Sunflowers: The Emblem of Constancy
Sunflowers are a very well known summertime flower. Lately, I have found some fun ways to use them! We plant sunflowers on the 770 every year in a small field by the house. And when I say “we,” I mean the boys! Anyway, one thing that is important is not only planting the flowers but also teaching the kids how to grow things and garden! This week, Mackenzie Heath (pictured above) got to try her luck at planting a sunflower, and to her surprise (and ours), it sprouted!
Once her sunflower grows big, and yours at home grow big too, we can to use them in ways we haven’t before! That means not only using them for the perfect home decor or the perfect photo backdrop, we can use them in multiple treats over the summer! Here are a few fun sunflower recipes to try this summer!
Caramel Sunflower Rolls
2 packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup water (110-115°F)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups warm milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup light molasses
2 eggs, beaten
4 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sunflower margarine
1/2 cup raw or roasted sunflower kernels
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a large bowl dissolve yeast in water. Add sugar, milk, salt, and molasses, Be sure to mix well. Add eggs, and 1 cup all-purpose flour; mix. Add whole wheat flour and mix well. Continue adding remaining all-purpose flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is soft but not sticky to the hands. Knead 4 to 5 minutes.
6. Roll 1/4 inch thick and at least 18-inches long and spread with 1/4 cup margarine. Roll sunflower kernels with a rolling pin until finely crushed; sprinkle over margarine. Sprinkle cinnamon and brown sugar over sunflower kernels. Roll dough, jelly-roll fashion, and cut into 24 rolls. Place in pans on top of the Caramel Sauce. Cover and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place. Bake at 325-350°F 25 to 30 minutes. Invert onto serving platter.
Melt 2 tablespoons sunflower margarine and add 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar and 1/4 cup honey. Cook over low heat until mixture begins to boil. Pour caramel into 2 greased 8x12-inch pans and sprinkle 1/4 cup raw or roasted sunflower kernels over each pan. (National Sunflower Association)
Sunflower Seed Butter
Roast seeds for 10-15 minutes, stirring/turning the pan occasionally, until fragrant and light golden brown. Add roasted sunflower seeds to a food processor (or high-speed blender) and blend until a butter forms, scraping down sides as needed.
Sunflower, Cranberry, and Oat Granola Bars
1 1/2 cups quick rolled oats
3/4 cup sunflower kernel, roasted and salted
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup cranberries, dried, sweetened
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 cup sunflower margarine
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
Preheat oven to 350*
In a bowl, stir together rolled oats, sunflower kernel, coconut, cranberries, wheat germ, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. Melt margarine; stir brown sugar and honey into melted margarine; bring to a boil; remove from heat. Pour margarine mixture over rolled oats mixture; stir until well coated. Press granola bar mixture into greased 8-x 8-x 2-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle with additional sunflower kernel and coconut if desired. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until slightly browned around edges; remove from oven. While bars are warm, press surface gently with the back of a spoon to flatten; score into bars with a knife. Cool completely; cut and serve.
(National Sunflower Association)