Sunflower Crunch

Sunflower Crunch

(makes 2 cups)

We sometimes make batches of this crunch, put it in decorative jars and give them as gifts during the holidays.


2       cups raw sunflower seeds

1/3      cup barley malt

1/8 tsp sea salt

  1. Preheat a large frying pan on medium heat. Add sunflower seeds and a pinch of sea salt. Do not use oil. Continue stirring to prevent seeds from burning. When a few seeds turn a very light brown, usually around 8-10 minutes, they are ready for the barley malt. Do not let seeds turn a dark brown or they become bitter.
  1. Add barley malt, stirring as you pour.  Add just enough malt so the seeds start to stick together, add more if necessary.  Stir for about a minute until barley malt begins to “string.”  You are cooking the water away from the barley malt and “sugaring” the syrup. When that happens, the barley malt starts to show “strings” as you stir it.
  1. Lightly wet a cookie sheet to prevent mixture from sticking.  Quickly spread mixture flat,  forming an even layer. You can use the back of a large wet spoon to help you spread seeds in a single layer.
  1. Allow to harden for 10-15 minutes.  If seeds are sticky, too much malt was used.  If seeds didn’t stick together, not enough was used or you didn’t let the barley malt “string” enough.  It is too late to fix anything now, so make a note for next time.

Bites of Insight: Seeds can also be toasted in the oven on a cookie sheet, but they tend to burn easily, so watch very carefully.  I find using my toaster oven is the best way to watch the seeds and prevent burning.  Other seeds can be used in place of sunflower seeds such as roasted chopped almonds or cashews.  You can also use honey, rice syrup or agave syrup instead of barley malt. Experiment with the quantity as you may have to use less because some of these sweeteners are more liquid than others.


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