Sunflower seeds coated in chocolate are a delicious and reasonably nutritious snack provided you limit quantities since they still contain sugar. Making them is easy, and there are plenty of good commercial options available, as well.
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.
- 6 ounces chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 cups of plain, unsalted sunflower seeds
- Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and turn them on high for one minute. Stir and return to the microwave, heating and stirring every 30 seconds until the chips are melted and smooth. Stir in the coconut oil.
- Working a spoonful at a time, dip the sunflower seeds in chocolate and drain any excess.
- Spread the coated seeds on a sheet of parchment to harden. After they harden (which takes about two hours), break up any clusters and trim away excess chocolate.
- Store in a tightly sealed container for up to one week.
- For colored chocolate coated seeds, you can use white chocolate (6 ounces) and melt as above, but then separate it into two different bowls and add four drops of food coloring to each. Stir well to distribute color.
- Make clusters by mixing the seeds with the chocolate and dropping them by the half teaspoonful onto the parchment. Cool completely and store in a tightly sealed container for up to one week.
Buying the Seeds Commercially
There are several great varieties of these candy-coated seeds available.
Trader Joe's Sunflower Seed Drops
These bright, colorful seeds are available at your local Trader Joe's grocery store, and they are also available online. The cost is about $7.50 for 15 ounces, and the seeds are covered with milk chocolate and a pastel hard candy coating.
Bayside Candy Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds
Attention Walmart shoppers: you can buy these tasty candy and chocolate coated seeds at your local Walmart or online for about $11 per pound. The chocolate coating is milk chocolate, and the hard candy shells come in assorted bright primary and secondary colors.
This website has an assortment of chocolate covered sunflower seeds, some with a candy coating in varied colors, some with only a chocolate coating, and some with dark chocolate coating. They are certified gluten-free and kosher dairy, and they cost about $8 to $9 a pound, depending on the type you choose.
About Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds
Whether you choose the unadorned sunflower seeds or chocolate coated ones, these snacks are fascinating.
The original chocolate sunflower seeds, called Sunny Seeds, are made by the Sunflower Food Company, based in Lenexa, Kansas. 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:
- 130 calories
- 1g of fiber
- 3g of protein
- 8g of fat
- 4 percent of the RDA for both calcium and iron
- 0g of trans fat
However, the chocolate and the candy coating add a fair amount of sugar, about 12g, so it is still healthier to eat the sunflower seeds without the extra adornment.
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 - Combine with dried fruit, such as raisins or dried apples, and plain nuts, such as cashews at a 1:1:1 ratio.
- Cookies - Try this oatmeal cookies with chocolate coated sunflower seeds recipe.
- Brownies - Stir them into any brownie recipe just before baking - about 1 cup per recipe.
- Snack bars - Add them to any snack bar as a colorful addition to a more formal event such as at a wedding.
- Oatmeal - Stir two tablespoons into your breakfast oatmeal.
- Pancakes - Sprinkle them on top of pancake batter as it cooks - about 1 teaspoon per pancake.
- Yogurt - Add two tablespoons to 8 ounces of yogurt to give it crunch.
- Ice cream - Use them on an ice cream sundae in place of candy sprinkles.
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 ensure the product is acceptable as part of your vegetarian or vegan diet.