Sunflower Mini-Cups

by Valerie on December 12, 2011 · 23 comments

Sunflower Mini Cups 015

We are closing in on the last week of Gluten-Free Holiday, created by Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and hosted this week by the lovely Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake.  This week the theme is dessert and my submission is these Sunflower Mini-Cups. I was looking back on my chocolate recipes and resolutions for the year, and remembered one of them had been to make chocolate.  I have done plenty of chocolate recipes using raw cacao and coconut oil, but have yet to break out my lovely cocoa butter. For this week’s recipe, I really wanted to avoid the coconut oil and nuts in general, since I know I have nut-free and/or coconut-free readers, but after a little reading on tempering etc, I decided to postpone breaking out the cocoa butter and instead bring out this shortcut:

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I am a huge fan of this 100% unsweetened chocolate.  From everything I have read, Scharffen Berger does not use grains anywhere in their facility, so while not gluten-free certified, that provides me with quite a bit of comfort.  Also, I really do not do well with unsweetened chocolates that may have traces of dairy, as I get way too easily congested from even trace amounts of dairy, so I love love love Scharffen Berger 100% unsweetened for that reason.

These mini-cups are completely nut-free and quite decadent.  I have included notes below on substitutions and my preferred method, i.e. instead of measuring out half a tablespoon of chocolate mixture at a time per mini-cup, I just eye-ball it.  It seemed to work well.  Enjoy.

Sunflower Mini-Cups (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Nut-Free, Soy-Free if using chocolate that contains no soy lecithin) – Makes 16 mini-cups

I highly recommend using silicon mini-cup molds for this recipe as they work like a charm.  While I do give both a freezer and fridge option, I recommend the freezer option as it makes the sunflower seeds crunchy and like rice crispies in chocolate.   If you use regular Sunbutter (which contains both salt and sugar), dial back the agave by about half a tablespoon and consider skipping the sea salt topping.  These cups are made with Sunbutter to be nut-free, but if nuts and/or peanuts are not an issue for you, feel free to substitute almond butter or other nut butter of your choice.  If you avoid agave, experiment with other liquid sweeteners, but remember that agave tends to be the more liquid of liquid sweeteners in terms of altering texture, so you may want to up the liquid sweetener by about half a tablespoon if using another kind.  Finally,  the yield of 16 mini-cups is give or take 1-2 cups – based on my math, this should have been 14 cups, but I had enough for two additional ones. 

Set out silicon mini cups on a large plate so they are ready to have chocolate poured into them.  Melt chocolate (either using a double-boiler method or microwaving for 30 seconds at a time, alternating with stirring) until liquid.  I recommend the microwave approach using a pyrex measuring cup, if available, as it makes pouring far easier.  Once chocolate is melted completely, stir in sunflower butter and agave. You should have about 1 1/4 cups of the chocolate mixture. Fill each silicon mini cup with about half a tablespoon of the chocolate mixture.  Rather than measuring it out as it could get tedious and messy, I recommend just filling the bottom of each mini cup with an even but thin layer (this is where the pyrex measuring cup with a spout comes in very handy).  The goal is to use about half of the chocolate mixture.  Evenly distribute the sunflower seeds among the mini cups, placing the seeds atop the melted chocolate mixture (I used a scant half teaspoon per cup). Distribute remaining chocolate among the mini-cups (about a half tablespoon of chocolate mixture per cup), topping the sunflower seeds until completely covered  Transfer plate containing mini cups to fridge or freezer (fridge yields a fudgier texture but the freezer makes the sunflower seeds more crunchy, like rice crispies).  After ten minutes, sprinkle a few grains of flaky sea salt atop each mini-cup. Return to fridge or freezer for at least a half hour.

In addition to Gluten-Free Holiday, I am also submitting this recipe to the following events:

  • Diets, Desserts and Dogs’ Wellness Weekend – we all know how much I love my dark chocolate and its antioxidants, but this recipe is also a good excuse to consume some sunflower seeds, which have their own benefits.  Incidentally, Ricki is hosting today’s stop of the Home for the Holidays event, organized by Shirley over at Gluten Free Easily. Ricki has some great giveaways today, and she also made chocolate.  Chocolate is a huge part of my holiday memories, so I can really relate to Ricki’s post.
  • Flip Cookbook’s Sugar Free Sunday
  • Simply Sugar- and Gluten-Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays
  • Gluten-Free Wednesday over at the Gluten-Free Homemaker – Linda’s theme this month is chocolate, so these are perfect.
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    { 21 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Ricki December 12, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Wow. Those are just so pretty! I’ve read so much about Scharffen Berger but sadly we can’t get it here in Toronto (will have to pick some up if I get back to the US next summer!). Sounds like a great recipe, and so simple to make. I bet they taste amazing. Thanks for submitting to WW this week! :)


    2 Valerie December 20, 2011 at 3:37 am

    You know, I suspect it is similar to Cocoa Camino in flavor from what I have read.


    3 Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free December 12, 2011 at 2:56 am

    These look delicious, Valerie! I agree – Scharffen Berger makes great chocolate. Your sunflower mini-cups would be a perfect addition to a tin of Christmas cookies.

    Thanks for your loyal support of A Gluten-Free Holiday this year!



    4 Valerie December 20, 2011 at 3:37 am

    I love GF Holiday – hope you host it again next year :)


    5 Victoria (District Chocoholic) December 12, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I, of course, love the salt on top. Beautiful AND tasty.


    6 Valerie December 20, 2011 at 3:37 am

    Thank you Victoria :)


    7 Vicky December 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Oh! These look absolutely moreish! I’ve never seen Sunflower Seed butter in the UK. Just pumpkin seed butter. I can get a wonderful unsweetened chocolate from Hotel Chocolat so now I’m going in search of the Sunbutter!


    8 Valerie December 20, 2011 at 3:37 am

    Almond butter would work well for this too I bet.


    9 cheryl December 12, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    these look yummy! Can’t wait to try them. I’m a big scharffenberger fan too.


    10 Valerie December 20, 2011 at 3:37 am

    It’s good stuff!


    11 Maggie December 13, 2011 at 1:15 am

    Yay! These look awesome Valerie. Can’t wait until Thursday! Thanks so much.


    12 Valerie December 20, 2011 at 3:38 am

    Thanks for stopping by Maggie :)


    13 Gena December 13, 2011 at 4:10 am

    Heavenly! As soon as I heard about these, I knew they’d be good, and they look fantastic indeed.


    14 Valerie December 20, 2011 at 3:38 am

    Heavenly indeed :)


    15 Alta December 16, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    These look lovely. I am a big fan of Scharffen Berger. It’s delish.


    16 Valerie December 20, 2011 at 3:38 am

    I love it.


    17 Hannah December 17, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Utterly fabulous! I banned myself from buying Sunbutter on account of my incredible ability to eat entire jars of the stuff in two days with a spoon, but I think if I bought it purely for this recipe, I could trust myself to resist the lure of the straight-up-spoon for… oh, at least three days. 😛


    18 Valerie December 20, 2011 at 3:38 am

    Thank you Hannah. And yes, I have the spoon-Sunbutter issue myself. I understand :)


    19 Shirley @ gfe December 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Finally made it over to see these babies, Valerie … pretty and totally divine, I’m sure! I love the unsweetened Scharffen Berger chocolate, too. It’s what I used in my Dark Chocolate Walnut Bliss Bars. Need to make those during the holidays. So many great recipes, so little time. At least we can enjoy vicariously through each other until things settle down again. 😉 Thanks so much for this simple, but fabulous recipe!



    20 Valerie December 20, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Shirley, I must make those Dark Chocolate Walnut Bliss Bars Again. They were great with buckwheat flour.


    21 bitt December 25, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    these are so cute!


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