Secret Recipe Club and Sunbutter Surprises

This is my first time joining in the fun as part of the Secret Recipe Club, a fabulous blogging event kind of like Secret Santa, whereby each blogger is secretly assigned to blog about a recipe from another blogger, and all posts are unveiled at exactly the same time. I have no idea (yet) who is blogging about a recipe from my blog, and Dana at Food For Thought has no idea that I’ve been searching through all her recipes, trying to pick just one to try out for the grand reveal.

I was greatly intrigued by her incredible collection of internationally inspired recipes, and almost chose several of them. In the end, though, I settled on a sweet treat that presented a challenge to me: Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies. The whole idea of the cookie fascinated me, as the only ingredients are peanut butter, sugar, cinnamon and egg, topped with a Hershey’s kiss.

The challenging part came in the form of our dietary restrictions around here, due to allergies on the part of the little people. I wanted to make this cookie safe enough for both me and my son, which meant that I had to make it without:

  • peanut butter
  • egg
  • Hershey’s kisses

(Side note: I don’t think Hershey knows how to make chocolate without milk… even their dark chocolate products all have milk in them! Pffbbtt! Not that it really matters because I almost never buy chocolate candy anyway, but still.)

So exactly how does one make a recipe where 3 out of the 5 ingredients must be eliminated or substituted?

Turns out it was pretty easy.

I actually made these three times, each time slightly different, and each time delicious, but the best was the first attempt, and the recipe I give you below. I substituted:

  • sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter
  • flax gel for the egg
  • chocolate chips (dairy-free) for the Hershey’s kisses.

And instead of topping the cookie with the chocolate, I tucked a few chocolate chips inside it, taking them from Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies to Sunbutter Surprises.

It really is rather amazing that this conglomeration of ingredients actually forms a roll-able dough that bakes up perfectly! If you’re skeptical, try it for yourself. Then you’ll be eating cookie after cookie after cookie just to make sure they really did turn out as well as you thought after the first one. Not that I’m speaking from experience, of course. I would never eat that many cookies.

You can, of course, use peanut butter instead of the sunflower seed butter, and a real egg instead of the flax gel. If you want, you can even top with Hershey’s kisses instead of rolling chocolate chips inside.

However, I would not recommend toying with the sugar amount or attempting to use any other kind of chocolate on the inside. When I reduced the sugar even by just 1/4 cup, the consistency was too crumbly and the resulting cookie didn’t hold together quite as well. Which is a bummer, because that’s a lot of sugar, so these cookies are definitely relegated to special treat status. Also, I was out of chocolate chips the second time I wanted to try these, so I attempted to make my own… big mistake. The chocolate chips themselves were moderately successful, but they melted all over the place and seeped out of the cookie, making a big mess and a not very yummy final result.

One other thing: I had the most success with Trader Joe’s sunflower seed butter, which is unfortunate, because it has added sugar. I also tried these with the Maranatha brand, which is more natural and has no sugar, but it was for some reason too dry. I tried adding a little coconut oil to make up for that, but the consistency still didn’t come out right.

For a rolled cookie, these come together very QUICKly, aided, I am sure, by the minimal number of ingredients.

Despite the unorthodox ingredient list, these really are very EASY.

Not CHEAP by any stretch, though, considering the cost of sunflower seed butter. Regular peanut butter is a different story, as you can find it on sale with coupons for $1 or less. I suppose I could reduce the cost by making my own  sunflower seed butter, but I don’t think I have a powerful enough grinder/food processor/blender.

It’s not really HEALTHY, either, because of the sugar. Check more blogs here.