Recipe: Sunflower Cookies


Sunflower Cookies.

Heidi Ehalt/"The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen"

A recipe from Sean Sherman, author of "The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen," winner of the 2018 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Best American Cookbook.

Sherman says, "Our signature sweet, sunflower cookies are delicious any time of day and are inspired by the sunflower cakes Native warriors relied on for strength and endurance.

"Sunflower is packed with magnesium, B vitamins, and protein – all extremely beneficial to girls and women."

Sunflower Cookies
(Waȟčázi Tȟáŋka Sú Aǧúyabskuyela)
Makes about 1 dozen cookies

1 cup Sunny Butter (see below)
¼ cup maple syrup or honey to taste
Pinch salt
¼ cup cornmeal


University of Minnesota Press

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, stir together the Sunny Butter, maple syrup and salt, adding a little warm water if the dough is too stiff.

Using a tablespoon, scoop up balls of the mixture and roll in the cornmeal. Place on a cookie sheet and flatten slightly with your hand.

Bake the cookies until just firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and set on a rack to cool.

Sunny Butter
(Waȟčázi Tȟáŋka Sú Iglí)
Makes about 5 cups

"We use this delicious spread in our cookies and granola, and as the base for several spreads. Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator for about a month."

4 cups unsalted toasted sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons smoked salt or coarse salt to taste
2 cups honey or maple syrup


Working in batches, put 1 cup of the sunflower seeds into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and grind. Add ½ teaspoon salt and ½ cup of the honey or maple syrup and process until a ball forms. Remove and repeat.

Chef's Note: Use these same proportions to make walnut, hazelnut, and other nut butters.

Recipe from "The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen" by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley. © 2017 Ghost Dancer, LLC. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the University of Minnesota Press. Available via Amazon.

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For more recipes from "Sunday Morning" visit the 2018 "Food Issue" Recipe Index