Happy Wednesday! This is the first of many cookbook sneak previews. As we get closer to our big day, May 7, I will do my best to give you a taste of what’s to come in Homemade Snacks and Staples.

book cover

When I have told people about the cookbook, many have asked for my favorite recipe in the book. With over 270 recipes, you can imagine it’s difficult to pick a favorite. For me, it’s easier to think in terms of sections, so I will try sharing with you some favorites from each of the sections:

– Make Your Own Staples

– Get a Little Saucy

– Dress Up Your Salad

– Super Spreads

– Spice it Up

– Morning Munchies

– Salads and Slaws

– Hand-to-Mouth Snacks

– Just Dip It

– Marvelous Mini Meals

– Fruity Treats

– A Clean Cookie Jar

– Cakes and Cupcakes

– Fantastic Frozen Desserts

– Beverages for All Ages

We are going to start with one my favorites from the Super Spreads section: sunflower seed butter. My peanut butter and almond-tella recipes are amazing, but I have a soft spot for the sunflower seed version.

I first met sunflower seed butter years ago when I first moved back to Madison. I was staying with some friends who had both sunflower seed butter and peanut butter. Of course, I had to do a taste test. I spread one half of bagel with peanut butter and one half with sunflower seed butter. I was struck with the rich and nutty taste of the sunflower seed butter. This is a powerful spread! A little goes a long way and feels so indulgent!

This is a Goldilocks and the Three Bears type of recipe because if you don’t toast the seeds enough, it’s still good, but it looks a little like brains, and if you toast them too much, you get coffee grinds. I thought it would be a great post for the blog to give you some visuals that I can’t give you in the book.

Things You Should Not do When Toasting Sunflower Seeds

On my (second to) last attempt, I admit I was a little cocky and thought I could multi-task as I toasted the seeds. Big mistake.

burnt sunflower seed butter

Don’t be tempted to think you can do it all and don’t try to do any (or all) of these tasks while toasting your seeds:

– Call your best friend to get the low down on her weekend

– Decide that you really need to sit down and drag over a large stool to perch on as you stir the seeds

– After you pull the stool over, decide that this would be a great pic for Twitter

– Answer call waiting and chat with carpet installation guy who needs to reschedule, run and check your calendar to pencil him in

– Try to figure out how to get back to your best friend. D*!& smart phone!

– Wait, you didn’t get that Twitter pic yet
twitter pic of toasting seeds

– Call best friend back and laugh off when she warns you about burning the seeds, this is YOUR recipe after all

– Maybe you should get another shot for the blog
burnt sunflower seeds1

– Hmmm….that looks a little dark…..

 

Learn from my mistakes. Be a little zen with this recipe: when you’re toasting the seeds, be in the moment. Phone calls, twitter pictures, all of that can wait.

You are looking for this type of color in your pan:

good toasted sunflower seeds1

You can see some of the seeds are turning dark brown, but dark brown does not dominate the pan. This is key.

Toasted Sunflower Seed Butter
Yields 2
Toasted, sweet, this is a great substitute for peanut butter or any other nut butters. Sunflower seeds are packed with Vitamin E, so not only is it rich and nutty, but healthy too!

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Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
40 min

Total Time
45 min

Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
40 min

Total Time
45 min

Ingredients
2 cups raw sunflower seeds
[1/8] teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
3-4 tablespoons grapeseed, canola, or any neutral-tasting oil

Instructions
In a large frying pan over medium heat, toast 1 cup of sunflower seeds, stirring constantly. This can take 10-15 minutes. The seeds will turn a golden brown. When some of the seeds turn dark brown, that is your sign to pull them off the heat.
Pour seeds into food processor fitted with a chopping blade and let cool. Repeat with second cup of seeds. This batch will toast faster than the first. Once it is toasted, pour into food processor and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
Add honey and salt. Process for 5-10 minutes until seeds are finely ground and starting to stick to the sides of processor.
Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Remove the stopper from the processor and run the food processor. Slowly pour in the oil until a paste forms and the mixture begins to clump. If you would like a smoother consistency, scrape down the sides, continue running processor, and add more oil.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-3 weeks.

Notes
The toasting time really does vary. Keep an eye on them and keep stirring! The second batch always goes faster, and trust me, the rich toasty taste makes all the work worthwhile!

Badger Girl Learns to Cook by Kimberly Aime http://learntocookbadgergirl.com/

Recipe Review:

Rich, nutty, decadent. Who knew a humble sunflower seed could incite such passion?

sunflower seed butter with apples and raisins

This is a great spread for sandwiches, toasted bread, but I have a soft spot for eating it with apples and raisins.

sunflower seed butter4

The crispness of the apples plays off the richness of the sunflower seed butter. The big, juicy raisins compliment the sweetness from the honey. It brings together three contrasting textures and tastes that build off of each other. In short, it’s a perfect snack.

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Have you ever made your own seed or nut butter?

 

 

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