if you prefer)

1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips (about 4 ounces)
1-2 TB of coconut oil for thinning

*I grind my own flour, so I used Bob's Red Mill gluten-free rolled oats and ground the oats in a high powered blender (magic bullet, vitamix, ect) I did the same thing with raw buckwheat groats to get the buckwheat flour. The freshly ground flour always makes the best baking flour for texture and taste. I usually measure just a bit less of the oats or groats that I need and grind them to make the full amount of flour I need. If I make too much you can always use it in another recipe soon. 

In a large mixing bowl, mix together your dry ingredients first...then add the oil, butter and vanilla and milk. Mix well with a fork or to be honest, your hands and fingers do the job best. Knead the lump of cookie dough in your hands for a few minutes until you get a perfectly mixed ball of cookie dough. Roll out a TB-sized ball of dough and place the dough balls on a cookie sheet. Then use a teaspoon or your thumb and press firmly in the middle of the cookie on the sheet before baking. Put the cookies in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes. This recipe should make about 3 dozen cookies.

When the cookies are pulled from the oven if the print in the middle of the cookie has lost it's hole while baking, then use a small spoon again right after pulled from the oven to make the hole more pronounced. You must do this right away while still soft and you must be VERY careful because they cookies are very fragile until completely cool.  

When the cookies are completely cool, you can melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (dairy-free) with a TB or so of coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds. After the quick nuke, stir very quickly with a small metal spoon. Then with a clean small teaspoon, pour in the hot chocolate into the center of the cookies. Let cool and firm up, you can do this quickly by adding your cookie sheet to the fridge or freezer. 

If you prefer, you can also make these cookies like the traditional peanut butter cookie with the criss-cross fork mark and then just dip the cooled cookie in hot chocolate as well. I decided to do one batch of those to see how I liked the outcome. I like both in their own way, but the thumbprints are much "cleaner" cookies and can be easily packed and shared for holiday parties as well. 
But don't these look yummy as well.
Perfect flavor combo, and so simple too!
I hope this season finds you full. 

Full of thanks, joy and anticipation. 

Here are a few of my other favorite Christmas cookie recipes 
that I will be making once AGAIN this year!!!

ENJOY and happy baking!


  1. Congratulations on your soon to be addition! That definitely deserves some time off of blogging! These cookies look fantastic--will be keeping them in mind this holiday season!

  2. Congratulations!! Hope you are giving yourself time to rest in the busy lead up to christmas. Thanks for the yummy recipe :)

  3. Looks delicious Stephanie!! I can't wait to try them!!

  4. I was thinking about you just the other day and wondered if I'd somehow missed receiving your posts - what exciting news! Congrats and much joy on the perfect gift to celebrate in this season of wonder :) Cookies look pretty great too!

  5. I just knew it! You came to mind about a week ago and I was hoping that there was a perfectly wonderful reason why I hadn't seen a post recently :) Congrats! Cookies look great and were worth the wait :)

  6. Thank you all for your kind words and comments!!! :) We are very excited in this season of anticipation. Much love to you all!

  7. Such an exciting this number what for you? And yes, baby-making IS hard least it was for me...every pregnancy was a challenge I felt miserable! I figured that was the trade off for having three extra large babies naturally and actually enjoying the process....I will be trying these cookies...look so buttery and perfect! I am also curious about those other cookies you to explore!

  8. Stephanie,
    I've been curious about your lack of posts, too. PERFECT reason! Congratulations.
    Of course, since I blog for SunButter, I so appreciate this recipe and as a fellow baker, I am eager to try it for our holiday creations. Thanks for your continued inspiration. Take GOOD care.