Maple-Sunbutter Candy

Ali Segersten Oct 30, 2011 26 comments

This is a super simple recipe for making your own refined sugar-free, nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free candy. It has only two ingredients plus a little sea salt. It kind of reminds me of a Tootsie Roll but without all of the cell-damaging hydrogenated oils, genetically engineered corn syrup, artificial flavors, and sugar!

I am not sure how we have gotten so offtrack when it comes to celebrating holidays. Holidays have become completely commercialized. Halloween is now celebrated by giving pounds of chemical and sugar laden "food" to children wrapped up in plastic packages that end up in a landfill. Our children don't need one more thing damaging their growing bodies. But what do you do? Keep your children from a tradition that has been taking place in our country since the 1930's or let them be part of the fun?

Our tradition on Halloween began when our first daughter was three years old, which was her first year trick-or-treating. We take our children out early, all dressed up in costumes (this year purchased at our local consignment store). They trick-or-treat for about an hour. Then come home and get to choose one piece of candy to eat, usually a lollipop. Then the rest gets put under their bed for the Candy Gnome. The Candy Gnome lives off of candy alone and is very happy to find it there waiting for him. So in return he gives the children each a special treat (a healthy treat)! This is usually a pomegranate, fruit leather, and an herbal tea bag for each child. Our children are thrilled when they wake up on November 1st. Seriously. Though last year the Candy Gnome didn't get much to eat because they happily gave most of it away to other trick-or-treaters later in the evening!


About the Author

Ali Segersten

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. She is a Functional Nutritionist, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Alissa is the founder and owner of Nourishing Meals®.

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hi there! i cant wait to try this recipe!!!! is it possible to use the sunbutter candies to make caramel apples?!

I can't wait to try out powdered coconut sugar! Your Maple Sunbutter Candy looks delicious too! Thanks

Incredible! You are so creative. I am going to try to make this on the weekend. Thank you.

I just wanted to clarify something you said about Grade B syrup being less refined - maybe you meant in relation to other sweeteners but it is no less or more refined than other grades of maple syrup. My family has been making syrup in nh for generations. All pure maple syrup is pure unadulterated sap from the map,e tree that is boiled until it reaches a syrup stage. Early sap under ideal conditions has a lower sugar concentration an boils to a finer lighter gold syrup often called fancy grade - or liquid gold by some;-) it has a delightful delicate flavor that let's the maple shine through without being too sweet. Darker grade simply come from sap with higher concentrations of sugar usually later in the season, that boil to a thicker more concentrated syrup that works well in baking as it has enough sugar content to hold up where the lighter grades can be too subtle in baked goods. All syrup labeled pure maple syrup is boiled from sap without any other form of processing and the antioxidants are the same, just the sugar content changes.

Just made this candy and it is awesome! I used homemade almond butter instead of sunbutter and it reminds me of "Bit O'Honey" candy, which was one of my favorites as a child.

What a neat idea. I tried making this a little too close to when the kids were coming and botched it all up initially. Really, like others have commented, it's important to wait until the mixture is thick in the pan. I didn't think it would ever get thick, so I took it off the heat and let it cool a bit and nothing happened. Then I put it in the fridge--still nothing. I briefly contemplated the candy apple suggestion someone else had and decided to put it on the heat again instead. Then I burned the bottom a bit--yarg! Finally it started to get really thick. I took it off to let it cool, but cooling to a reasonable temperature reasonably fast in a Le Creuset cast iron pot was not happening, so I stuck it in the fridge again while we had dinner. After dinner, it was finally pliable enough to work with. Phew! It was messy and sticky, but I managed to make some good little candies. Unfortunately, we hunkered in our house with the lights off during the prime hours of the trick-or-treaters (trying to get the various candy projects to work!), so we still have lots left! I will definitely make these again now that I know how to do it--but I'll start the project in the morning--long before the kids are expected to arrive! :-) Thanks!

Morri, I used peanut butter and it worked ok.

It actually came out too soft (never got really pliable until I put it in the fridge), but I'm 90% sure that's because I only cooked it for maybe 6 minutes because I was paranoid about burning. Wait until it's good and thick.

It tastes good, but I used a peanut butter that I don't like (overprocessed) and I think it might be better with one of the brands that separates... or perhaps almond butter.

Oh this is heavenly. I'm definitely going to try this out. And, I know this is a nut-free recipe, could I use a nut butter for it?

amazing! i just finished making these. they taste great! thanks for sharing!

Wow! I wish I would have seen this earlier! I would have made them for our Halloween party! So easy and delicious!

Awesome! These look delicious!

So wonderful, Ali! I had to share it on my gfe Facebook page yesterday. If I had a little one still, I'd be making it. Will have to try it at one of our support group meetings to the kids in our group can enjoy it. :-)


this is soo good!!! it's pretty you oil your hands or something to roll it out?!! also--I added organic cocoa powder to it to make it chocolate--is that in yours?! it looks brown?! anyways it turned out FABULOUS with the chocolate peanutbutter taste.

So after 15 min it was still looking doubtful I could roll it and my hubby had an idea to use it for caramel I dipped one of our green apples in it and it's drying up nicely--I'm sure it will taste great!. after about 20 min it was finally cool enough to cooll (with stickyness though)- perhaps I didn't boil it long enough...either way it is soo good..thank you--it definately fufilled my miss of tootsierolls!

These candies remind me of something we make that we call "Freezer cookies." We use raw cashew butter though, and the ratio is 2 cups nut butter to 1 cup maple syrup. Still add the sea salt, and 1 tsp of pure vanilla. These cookies are raw though, so instead of cooking them you whirl them in your food processor, fitted with the "S" blade just until they are creamy and smooth. Then you "plop" the dough by teaspoon fulls onto freezer or parchment paper fitted over a cookie tray, preferably with a lip on it, and place them in the freezer. No need to cover them, just leave them in the freezer that way, and then you can snitch them easily!! They never last long enough in our house to get freezer burn. ;0) I think they taste like carmel, although I am not really sure I actually know what carmel tastes like!

These homemade Halloween candies would also be fun to put in our Christmas gift baskets we make for people! Thank you!!


Delicious and so easy! I made some healthy toffee yesterday (by accident when making something else) but this looks so much better! I love the candy all wrapped up too :)I wish we really celebrated Halloween here in Australia, I would have a great excuse to try these out!

Thanks so much, Evaline!

My son is on a pesky sugar- and gluten-free diet, so candy isn't something he gets much of. This looks easy and not horrifically expensive, so I think I'd like to try it! Thanks for posting.

I just followed the link from facebook and immediately hopped up to make a small half-batch with my daughter. I'm licking the spoon as it cools right now. Yum! I can't wait to see the finished product!

Ally, I know you are probably insanely busy, but have you ever considered writing a book for those raising kids?? I would buy it in a heartbeat and I'm not even planning on them for a few more years. I have already thought about collecting all your posts about children for when I do, because they're always so insightful in that "gosh I didn't even think of that" way. Your way of parenting is really impressive to me. :)

And Kelly, you can use the recipe calculator at sparkpeople:

Just make sure to correctly put in the number of servings.

Is it possible to get the nutritional information for your recipes? My grand daughter has diabetes so we need that info. I emailed you and your husband and have not heard back.

I absolutely love this idea. While I enjoy watching the kids participate in Halloween, I too really dislike how candy rules the day. I think we might try the candy fairy idea!

These look so yummy and so easy to make! I love that there are only three ingredients. Now I know what to do with the jar of sunbutter that's been collecting dust in my pantry.

My preference is typically recipes with no more than 5 ingredients - this one certainly fits that bill ! I agree with you that we as a society have turned holidays into commercialized machines. It's sad that for most they are about buying too much, covering lawns with plastic chachkas and eating prepackaged food - all wrapped in things that are tossed into landfill sites. Pardon the rant :) Love that you are keeping it simple. Thanks for sharing this great recipe! Claudine

Really great idea....I can;t wait to try the recipe! I was going to try the candy fairy this year...same concept as the gnome! I too am frustrated by the 'tradtion' of feeding our kids loads of horrible foods. I think it is most frustrating that my aversion seems extreme to so many people...the eye rolls I get! You should have seen when I tried to get our school principal to consider using something instead of candy as a reward in our school! Needless to say, I am THAT mom, but I will be if it means change...eventually.

Thank you so much! I make everything we eat from scratch- except Halloween candy. I've learned a lot in the past 4 years, but reliable candy replacements is something I haven't gotten to yet. For Halloween, our kids trick-or-treat, then give it all to me for a trade. I give them a moderate amount of treat replacements I've bought or ordered from Little bags of kettle corn, popcorn balls, yummy earth lollipops, dark chocolate squares, etc. It's all natural, gluten and dairy free, but not even close to sugar free. Halloween is their favorite holiday, so I try to let them indulge a bit but I feel guilty for allowing a couple of sugary days! This year their dentist is "buying" candy back from kids for $1 a pound ( up to $5). They're looking forward to cashing in.

I'm puzzling over your comment that grade b syrup is cheaper; we want to switch to grade b but is is always about $10 more than the same size of grade A...Love the candy recipe!

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