On Wednesday, December 9, adventurous eaters gathered in Northwest Portland to munch their way through history. Hosted by local foodie tech group Food Bytes and cricket flour companies Poda Foods, Thinksect, and Cricket Flours, Portland's first cricket cook-off was, by all accounts, a rousing success. Fifteen contestants prepared sweet and savory recipes featuring whole crickets and cricket flours, winning rave reviews from a panel of expert judges and a throng of bold attendees eager to taste-test the nutritious bugs.
Many guests reported being pleasantly surprised by the palatability and culinary creativity of cricket-based recipes, but perhaps they shouldn't have been so shocked—after all, we wrote about cricket flour's uses as a sustainable, allergy-friendly protein source back in January! Are you ready to tackle this groundbreaking food frontier? Try your hand at cricket cooking with the cook-off's winning recipes, exclusively available here.
S’more Crickets, S’more Problems
Graham Cricker, Cardamom & Coffee Marshmallow topped with Salted, Dry Roasted Cricket Chocolate
by Taylor Samuelsen and Jesse Hiestand
½ cup cricket flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
½ cup untoasted wheat germ
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon molasses
- Mix flours, wheat germ, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
- Mix, on medium, melted butter, brown sugar, honey, and molasses with an electric mixer until mixture is light in color and texture.
- Add the dry mixture on low setting.
- Divide dough into quarters. Roll out each piece between two sheets of floured parchment paper into rectangles that are about 1/8th inch thick. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, trim the edges and cut the dough to create desired shapes. We recommend two inch squares. Use a fork to poke holes in each square.
- Place the dough and parchment paper onto a flat surface in the freezer until dough is firm (~15 minutes)
- Bake at 350F for 7-8 minutes, rotating after 4 minutes.
- Cool on baking sheet.
Cardamom & Coffee Marshmallows
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup water
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla paste extract
2 teaspoons powdered cardamom
¼ cup confectioners' sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup ground coffee
food coloring, if desired
non-stick cooking spray
- Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water & combine.
- In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
- Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the food coloring, vanilla & cardamom during the last minute of whipping.
- Combine the confectioners' sugar, ground coffee and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar, coffee and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan.
- When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar, coffee and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
- After the marshmallow has set, use a warm knife to cut into cubes. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture.
Salted, Dry Roasted Cricket Chocolate
1 ½ pounds dark chocolate (for melting)
Salt – we used Maldon Salt
Whole Frozen Crickets (like the ones from Poda Food!)
- Melt Chocolate on low temperature. Stir often.
- Defrost frozen whole crickets. ~10 minutes.
- Once the chocolate has been melted, keep on low heat while you heat a non-stick pan on medium heat. Add whole crickets and salt (to taste – we use about 1.5-2 teaspoons). Stir gently to prevent burning. Cook crickets for about 5-10 minutes or until golden and hard to the touch. (We found that the crickets behave very similar to pine nuts in that there is a delicate point between being perfectly done and burnt. Also note that the crickets are quite delicate and need to be either kept frozen or cooked right away – think of them as fresh shrimp).
- Once the crickets have been pan roasted, empty onto a flat surface to cool.
- Line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Pour the melted chocolate out into the baking dish. Spread the chocolate around the baking pan so that it’s about 1/8 inch thick.
- As the chocolate cools, sprinkle the roasted crickets onto the chocolate. You can either leave the crickets whole or break them apart. Sprinkle a bit more salt onto the chocolate.
- Place chocolate into the freezer to cool.
- After 5-7 minutes (before the chocolate is totally hardened), remove the chocolate and score the chocolate into small squares – this will make it easier to break the chocolate apart later on.
- Return the baking dish to the freezer and let chill an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Once fully hardened, break chocolate into small bite-sized pieces.
Hopped-Up Miang Kham
A spicy Thai-style leaf wrapped appetizer with crispy fried crickets.
By Naomi Dickerson
1 cup water
1 cup grated palm sugar
1 tbsp peeled, diced ginger
1 tbsp peeled, diced galangal
1 tbsp diced shallots
1 tsp frozen shredded lemongrass
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp shrimp paste
1 finely diced lime, skin on
2 diced shallots
4-5 thinly sliced bird's eye chilis
1/2 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup frozen whole crickets
Baby spinach leaves, washed
Peanut oil (for frying)
To make the sauce:
- Place the galangal, ginger, and shallots into a food processor and grind to a fine paste.
- Add the paste, along with the lemongrass and shrimp paste to a small saucepan on medium heat and dry roast until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes
- Add the water, fish sauce, and palm sugar, turn heat to medium high and simmer until reduced by half (about 20 minutes).
To make the fillings:
- Heat the oven to 350. Spread the shredded coconut evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown, turning once halfway through.
- Add at least 1/2 inch deep of peanut oil to a wok or heavy bottomed skillet and heat at medium high until about 375 degrees.
- Spritz or lightly coat the frozen crickets with fish sauce and allow to sit while the oil is heating, then add the crickets to the oil and fry until the sizzling calms down and the crickets are floating (about 3 minutes). (Careful! The crickets have a lot of moisture and will cause the oil to splatter if you don't have a splatter screen or deep enough pan!)
- Transfer the crickets to a clean paper bag and salt generously, then shake the bag to remove legs.
Arrange all the fillings on a platter, alongside fresh spinach leaves and sauce. Place a small amount of each filling in a leaf, top with sauce, and eat in one bite!
Say it with me... "poh-vee-TEET-sa!" This delectable nut roll is adapted from a Croatian family recipe. It's incredibly hard to find in the States — I learned my craft from bakers in Strawberry Hill, a Slavic neighborhood in Kansas City, KS. Featuring a buttery yeast dough swirled with crushed walnuts (and now nutty cricket flour!), this holiday sweet bread is a stand-out. Makes 2 large or 4 small loaves.
By Fritz Kutchko
1/2 c water
1 1/2 T sugar
1 package yeast
3/4 c whole milk, scalding
1/2 c sugar
1/2 T salt
1/4 c butter
2 T canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
4-5 c flour
1 1/4 c milk
2 c sugar
1/2 c butter
1/4 c honey
3 eggs, beaten
2 1/4 lbs walnuts, finely crushed
1 1/2 c cricket flour
1 T vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
- Activate yeast in warm water / sugar slurry. Set aside. Let foam for 5-10 min.
- Start the dough. Using a large pot on medium heat, whisk 1/2 c sugar into 3/4 scalding whole milk. Add salt, butter and oil. Take off heat and let cool slightly.
- Whisk 2 eggs, beaten, into the yeast slurry. Add this to the milk mixture.
- Beat in spices and 4-5 cups of flour. Dough should be tacky to touch.
- On floured surface, knead dough for 3-4 minutes. Let rest. Knead again for 3-4 minutes, shaping into a ball. Dough should be much smoother and more elastic now. Oil a mixing bowl, flip the dough over inside it to oil the top, cover with damp tea towel and place inside a cold oven with a bowl of hot water on the rack beneath it. Let rise until doubled in size (usually 1-3 hours).
- Punch dough down and knead a second time. Place back in oiled bowl in cold oven, let rise again until doubled in size.
- Make the filling: Over medium heat, whisk sugar into milk. Add butter and simmer gently for a minute. Take off heat and stir in honey, eggs, vanilla, crushed walnuts, cricket flour, spices and salt. Let cool.
- Flour a large flat surface. Take dough from oven, punch down, and divide in two. Roll each half out as thinly as possible in a large rectangle. Sprinkle extra flour as needed. The dough should be just shy of breaking, almost translucent. Brush lightly with melted butter. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, spread nut paste in a thin but consistent layer from edge to edge. Starting at the center of one end, roll dough as tightly as possible into a long cylinder.
- Transfer to two buttered 10"x5" pans (or four smaller pans). Coil the dough in an "S" shape and tuck both ends on the underside of the roll. Brush top with melted butter. (You can also use beaten egg whites or strong black coffee, raw sugar and spices!) Let rise for 30-60 min, but not so much that it overflows the pan.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 15 min. Drop temperature to 300-325 degrees F and bake for 35-45 min. To prevent over-browning, tent with foil or butter top as needed. Bread is done when it is a deep golden brown, a toothpick pulls out clean, and it starts to pull away at the edges.
- Let cool completely before removing from pan. Turn loaf upside down, slice with serrated knife and serve!
Best the day after. Keeps for 1 week at room temperature or 2 weeks in the fridge.
Chester’s Caramel Cricket and Apple Tart
By Katherine High
Cricket Sweet Dough
Mix together powdered sugar, cricket flour and almond flour, set aside. Cream butter and salt with a paddle attachment on a mixer or by hand, do not incorporate too much air into the dough. Add the sugar mix and vanilla and blend. Gradually add the eggs and 1⁄4 of the cake flour. Add the rest of the cake flour. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling out.
1 stick butter
1 g salt
80 g sifted powdered sugar
12 g cricket flour
15 g almond flour
5 g vanilla
225 g sifted cake flour
30 g roasted whole crickets
70 g sugar
15 g water
Put sugar and water together in a pot large enough to stir in the crickets. Cook the sugar until it just begins to color. Quickly add the crickets and stir to coat. Spread out thinly on parchment paper or silicone baking mat. As the crunch cools, break into smaller pieces. You may want to wear gloves for this step: sugar coated antennae can be sharp! Also, if you need to extend this recipe and don’t have enough crickets to double it, finely chopped nuts like hazelnuts work well.
200 g sugar
85 g butter
95 g heavy cream
2 g salt
Cook sugar, stirring constantly until the sugar is melted and turns a golden brown. Remove from heat. Carefully add the butter in small chunks, stirring constantly; the caramel will foam up. When all the butter has been added, add the heavy cream and salt and whisk until smooth. *It is best to prepare this just after the tart shell has been removed from the oven, to make pouring easier.
Caramel Poached Apples
4–5 baking apples, peeled and cored
750 g apple cider
300 g sugar
100 g water
1 cinnamon stick
lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
75 g white wine
In a pot big enough to hold all the ingredients including the apples, cook the sugar and water together over medium high heat to form a caramel. Carefully and slowly whisk in the cider. Add the other ingredients, and place the apples in the poaching liquid. You can weigh down the apples to make sure they are covered in the liquid with a small plate or bowl. Simmer apples until they are just tender. Remove from the liquid to cool, but once cool, apples can be stored in the poaching liquid. (Don’t throw it away, it can be cooked down to make a great sauce, or used for more apples!)
Line a tart mold or ring with the cricket sweet dough. Poke holes in the dough with a fork and blind bake in a 350 degree oven until the crust is thoroughly cooked and lightly brown. While it is cooling, make the caramel, and then pour hot caramel over the crust. While still warm, sprinkle the caramel with cricket crunch, but reserve some for garnish on the top. Slice the poached apples, and lay them on top of the tart in whatever decorative fashion you prefer. Sprinkle with remaining cricket crunch. Slice and serve at room temperature.