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Family Central: SunButter

One of the scariest moments of my life was the day we found out our older child had a severe allergy to peanuts. Actually, the doctor told me that my son was allergic to all nuts, dairy, wheat, eggs and shellfish.

I was stunned and paralyzed with fear. In one sentence, the doctor eliminated everything from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to ice cream and omelets. And I will never forget the doctor’s words to me: “As his mother, you will be the one to protect him. You are responsible for making sure he does not eat any of these foods or he could easily die of anaphylactic shock. He will not get a second chance.”

I was a young mother and paralyzed with fear. Thankfully, another mother of a child with food allergies took me under her wing and helped me navigate the minefields of food labels, eating out and trying to find great alternatives that let kids with food allergies enjoy the favorite foods of childhood.

One of the best alternatives to peanut butter I have found is SunButter, a peanut-free, tree nut-free and gluten-free alternative to peanut butter. Made from roasted sunflower seeds, it smells and tastes similar to peanut butter, but it actually just might have a depth of flavor you will grow to love more than the original. And according to the folks at SunButter, their product has one-third less saturated fat and 27 percent of a day’s recommended allowance of vitamin E in one serving. They also have a much higher iron and fiber content than peanut butter and are a great source of protein.

One of the first things I asked was, “Does SunButter bake exactly like peanut butter? Can they be used interchangeably?” The only thing I have found is that you need to cut back by 50 percent on the amount of baking powder and/or baking soda in your recipe. If it calls for 1 teaspoon of baking powder, use ½ teaspoon. Otherwise, a chemical reaction occurs and although the taste is not affected, the cookies will turn much darker than expected.

Here’s one of my family’s favorite SunButter recipes, SunButter Delight Pie. And the SunButter website ( has many more great ideas for using SunButter instead of peanut butter. In fact, it’s all we eat in our home, not just to protect our son but the rest of us think SunButter tastes much better!

SunButter Delight Pie
1 9-inch prepared pie crust

Chocolate Layer:
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbs butter
2 Tbs water
1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup SunButter®
1 (12 oz) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed

1/2 cup SunButter®
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 tsp corn syrup

Additional whipped topping and sunflower kernels

Prick pie crust over bottom and sides. Bake at 400° F for 8-10 minutes. For chocolate layer, melt chips and butter with water over low heat. Stir until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar. Spread over cooled pie crust. For filling, combine butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan. Cook until melted, and then stir in SunButter® until smooth. In a large bowl, beat mixture and whipped topping together until well blended. Spoon mixture into chocolate lined pie crust. Refrigerate at least 6 hours. For glaze, melt SunButter®, chips and syrup. Spread or drizzle over pie and refrigerate at least 2 hours. To serve, top each wedge with additional whipped topping and sprinkle with sunflower kernel on each slice.

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Posted in: Family Central, Kids