Baking with crickets: cookies, loaf, icing

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

cricket_cookies.jpgIngredients

  • 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

Directions

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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

  • 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

Chelsea’s Speckled Butter Icing. Photo: Chelsea Thomas

Chelsea’s Speckled Butter Icing

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

  • 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.
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