A lot of people miss peanut butter on Paleo as it is verboten. I was never that attached to peanut butter, but for my husband, it's like human catnip. We could go to the specialty food store and get sunbutter which is a very yummy close comparison, but why pay so much when you can make it at home for... PEANUTS! (Not literally peanuts - you know what I mean.) I searched around a lot online researching the best way to do this and everyone has their own thoughts on the matter. From what I researched, I developed the below recipe which worked like a charm.
- 1 16oz bag raw sunflower seeds (do not get the ones that are already roasted as they will not have enough moisture and result in a mealy sunbutter)
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp palm sugar (or other sweetener of your choice)
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tsp olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and coat with a light spray of oil. Spread out your sunflower seeds evenly and spray with a light mist of oil. (I buy extra virgin olive oil spray in the grocery store. You could forget the oil completely as sunflower seeds will release their own, but I like to give them a little help. You could also toast them in a pan on the stove if you can't use your oven.)
2. Put the pan in the oven, checking the level of "toastiness" every few minutes. The seeds should be LIGHTLY toasted, not brown. If your pan wasn't big enough to create a single layer of seeds, be sure to mix them up partway through cooking so the seeds on the top don't cook faster than those on the bottom. Mix as often as necessary until they look uniformly toasted. (As you can see in the photos below, some of my seeds that came in contact with the metal sides of the baking sheet became very brown. I just left those few overdone ones out and snacked on them as I made the sunbutter.)
3. Combine the toasted sunflower seeds in a blender with the sea salt and palm sugar. If you have a high power blender like a VitaMix that comes with a tamper (looks like a plunger) then process on highest variable speed and use the plunger to push the mixture down into the blades. If you do not have a tamper, you may have to stop the blender periodically to push the mixture down with a wood spoon or spatula. You could also use a food processor on high, but this may take a bit longer. At first, the mixture may look mealy, but keep chugging along and processing it until it begins to look creamier and get a light sheen. Sunflower seeds release their own oils over time - so have patience! You could be processing the mixture up to 10 minutes straight. At about the 5 minute mark, it should definitely start looking creamy, though. At this point, you could add in your teaspoon of honey.
4. Once the mixture gets fairly creamy, add in your olive oil one teaspoon at a time, processing in between. You can lower the speed of your blender just enough so that it will blend the oil in without need to be pushed towards the blades. The result should be a nice creamy sunbutter.
5. Your mixture may be hot, so spoon it into a mason jar and let it cool off to the side. Once cooled, seal tightly and store in the refrigerator. The mixture may separate if left in the fridge for too long, so if that happens, just give it a good stir before serving.