How to make a homemade nut free healthy chocolate spread for your kids
With Peanut allergy on the rise, many schools, day-cares, and kindergartens stipulate a nut free policy. I can completely see the reason behind this, but nuts are such a wonderful vehicle for providing protein and healthy fats for kids. The solution is seeds!
Seeds essentially provide all the same fabulous nutrition as nuts, but with one added benefit. They are not nuts!
Sunflower Seed Butter
Sunflower seed butter is, therefore, a fantastic alternative to peanut butter for kids with allergies or for packing lunches and snacks when going to a nut-free venue.
But in New Zealand at least, sunflower butter or ‘Sunbutter” as it is sometimes referred, is tricky to track down. So I decided to make my own. This was where this recipe for a chocolate spread initiated.
To be completely honest, sunflower seed butter was a little bit tricky. In that roasting the sunflower seeds to absolute perfection is the key. Too much roasting and the flavour of the product is too strong, too little roasting and the seeds don’t release their oils well so you end up with a terrible texture.
Hence to make the recipe more fail safe, if I happened to over roast the sunflower seeds I came up with this chocolate version. The cocoa hides a number of mistakes! I have taught my kids that nothing is burnt, just caramelised!
It has been kid approved by my 3 kidlets
- 2 Cups sunflower seeds (hulled, raw)
- 1/4 Cup light flavoured oil
- 1 Tbsp Cocoa
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- A grind of salt, just a touch it brings out the flavours
- Roast your sunflower seeds. I spread baking paper on a baking tray (one with low sides). I spread the sunflower seeds out evenly and cook them in an oven at 180 degrees. Set the timer for 3 mins, stir then roast for a further 3 mins. (Much longer and you take them too far)
- Let the seeds cool
- Blitz the seeds in a food processor. First they will become like sand and then it will start to form a ball. It could take some time, be patient.
- Add oil, you can add this at either the finely ground sand stage or ball stage
- Keep blitzing until it becomes a smooth paste. The mix may seem too liquid at this point, but the cocoa in the next step will thicken it up
- Add cocoa, maple syrup, vanilla and salt
- Taste test and adjust flavourings if needed.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature
Oil: I have tested, rice bran and coconut oil but any should be light flavoured oil should be fine. Extra virgin olive oil will be too strong in flavour
Food Processor: My Magimix got the job done really quickly. I tried it with my Nutribullet, as I know not everyone has a food processor. It did work, but I had to do a lot of starting and stopping and scraping down the sides along the way. You will have to be very very very patient if you are using a Nutribullet.
- Serve as you would peanut butter
- My kids have enjoyed it on toast with sliced banana
- Spread on slices of apple
- As a filling in pancakes