when life gives you lemons

All I wanted was to make some sunflower seed butter.

After a month without any, some homemade sunflower seed butter on a crisp, bright Pink Lady apple sounded absolutely lovely. My intentions were completely innocuous, I promise.

Alas, I should have known that it was impossible, on my first day back in the kitchen, to get through without concocting something new.

I blame Whole Foods.

You see, I usually buy roasted sunflower seeds from Trader Joe’s to make sunflower seed butter, but Whole Foods was much nearer today. They had some pre-roasted sunflower seeds that looked okay, so I naively took them home and popped them in the food processor. Upon taste-testing the butter, however, it became evident that there was a problem. Apparently the seeds had not been roasted very well. They weren’t very brown, which should have been the first indicator of their under-roastedness, but I trusted Whole Foods. It was a mistake. The inadequately roasted seeds made a pale, gummy sunflower seed butter that was nearly inedible.

It seemed wasteful to throw it all out though.

Trying to be resourceful, I added some water in the hopes of thinning out the gummy mess, to no avail. It got gummier. Pea protein powder soaks up liquid like a sponge, so that seemed like a good addition next. Sadly, it made matters worse. The mixture got hard and oil started to ooze out. Clearly, sunflower seed butter was not going to be made.

Still reluctant to throw out all those sunflower seeds, I changed my plan.

Cocoa powder was conveniently at the front of the pantry. That, followed by a little honey, some hemp milk, vanilla, melted chocolate and ground coffee all went into the bowl. I was immediately rewarded with a thick, cakelike batter. Before any new ideas cropped up, I added baking soda, a splash of pomegranate vinegar, and threw it all into a cake pan and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.  

It ended up being pretty good for a mistake. Or not bad, really.

Although I’d been soaking cashews to make a cashew cream ice cream base, it seemed reasonable to sacrifice a few cashews for a cream to go with the cake. A cup of cashews, a cup of water, 1 tsp of ground coffee, a tablespoon of xylitol, and a splash of vanilla, all whirled together in the blender made a wonderful, light espresso cream.

Overall, it was a satisfying dessert, despite a lack of textural integrity.

Not that I’ll be making it again. I’d rather have sunflower seed butter.

Mistakes happen. But it’s up to us to make the best of them.

It’s good to be home.

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