For years, I’ve seen those peanut butter cup cookie recipes circulating online around holiday time. You know the ones. The peanut butter cookies with a miniature peanut butter cup pressed in the middle. I usually just pass them by, but this year, I thought, why not make them dairy-free with homemade chocolate candy cups? Better yet, I can even make them top allergen free for everyone to enjoy! And thus, these sun butter cup brownies were born.
This post is sponsored by Enjoy Life Foods, makers of the most awesome top allergen free treats. Yes, that opinion is my own. So is the recipe for these stellar, if I do say so myself, vegan & gluten-free sun butter cup brownies.
But wait, I thought we were talking about peanut butter cookies? In the comments of one of those traditional peanut butter cup cookies, someone mentioned that they are even better made with brownie batter. I happened to have an Enjoy Life Gluten-Free & Allergy-Friendly Brownie Mix on hand, so it seemed worth a try.
Of course, I couldn’t stick to just one version of these Sun Butter Cup Brownies. On my first test batch, I made what I thought was enough of the sun butter cups to fill all of the brownie batter cups. But little did I know how many treats just one box of the brownie mix would make!
I actually ran out of enough chocolate to make another batch of the sun butter cups. Chocolate shortages happen a lot around here, as we have a bit of a dairy-free chocolate chip snacking habit. But rather than run to the store, I thought I would test out straight-up sun butter middles. I sprinkled the tops with the few mini chips that I had left, and another delicious dessert was created. The latter version is a bit easier and faster, should you be in a time crunch, too.
Special Diet Notes: Sun Butter Cup Brownies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, vegetarian, and top food allergy-friendly.
No peanut allergies? If peanuts aren’t a concern for your dessert needs, you can use peanut butter instead of sunflower seed butter.
- ½ cup salted sunflower seed butter
- ¼ to ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1¼ cups dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips, if making chocolate cups (I use Enjoy Life)
- 1 teaspoon oil, if making chocolate cups
- 1 box brownie mix (I used Enjoy Life Brownie Mix)
- Brownie mix prep ingredients (3/4 cup water + 2 tablespoons oil for Enjoy Life)
- Mini dairy-free chocolate chips or coarse sea salt, for garnish
- In a small bowl, stir together the sunflower seed butter and powdered sugar, to taste. Place in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the other ingredients.
- If making the chocolate cups, melt the chocolate with the oil. Fill candy cup silicone molds about ⅓ full with the melted chocolate. Brush the chocolate up the sides with a small pastry brush, a toothpick, or whatever works for you.
- Remove the seed butter from the refrigerator. Pinch off small amounts and roughly shape into pieces that are about ½-inch in diameter. Drop one into each chocolate cup.
- Top the chocolate cups with more chocolate to cover and surround the seed butter. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to quickly set up.
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and grease or line mini muffin tins. You can make in batches, if needed.
- Prepare the brownie mix as directed to make the batter.
- Fill the prepared mini muffin cups about ⅓ to ½ full with the brownie batter.
- If making the chocolate cup brownie version, press a chilled chocolate cup into the middle of each brownie batter cup. It should be mostly surrounded by the batter. Garnish with coarse sea salt.
- If making the sun butter-in-the-middle brownie version, simply pinch off pieces of the chilled sun butter mixture and roll into balls about ½-inch or slightly larger in diameter. Press a ball into the middle of each brownie cup. It should be mostly surrounded by the batter, but I like it peaking out. Garnish with mini chocolate chips.
- Bake for about 13 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes in the pans before removing to a plate to cool completely. If you want the middles to be firm, you can chill the brownies in the refrigerator.