Hi, I'm Kim

Hi, I’m Kim Christensen, M.Om., Dipl.OM, L.Ac. I’m a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Constellation Acupuncture & Healing Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Back before going to school and becoming a healthcare practitioner, Affairs of Living was my creative outlet while healing from chronic health issues. These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.

Want to stay up to date? Check out my new website www.constellationacu.com.

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Sunflower Butter Cookies (gluten free, vegan, nut free, low carb)

I'm back!

My technological delay is over. While my stolen, new computer is still MIA, I now have my old computer back, newly repaired and faster than ever. So, I am ready and rarin' to be back in the blogosphere! I have some recipe catch up work to do, starting with this awesome sunflower butter coconut flour cookie recipe I made a couple weeks back.

I desperately wanted to make cookies a couple weekends ago. I was going to the first rehearsal for the orchestra I'm playing in for the annual Barebones Halloween show here in Minneapolis. This Halloween show is spectacular - it is a big, radical theater production that takes place down in Hidden Falls Regional Park, put on through the Bedlam Theater. The performance is outside in the park at night, always involves crazy life-size puppets and awesome music, and everyone attending sits on long rows of hay bales. After seeing last year's performance, I knew I had to play in the orchestra this year.

So, of course, meant I wanted to bring food to our first rehearsal, and I wanted it to be something good. What I really wanted was the peanut butter cookies from my childhood. I wanted the cookies to be soft and dense and rich. But I wanted them low carb. And I wanted them low in sugar. And most importantly, I wanted them peanut free. So, I searched around online, and found a great recipe for agave-sweetened, low-carb peanut butter cookies on the blog Cookies and Candids: Vegan Baking. Switch out the peanut butter with Sunbutter, change a couple other things, and - voila! - amazing cookies! These were great, everyone loved them. They are super moist and dense, but not too heavy, and taste just like peanut butter cookies. They are wildly high in fiber, pretty high in protein, and surprisingly low carb. Hurrah!

The two bummer things about these cookies?
  1. These are expensive cookies. Coconut flour and Sunbutter are on the pricy side. But, they make a ton.
  2. They turned totally moldy in about 24 hours. I left them out unrefrigerated, and between the summer heat and the cookies' moist texture, what appeared to me mold formed before I knew it and I had to throw away a good portion of the batch. Thankfully, they were still okay to take to the rehearsal, but shortly thereafter, they were kind of green (update on 3/7/10 - SEE FOLLOW UP AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST FOR AN EXPLANATION, it wasn't mold at all, just clorophyll!). So keep these refrigerated until ready to serve (let warm to room temperature though before serving). Then freeze whatever doesn't get eaten right away. I did put some in the freezer, and they thawed well.

SUNFLOWER BUTTER COOKIES (gluten free, nut free, vegan, low carb)
yields around 45 cookies

1 1/3 c coconut flour
3/4 c quinoa flour
1 c tapioca flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c applesauce
1 c Sunbutter (or other nut/seed butter of choice)
10 prunes
1 + 1/2 c water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4-1/2 c agave nectar
2 T softened coconut oil
handful toasted whole sunflower seeds
handful whole flax seeds

Preheat oven to 350* and line baking sheets with parchment.

Place prunes in a saucepan or microwaveable bowl, and add 1 c water. Heat until prunes have softened, then remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.  Blend prunes with soaking water until totally smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, combine prune puree, applesauce, sunbutter, vanilla, agave, and coconut oil, and mix until smooth.  Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, adding additional 1/2 c of warm water as needed. When almost completely mixed, add sunflower seeds and flax seeds, and stir a few more times.

Form into a 1 1/2 ball, place on baking sheet, then flatten slightly with a fork. These cookies will not spread.
Bake at 350º for about 15 minutes, or until firm and golden. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. STORE IN THE REFRIGERATOR AND FREEZE ANY LEFTOVERS.

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Reader Comments (7)

Welcome back--yay! So glad you got your computer back. :D

The cookies sound amazing! I've had the same problem re: mold, so I ALWAYS refrigerate my baking now, even if it's meant to be eaten at room temp--just take it out 20 minutes before serving. And of course, as you say, freezing works well. :)

September 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

Thanks Ricki. Sadly, I only have back the old computer, not the new stolen one, unfortunately. THat one is still MIA. But I have the repaired old one back, which is better than nothing!

September 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Wow! I've got to try this, but need to substitute the coconut flour with something else. Of course, I can't have wheat or rice. Do you think sorghum would have good results?

September 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRick

Hi Rick!
Sure, give sorghum a try, I think it should work! Sorghum, quinoa, and tapioca starch make a good blend - I've use it before for other recipes. I think, however, that you will not need as much liquid/moisture in the recipe if using sorghum flour, because coconut flour is REALLY absorbent and requires a lot of moisture So, I'd recommend reducing the quantity of water. I think the extra 1/2 c could be omitted all together, and the 1 c of water that the prunes soak in and get blended with could probably be reduced, start with 3/4 c. Maybe omit a few of the prunes too. Mix it all togehter, and see how the texture is, and add more flour if it seems like it is too moist/wet. This dough should be pretty thick and pasty. Let me know how it goes, and good luck!

September 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim

hello Kim,

love your blog!!! I have been searching for gluten-free, sugar-free, Candida-friendly, vegan recipes forever! YOU ARE GOD SENT! ;)
i've tried a bunch of your baking recipes already and love them . my only problem is that i have two kids, who, fortunately, are not very picky and eat a lot of the healthy stuff i make, but certain flavours just don't fly with them. My little daughter does not like quinoa, no matter how i disguise it. you use it a lot, any suggestions on what is a good replacement in your recipes?


September 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hi katerina!
Thanks for the kind words, I'm so glad you like the blog and the recipes you find here! I can't imagine trying to cook for a whole family with restrictions, so I'm glad you find useful things here.

As for quinoa replacements...
Instead of whole grain quinoa, try using whole grain millet.

Instead of quinoa flour, try using amaranth flour, or a blend of amaranth and millet/other GF flour. Amaranth is sticky like quinoa flour, so it is a good substitute, but it can get kind of gummy and has a strong flavor if used alone or in very large quantities, so I like to blend it with other flours.

Instead of quinoa flakes, try using brown rice flakes (Eden Organics makes them). They are more dense and thick, and more like oats, but might work as a substitute. If you can find them where you live, I hear millet flakes work well too - I haven't been able to find a U.S. distributor, but bloggers in the UK seem to use them a lot!

Good luck!

October 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim

OH wow- am so glad to find this post! Though we've been Gluten Free for years, due to the Lyme's, I've been experimenting with low carb baking, most recently in the realm of holiday cookies (as it's December!) and have been going great guns with almond meal. Suddenly, I realize I am supposed to be bringing 2 dozen cookies to my son's Winter Band Concert. TOMORROW! And they are a "NUT FREE ZONE"! (Does that mean they'll kick ME out, I wonder?) ;)

Soooo... after panicked Googling, OF COURSE ended up back here! What a great idea- both the seed butters and Coconut (which I do use but because of it's propensity to absorb water, don't add in great quantities with reckless abandon while experimenting. Any more, that is!)

Am glad too, to see that your cute cookies didn't mold after all!

Thanks, dear- and Happy Holidays to you!


December 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo