Chocolate covered sunflower seeds are the M&M's of the health food world. They have the bright colors and candy coating to make them a fun snack with the added benefits of healthy fat, protein and fiber to make them a semi-healthy one.
About Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds
Whether you choose the unadorned sunflower seeds or chocolate coated ones, these new snacks are fascinating.
The original chocolate sunflower seeds, called Sunny Seed Drops, are made by the Sunflower Food & Spice Company, based in Riverside, Missouri. They became popular in 2006 and are now available in plastic boxes in baby shower and holiday themes and also in large plastic tubes topped with sunflowers. They have caught the eye of both health food enthusiasts and those who follow the latest trends.
The average one ounce serving of chocolate covered sunflower seeds contains:
- Two grams of fiber
- Three grams of protein
- Four percent of the RDA for both calcium and iron
- Zero grams of trans fat
However, the chocolate and the candy coating add a fair amount of sugar, about 12 grams, so it is still healthier to eat the sunflower seeds without the extra adornment.
Where to Find
This snack is available at most health food stores, including the large chains Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Wild Oats. Many traditional grocery stores also carry it, especially ones that have natural foods or bulk foods sections. Other retailers to check are Cracker Barrel, Cost Plus World Market, Dean & Deluca and chain candy stores.
Those that can't find chocolate sunflower seeds locally can purchase them online. There are dozens of sites that sell them, including:
Promotional companies, such as ePromo offer them too, in containers festooned with company logos. Even wedding vendors are noticing their popularity, as there are favors available for order that include bags of seeds, boxes of seeds and even seeds with coordinating ribbons. A person can purchase seeds with coatings in most any color, ranging from white to pink to periwinkle to black. They are available in assortments or all as one solid color.
Making Them at Home
Those who don't wish to buy the treats can attempt to make them at home. It's best to skip the candy coating and just go with the chocolate to start.
- Put two cups of sunflowers seeds into a colander and rinse them thoroughly.
- Pour the seeds into a pan filled with two quarts of water and a quarter cup of salt.
- Leave the seeds in the water overnight.
- Pour the seeds back into the colander to drain. Then let them dry on a paper towel for one hour.
- Place them on a large baking sheet.
- Roast them in the oven at 300 degrees for half an hour.
- Melt a four ounce bag of chocolate chips in the microwave. Check it every minute and stir until soft.
- Dip the sunflower seeds in the chocolate. Then lay them on a sheet of wax paper.
- Refrigerate the seeds as soon as possible so the chocolate will harden quickly. They will be ready in about two hours.
Uses for Chocolate Sunflower Seeds
While many people love eating these sunflower seeds right out of the package, they are also good as ingredients in recipes. They can be used in most that call for traditional chocolate chips. For example, try them in:
- Trail mix
- Snack bars
- Ice cream
Important Note for Vegetarians and Vegans
Some commercially available chocolate covered sunflower seeds have gelatin as an ingredient in the candy shells and many contain milk chocolate. It's important to check the package before buying to insure the product is acceptable as part of your vegetarian or vegan diet.