Sunbutter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Healthy Snacks for Kids)

I was an exceptionally picky eater as a child. It’s hard to imagine now, but I just didn’t really like food much as a kid, and it was a huge battle of the wills between me and my mother to get me to eat. I often sat at the dinner table long after everyone else had finished, not being allowed to get up until I’d eaten more of my meal. Since I was a tiny child as it was, it worried my mum to see me turn up my nose at all this food. I grew out of it, of course, and as a parent myself now, I know firsthand the worry she faced having such a picky eater. My older two are pretty good eaters and for a while there, I thought I’d dodged a bullet. Then my third child came along(unexpectedly)and doing her best to make me grey before my time. Given that she, too, is a tiny child, I want to feed her and fatten her up, but she does her best to thwart my efforts.

One thing I can guarantee she will eat, any time of day or night, is peanut butter. To see her down half a peanut butter sandwich always feels like a small victory. But she started daycare this fall, and like many schools in the area, this one is nut-free. So peanut butter sandwiches are OUT for school lunch. On the advice of some other parents, I purchased a jar of Sunbutter, hoping to sneak this one past her. I tasted it myself and I found it rather intense, but like something I could get used to. So I made her a test sandwich with some Sunbutter and some jam and crossed my fingers. She took one bite and pushed the plate away. And my other two kids didn’t seem too enthusiastic either. They were all too used to the sweet/salty taste of peanut butter to be fooled by a sunflower seed imitation.

I stared at the jar of Sunbutter in dismay. What the heck was I going to do with a barely-touched jar of the stuff, which didn’t come cheap, if I couldn’t get my kids to eat it in sandwiches? Inspiration struck, as it often does, when I was poking around Foodgawker and saw a recipe for healthy, whole wheat Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Faux Martha. She had, in turn, adapted the recipe from 101 Cookbooks. I thought that perhaps I could get my kids used to the distinct taste of Sunbutter if they first tried in a sweet cookie.

I knew from the start that I wasn’t going to follow the recipe as written at all. First, I was going to half the recipe, because if it didn’t work out, I didn’t want a whole lot of inedible cookies floating around. I also wanted these to be a school-friendly snack, so I added an egg to keep it from being too crumbly. I love crumbly cookies, but they don’t survive the lunchbox very well. I decided to use honey in place of the maple syrup, but I wanted to cut back on that too (honey, after all, is still a form of sugar), so I subbed in some Stevia in the Raw. And I just couldn’t stomach the idea of olive oil, so I went with melted coconut oil.

The Results: Victory! A healthy cookie that all three of my kids loved. This is no small feat, let me tell you. I tried a bit, and I have to say, if no one told me, I wouldn’t know they weren’t peanut butter cookies. They look the same, certainly, and had great flavour that was reminiscent of peanut butter, but that had it’s own sort of sunflower thing going on. I did notice that after the first two days, they became a bit drier, although they still tasted great. I suspect this is a result of the low sugar content, since sugar attracts moisture. So I would keep the batches no bigger than what I have in the recipe, unless you are sure they will get eaten within two days.

Want to hear something funny, though? Turns out my little one WILL eat Sunbutter sandwiches at school. I packed one in her lunch the first day and they told me she ate it right up. I guess when push comes to shove and that’s all you’re getting for lunch, you eat it. Or when your mother isn’t hovering over you, hoping you will eat something!

Sunbutter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Sunbutter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Stevia in the Raw*
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the Sunbutter, honey and Stevia in the Raw* until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until combined. Stir in the flour mixture and then add the coconut oil and beat or stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Form by hand into 1-inch diameter balls, then flatten by pressing down with palm of hand. Use a fork to create a hatched pattern. Bake 8 to 11 minutes, or until slightly puffed and lightly browned.

Let cool on pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 18 cookies.

*Stevia in the Raw is a stevia product that measures cup for cup like sugar. If you are using powdered or liquid stevia, you would use significantly less (more like 1/8 tsp). Sweeten to taste.

Linked these to the Lunchbox Project on Family Fresh Cooking!

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  1. thelittleloaf says:

    If going nut free results in cookies that look and sound this good, then I'm all for it! Great post :-)

  2. Boulder Locavore says:

    Love the new blog look! These sound great and perfect for this time of year (somehow cookies never sound good to me when it's hot). I'm sure your kids must love them and you are certainly elevating the fate of your untouched Sunbutter! Great invention (as always)! Toni

  3. I need a jar of sunbutter right now. I really want to try this recipe :)

  4. Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow says:

    Yum! Those look delicious! I have never had sunbutter but I want to try it!

  5. Pretend Chef says:

    I need to give sunbutter a try for my son since his "school" is peanut-free. I think these cookies might be a nice treat for his lunch. These cookies look so delicious and the fact that they are kid friendly is a big plus. Great recipe.

  6. I've been away for a while, so let me first compliment you on your new blog design — it's great :)
    Now about your cookies: it's amazing how you've managed to completely transform the recipe + make your kids love cookies made out of an ingredient they didn't enjoy. Proves it must be really tasty!

  7. Cookin' Canuck says:

    I have yet to try Sunbutter, but keep seeing so many great recipes with it. It sounds as though these were a hit with your kids!

  8. I love sunbutter as an alternative to nut butter. Just bought a jar of the crunchy version. Great healthy snack for school or after school!

  9. I was a tiny, picky, slow eater as a child too. If I had kids, I'm sure I'd be getting pay-back, big time!!!
    These look like you could fool anybody with them. I'm now completely craving peanut butter cookies!

  10. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says:

    These look amazing! Bookmarked

  11. Jill Colonna says:

    Crumbs, Carolyn. What creativity! Coconut oil? You're brilliant. They look so tempting.

  12. RavieNomNoms says:

    I was SUCH a picky eater as a child, but peanut butter was definitely ALWAYS a safe bet with me. These are perfect Carloyn!!

  13. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Hi Carolyn! I'm behind in reading again, but when I scrolled down, there are I found so many delicious sweets. I wish I was your child! Seriously… everyday heaven. I come home from school so happily thinking what I can eat for snack time… I'm so busy just preparing everyday dinner and I'm impressed that you manage to make delicious sweets on top of all the chores you have to do. I'm off to read other posts I missed now.

  14. Never seen sunbutter, will have to be on the lookout. I find it hard to picture you picky, you try so many things now. Kids are funny like that though. These sure do look good.

  15. Angie's Recipes says:

    Never saw or had sunbutter before…those cookies look exactly like peanut butter chocolate delicious!

  16. Island Vittles says:

    What better way to use up an unwanted jar of nut butter than to bake it into cookies! Delicious….Theresa

  17. What great cookies! Anytime you can please everyone is a great day!

  18. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says:

    I love these! I'd make them for myself:-)

  19. Sunbutter? Hmmm. I love that you used stevia. Do these taste like peanut butter cookies?

  20. First off, I love the new look!! Super cute! And these cookies have stolen my heart! I love that they're a different take on the classic PB cookie

  21. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says:

    I love sunflower seed butter! It does have a different taste but it's a great alternative when you have to go nut free. Glad to hear the cookies were a success.

  22. blackbookkitchendiaries says:

    this looks wonderful!! i need to keep an eye out for sunbutter… thank you for sharing this.

  23. Oh, yummy!!! Such beautiful cookies…and they sound delicious, too :)

  24. eatthecookie says:

    sunbutter also works perfectly and predictably in flourless cookies, in the style of flourless peanut butter cookies!!! if you have more sunbutter to get rid of and want a low carb/grain free version, follow this recipe and sub the sunbutter in place of peanut butter!


  25. Cassie @ Bake Your Day says:

    I was sort of picky as a child too but I don't think I would have turned these down. I love that they are healthy because I would probably eat 10 in on sitting!

  26. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says:

    Success with the sunbutter! I actually really like it so I know I would like these!

  27. resistantnikki says:

    These look delicious! So funny to see this post…I started making my 2 year old sunbutter sandwiches when we ran out of PB. I wasn't sure if she would eat them, but she didn't even seem to notice! Actually, she's been requesting more PB sandwiches than usual come to think of it! These cookies might be one of our afternoon activities this week. Thanks for sharing!

  28. Happy When Not Hungry says:

    These cookies look fantastic!!! Love the sunbutter. Yum!

  29. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having says:

    Great idea! I was a super picky eater too. The list of things I wouldn't eat was quite extensive, but I'm sure if my mom had thought to sneak k=healthy foods into cookies I would have turned around sooner.

  30. How fantastic! I love the background to these (and your patience and perseverence in finding something to cater to your youngest :) ) and the short ingredients list. I'm not a big fan of sunflower seed butter alone, but I think I'd love it in this form.

  31. What a great cookie recipe! I have a tree nut allergy, so often turn to sunflower seeds for an alternative. I haven't tried sunbutter yet, but definitely will now.

  32. says:

    we love sunbutter over here…. but most importantly… i made carmelitas tonight!… they are cooling right now!… can't wait!

  33. I never tried sunflower butter but really want to. Must be delicious in cookies!

  34. Parsley Sage says:

    Well done! Clever use of that sunbutter and they look absolutely scrumptious :)

    Sneaky mommy! I guess you can use the rest of the butter in the lunch sammiches :) Buzzed

  35. I haven't seen this Sunbutter before, but I'll definitely be on the lookout for it – sounds interesting! And these cookies look like a winner to me – so glad the kids liked them =)

  36. Priscilla-ShesCookin says:

    You're a smart cookie ;) Acceptance comes much easier in the shape of a cookie and studded with chocolate chips! And, it's always interesting to hear what your kids will eat when they're at school or friends' houses.

  37. I always loved food, any food except cooked onions, you know floating in the soups and stews..
    This look fantastic, awesome recipe and amazing photos..Love your post!

  38. You're such a creative mom! If kids don't eat something as it is, change its form and try again. Nice method! I have no idea about sunbutter as we don't have it here, but I can imagine how these cookies are yummy with your additions.

  39. I was a picky kid, my oldest son was picky, and his daughter is a picky eater,so I know a lot of about that. My oldest son is a grown adult know, but he lived on peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. thank goodness peanut allergies weren't as prevalent as they are now, or I would be looking for theSsunbutter to make these wonderful cookies.

  40. scratch-made wife says:

    These cookies look delicious! I'm a sucker for p.b., you know, but I have been thinking about looking into buying nut butters. (Actually, I just want one that is low-carb!) But I've never heard of sunbutter. Interesting.

  41. I'm very new to Sunbutter but I think I'd like it. These cookies are fantabulous!

  42. As a recent owner of a jar of sunbutter, I was excited to see your recipe. Q thanks you.

  43. When they're hungry, kids will eat anything! LOL. I've never heard of Sunbutter spread myself, but I think it's brilliant that you've managed to sneak it into these delectable cookies! You should be Mom of the Year just for that.

  44. Lulu's Sweet Secrets says:

    Gorgeous photos! And the cookies look divine too! Yum :)

  45. Lea @ Healthy Coconut says:

    I do the same when I am experimenting in the kitchen, I'll do half batch just in case it doesn't workout.

    I found this post thru Foodbuzz Top9, congrats! Great pictures of the cookies, make me want to reach out for one.

  46. Heather @ BloomEveryday says:

    These look simply delish — and pretty healthy compared to a normal cookie. I need to give these a try!

  47. Those look heavenly!

  48. Kim - Liv Life says:

    Our school started using Sunbutter in place of peanut butter a few years back and I have to say that most kids really didn't like it. I did try it once, and as a huge PB fan, it just wasn't right. But I can just imagine how good it was in the cookie! Love the use of the coconut oil too, I'm really glad I discovered that this year.
    As for the picky eaters.. I was one and both of my kids were too. I have always wondered if it was me that made them picky or if they were just born that way? My teenage son has really grown out of it and my daughter is getting better, but they are still fairly limited in preferences. I do remember the PB sandwich victory though!!

  49. Christine's Pantry says:

    Congrats on Foodbuzz top 9!

  50. oooooooo, THAT'S what sun butter is! :D I actually made some last month with my new crazy powerful blender I bought! LOL! These cookies sound AMAZING! I'm in! And CONGRATS on making Top 9!!!

  51. We love Sunbutter! My 3 y/o son and I are both allergic to peanuts, and he is allergic to all nuts, so we eat it frequently. It's not that easy to find around here!

  52. Sam Henderson says:

    Those look wonderful! I've just stumbled upon your site for the first time. I see I have a lot of catching up to do.

  53. Katharine says:

    Just made these for my kids, and made them gluten free by subbing Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour for the WW flour. Also added 1/2 tsp xantham gum. And subbed 70% dark chocolate chips b/c that’s what I had. The dough was SO thick I was worried. But My 3 kids are each scarfing down their second cookie, which I take as a sign of approval! They look a smidge dry to me, so we’ll see how they store. I’ll stick them in the freezer and pop them into lunches this week. I wonder if there is anything I could do to make them slightly more moist? Thanks for the nice little afternoon treat for my kids!!

  54. Like the idea of sunbutter but whole wheat flour is not gluten free…

    • I realize that whole wheat flour is not gluten free. I never suggested that it was, this is a recipe for my kids. When something is gluten free, I note it in the title.

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