Nutty flavours, firm texture, a nice wee protein boost – some insects are well-suited to cakes and sweet treats. This week we bring you tried-and-tested cricket baking recipes, from entomophagy enthusiast Chelsea Thomas. Beekeeper, insect breeder and bug-eater, Chelsea is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and her Twitter feed is a must for anyone interested in entomophagy – she regularly posts photos and videos of her mini-farms and experiments in cooking insects.
Bittersweet Crickety Cookies with grapefruit and vanilla
- 1 1/8 cup (157g) plain flour
- 1/8 cup (17.5g) cricket flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (127.5g) brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick / 110g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- Rind of 2 grapefruits
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 9 oz (255g) bittersweet chocolate
- 1 1/2 cups (170g) roasted and blanched hazelnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup (80g) dried crickets
Toasting: This step is optional - toasting the nuts and crickets brings out the flavours but isn’t strictly necessary.
- Preheat oven to 180℃ (350℉)
- Chop hazelnuts in 1/4s, spread in one layer over lightly oiled baking sheet
- Toast hazelnuts in oven for 8 minutes
- Add crickets over top of hazelnuts and toast for another 3-5 minutes.
Make the cookie mix:
- Preheat oven to 190℃ (375℉)
- In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, & salt.
- In large bowl, beat brown sugar, butter, grapefruit rind and vanilla extract until light and fluffy
- Beat in the egg
- Add flour mixture gradually and mix just until combined.
- Mix in chocolate chunks, chopped hazelnuts, & most of the crickets, keeping a handful of crickets aside if you want them visible on top.
- Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto 2 ungreased baking sheets, spacing 2 apart.
- Press 3 whole crickets into the top of each cookie, if you wish (depending on your audience!)
- Bake cookies until just firm to touch and beginning to brown, about 13 minutes.
- Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.
Banana, Pecan & Cricket Loaf
This banana-cricket bread recipe comes courtesy of Entomo Farms. The quantities here will make one loaf.
- 1/3 cup (50g) cricket flour (Chelsea suggests using mealworm instead, for its nuttier flavour)
- 1 ¼ cups (175g) plain flour
- 1 ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¾ cup (170g) organic granulated sugar
- 1 egg, separated
- ¼ cup (30g) plain or vanilla yogurt
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup (120g) mashed bananas (approx 2 to 3 medium-sized)
- 1/2 cup (56g) chopped pecans (another of Chelsea Margaux’s suggestions)
- Preheat oven to 180℃ (350℉) 9×5 loaf pan, greased with butter
- In a bowl sift together cricket flour, flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl blend sugar, egg yolk, egg white, yogurt, oil and vanilla. Blend in the bananas. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Pour batter into a prepared loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing.
Now for the icing! This cricket-icing idea is from Chelsea Margaux. She says the addition of cricket flour (in a very small measure) makes the icing slightly brown and speckled. Chelsea also reckons this goes down a treat with people who haven’t eaten insects before.
The amount given will ice one 9-inch (22cm) cake.
Chelsea’s Speckled Butter Icing. Photo: Chelsea Thomas
- 4 tbsp (55g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (140g) sifted icing sugar
- 1 tsp cricket flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsp milk
- handful of dried crickets (garnish)
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until medium golden, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.
- Sift together sugar and cricket flour
- Add the butter, vanilla extract and 1 tbsp of the milk gradually
- If the mixture is too thick, add a little more of the milk. It should have a spreadable consistency – thin but not runny
- Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes, then spread on the cake
- Add a handful of dried crickets to the buttery pan and roll them around with some salt; garnish the cake with them while the icing is still warm and soft.