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Sunflower Butter Muffins

A healthy treat

Friends are always befuddled by my sister and my own dietary restrictions — I am dairy-free and my sister can’t tolerate gluten. We’ve become accustomed to the dumbfounded looks and people exclaiming, “Then what do you eat?” My other favorite response to learning about my dairy allergy is, “Do you eat meat?” — the direct correlation between dairy and meat isn’t clear to me. But to answer the question, yes I eat meat. I also eat any and all vegetables, a variety of fruits, nuts, grains like quinoa, rice, buckwheat, and an abundance of  other delectables.

From cooking and baking within these dietary guidelines, I’ve found that my creativity in the kitchen has grown tenfold — I can equate this to dancing and how we are often our most creative when we are given limitations to work around. I’ve also discovered, especially here in Denver, that I’m not alone in my quest for delicious and healthy gluten-free, dairy-free cuisine. There is a plethora of restaurants in the area that boast a menu of allergy friendly options and I’ve meet a handful of individuals who are happy to share their alternative food epiphanies and recipes. So, now I’d like to pay it forward and share a recipe that recently came across my gluten and dairy-free radar.

This recipe, which lives on, will satisfy your sweet tooth without sending you to the dentist. I use sunflower butter — one of my newest culinary obsessions because it has more protein and less fat than nut butters, but still has that nutty bite. However, feel free to experiment — so long as your allergies permit it — with peanut, almond, cashew, hazelnut, or walnut butter.

Gluten & dairy-free sunflower butter muffins

Grab these items…
– 1/2 c. sunflower butter or nut butter of your choice
– 2 tbsp. Earth Balance spread at room temp
– 2/3 c. light brown sugar
– 2 eggs plus 1 egg white (add an extra egg white for high altitudes)
– 1 tsp. gluten-free vanilla
– 1 c. all-purpose gluten-free flour (I use Bod’s Red Mill)
– 1 tsp. gluten-free baking powder (use 1/2 tsp. for high altitudes)
– 4 tbsp. almond milk
– 1/2 c. carob chips (I get these at Whole Foods)
Sunflower Butter Muffins

Make some magic…
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a regular muffin tin with muffin papers (the batter makes about a dozen muffins).
2. Beat sunflower butter, Earth Balance spread, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl with the paddle attachment of your mixer rather than the whisk. Beat in eggs, mixing well with each new egg. Then beat in vanilla.
3. Mix together dry ingredients then add to wet mixture. Mix well. Add in almond milk. Finally, stir in carob chips — don’t use your electric mixer for this. Spoon batter into muffin tins, 1/2 to 2/3 full.
4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (for high altitudes lean towards less time so as not to dry out your muffins), until tops are puffed and lightly browned and springy to touch. Let cool in pan 5 minutes before removing.
5. Enjoy with a dab of Earth Balance spread!

Hungry yet?

Hungry yet?

Written by Stephanie Wolf

Stephanie Wolf

An Atlanta native, Stephanie Wolf has performed professionally with the Minnesota Ballet, James Sewell Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, and Wonderbound (formerly Ballet Nouveau Colorado). She has a BA in Liberal Studies from St. Mary’s College of California. Her writing has been published in national and regional media outlets, including Dance Informa, Indianapolis Star, and the Twin Cities Daily Planet. Currently, Stephanie lives in Denver, where she is a public radio producer and reporter. She loves bluegrass, cooking, Netflix, and owls.