It’s no secret I am nuts for nuts. Peanuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, you name it…I eat them. Clearly nuts make a pretty frequent appearance in my recipes in their various forms. But I realize that not everyone is as fortunate to be able to or has the desire to eat nuts. Having a nut allergy must suck not only for the obvious reason that you can’t eat them, but also because obnoxious people like me eat them and talk about them incessantly. I don’t blame you for hating me!
Many people with nut allergies and intolerances opt to replace recipes with nuts with their closely related cousin, seeds. I am also a big lover of seeds believe it or not. In fact pumpkin seed butter may be up there as my favourite nut/seed butter (behind PB & pistachio butter of course). I’ll be honest, I was not blown away by sunflower butter the first time I tried it. Note to self, don’t try making it with salted sunflower seeds. It will taste well…salty. I did however start experimenting and found I came to enjoy it with a bit of added cinnamon and vanilla extract. If you are interested in making your own I usually add 2 cups of sunflower seeds, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of vanilla extract to a food processor and within 5 mins have sunflower seed butter. For this recipe feel free to make your own or use store-bought. If you are making your own, no need to add the additional cinnamon and vanilla extract the recipe calls for.
Since I was in an experimenting mood I thought I would make another interesting substitution. Instead of using cocoa as I normally would I replaced it with unsweetened carob powder. I tried carob chips (similar to chocolate chips) for the first time a few years back in Israel. I immediately loved them. They taste like chocolate with a bit more of an earthy, almost caramel flavour. Carob is part of the legume family that comes from the carob tree. In addition to its awesome taste, carob packs a serious nutritional punch:
-Good source of fibre
-Contains many B vitamins, vitamin A, and many minerals including calcium, magnesium and potassium
-compared to chocolate it is 1/3 less calories and 17x less fat
-It does not contain caffeine
-In chip or bar form less sugar is added because carob is naturally sweeter