Great nut-free alternative to peanut butter!
3 cups (about 400g) raw shelled sunflower seeds
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, softened
Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt or other fine sea salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, seeded or 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla bean powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 325F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread on the seeds in an even layer. Roast for 9-12 minutes, until some of the seeds are lightly golden. Cool the seeds for a few minutes before using.
Meanwhile, add the sugar into a high speed blender and grind until a powder forms. Leave the lid on and set aside so the “dust” can settle.
Spoon the toasted seeds into a heavy-duty food processor. (I like to spoon the seeds into my measuring cup and transfer them that way. When I have about 1/2 cup of seeds left on the pan I will use the parchment paper to “funnel” the remaining seeds into the processor.)
Process the seeds for a few minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl every minute. It will look dry and powdery at this stage. (If you have a chute, you can leave it open to allow steam to escape.)
Add the coconut oil and process for another couple minutes. The butter will clump together into a large ball and it'll start rattling around for a bit. Then, the ball will eventually break down into butter again. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed.
Now, add in the ground sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Process for another few minutes until smooth. Now, slowly stream in the vanilla while processing. Add in the vanilla bean seeds, if using. You can add a touch more oil if you need to thin out the butter (but do not add water or liquid sweetener because it will seize). I like to let the machine run at least another 2 minutes to get the sunflower seed butter super smooth. I process for a total of about 8 minutes, but timing will vary based on your food processor and preference. Some machines may need to run for upwards of 15 minutes to get the seed butter smooth enough.
Transfer the sunflower seed butter into an air-tight container. Chill in the fridge. Here it'll keep for about 2 months and it will remain “spreadable” even when chilled.
1) Do not skip toasting the seeds; it’s necessary for the seeds to break down in the processor.
2) The sweetener is added because sunflower seed butter is bitter; feel free to adjust the sweetener to your own taste.
3) If for some reason your seeds aren’t breaking down after the specified times, add a touch more coconut oil, a teaspoon at a time. Some machines just might need to run a bit longer though, so be patient!