“I shall take the heart. For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world. "
-L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
"Can we eat them now?!" they both cry, grabbing my arms and jumping in excitement as we walk up the drive with the daily mail. "Pleeease!" The air is cool and damp, and a shower of leaves floats gently to the ground as a fat, black squirrel, startled by the commotion, scampers through the branches above our heads.
"I want the milk chocolate one!"
"No, I want the milk chocolate!"
The friendly banter ensues, as it always does whenever chocolate is involved, until I assure them both that there are plenty to go around.
They both feign an exaggerated sigh of relief. What they're so excited about are the Sun Cups that just arrived from Seth Ellis Chocolatier, a local Colorado based chocolate company. Happiness is a box of chocolate in the mailbox!
We discovered Sun Cups a few years back and fell in love. Though they look like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, they don't even compare. These are filled with all-natural sunflower butter and coated in either luscious, dark or sweet, milk chocolate. I adore the dark chocolate Sun Cups - that rich, burnt umber chocolate with a smooth, salty filling of sunbutter. My kids love the milk chocolate ones. Additionally, they come in tingly mint and gooey caramel varieties. Not only are they produced in a dedicated nut-free and gluten-free facility, but they are also free of GMOs and are crafted with only the finest, Rainforest Alliance Certified chocolate. You can taste the quality in each bite!
With the arrival of our Sun Cups, the anticipation of Halloween grows even more tangible. You can feel it tingling like a veil of electricity it in the cool fall air. It buzzes just out of view with the rustle of the falling leaves. The magic has firmly captured my children's imaginations. As they fantasize over costumes - Connor will be an alien, no, a ghoul, no, an army soldier; Eve is firmly set on Dorothy (the shoes sealed the deal) - I'm putting together a stash of safe candy to swap for all those Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses and Snickers bars that will come home in their buckets. We all know how very frightening Halloween can be for our nut-allergic children (and their parents); there's nothing like have a large supply of peanut-free candy to put my mind at ease. I'm so happy that more and more companies are making, delicious, high-quality, peanut-free treats! Sun Cups are one of our very favourites!
And, if you need another reason to buy a few extra packages this year, let me introduce you to my Sun Cup Swirl Brownies. Dense in rich chocolate, a creamy Sunbutter swirl, and bits of chewy Sun Cups folded in - this is a decadent, post-Halloween treat for when the sugar withdrawals begin to kick in. When you have so much candy sitting around, it only makes sense to bake with it.
Sun Cups are available in many gourmet food markets across the US. Check their store locator to find a location near you. They're also available online at SunCups.com, where the discount code FEARFREE will save you 35% off the 1-cup packages until Halloween!
Sun Cup Swirl Brownies
for the brownies:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup nut-free Cocoa powder (I use Hershey's or Rodelle)
1 tsp instant coffee granules
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup all-purpose
4 Sun Cups (either dark or milk chocolate) chopped, divided
for the sunbutter swirl:
1/4 cup sunbutter (room temp.)
1 1/2 tsp flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
Preheat your oven to 325 F (165 C). Butter an 8 by 8 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper (leave a bit over-hanging so the brownies can be easily removed from the pan). Butter and lightly flour the parchment paper and set aside.
In a small sauce pan heat the butter over med-low heat until just melted. Whisk in the cocoa powder and the coffee. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl beat the eggs with the sugar. Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Slowly whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture. Add the flour and stir until combined. Fold in half of the chopped Sun Cups. Spread the batter evenly into the pan.
In a small bowl mix the sunbutter, flour and sugar until smooth. (Make sure your sunbutter is at room temperature or warmer, or it won't mix and swirl into the batter evenly.) Drop dollops of the sunbutter mixture randomly over the batter. With a butter knife gently swirl the sunbutter into the chocolate using up and down and back and forth motions. Bake for 34 - 36 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick, and cool completely.
When ready to serve, cut into squares and sprinkle the remaining chopped Sun Cups over top.