Every so often, I do something for which there is no excuse.
This time, I fed my friends insects under the guise of brownies.
Crickets, to be exact.
Instead of getting grossed out, can we have a super quick nerd moment together? Eating crickets is cool, and not just because I’m Asian and Asians like to sell deep fried insects on the street. Crickets, gram for gram, contain more protein, fibre, calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium than beef sirloin, eggs, or whole milk. By a lot. I first read about them in Men’s Health (yes, I read Men’s Health. I digress, but if you’re bored and scouring the interwebs for fascinating reads, this is also worth checking out – as is the entire book) and immediately went and ordered some cricket flour from Bitty Foods.
Crickets are also way more sustainable in terms of water use and land space than, say, beef. You also don’t have to stick your hands into raw meat to prepare them for cooking (forgive me for that mental image, I’m still recovering from a cooking class in which I had to debone a chicken).
No, they don’t taste like the deliciousness that is perfect gluten-filled flour, but for a gluten-free option, they’re now my favourite. They’re slightly chewy and almost nutty and totally delicious.
And hey, worst case, they’re a protein vehicle for justifying eating mass amounts of chocolate. Can’t go wrong with that.
Side bar: if you’re not a huge baker but want to get in on the cricket action, I also tried these Exo protein bars and they are absolutely amazing.
Cricket Flour Brownies (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)
four teaspoons ground flax
three tablespoons water
three quarters cup almond meal
three quarters cup cricket flour
two tablespoons arrowroot powder
half cup cocoa powder
half teaspoon salt
quarter teaspoon baking soda
half cup milk or dark chocolate, melted
one third cup coconut oil, melted
one cup coconut sugar
quarter cup almond milk
one teaspoon vanilla
half cup pecan bits
two teaspoons cocoa nibs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8×8 square pan or line it with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small cup, vigorously mix flax and water. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk almond meal, cricket flour, arrowroot powder, salt, and baking soda. Make a well in the middle and add flax mixture, melted chocolate, coconut oil, coconut sugar, almond milk, and vanilla. Whisk away until everything is well combined and starting to come away from the edges of the bowl – no need to worry about over-mixing since there is no gluten!
Fold in pecan bits and cocoa nibs, and spoon into the prepared pan.
Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out with crumbs attached; about 40-50 minutes. I let mine cool and then drizzled additional chocolate on top – adding flaked sea salt to that would be a godsend.
Cut into squares once cool and store in an airtight container.
Note that people with shellfish allergies may be allergic to crickets.