Could eating bugs be the next big food trend? Well that's what professor and bug chef Marc Dennis thinks! He invited us to a very special cooking lesson where we learned how to make dishes with silk worms, wax worms, crickets, and grasshoppers. Once we got past what Marc refers to as "the ick factor" it was actually pretty interesting to learn about and try a cuisine that could fundamentally improve world health, nutrition, and sustainability. One of our favorites was the "Chocolate Chirp Cookies" and Marc was nice enough to share the recipe.
Chocolate Chirp Cookie
"CHOCOLATE CHIRP COOKIES" BY MARC DENNIS
· 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
· 1/2 cup sugar
· 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
· 2 eggs
· 2 tsp. vanilla extract
· 2 3/4 cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour
· 3/4 tsp. sea salt
· 1 tsp. baking soda
· 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
· 2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
· 2 cups pre-roasted crickets (any size cricket will do - keep in mind if you use an adult cricket you will need more than 2 cups in order to make sure each cookie has an equal amount.)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Using an electric mixer and a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat for approximately 2 minutes.
3. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour to the mixture and blend until all ingredients are fully mixed. Add chocolate chips.
4. Add pre-roasted crickets to the batter. You have the option of rolling the roasted crickets between your palms in order to remove the legs and antennae. Otherwise feel free to add them to the mix whole. The cookie batter should be somewhat thick and slightly textural with the crickets.
5. Place a rounded tablespoon of dough onto a baking sheet about two inches apart. It doesn't matter if the crickets are slightly emerging from the ball. The more visible they are, the more interesting the dining experience. If you feel it's best to hide them within the rounded tablespoon then simply roll them into the ball a bit more carefully so not to let their legs or antennae stick out.
Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and allow the cookies to cool for at least 3 minutes before serving. Feel free also to simply use your own favorite recipe or pre-mixed dough.
How to roast crickets:
Place crickets in refrigerator for 60 minutes or the freezer for 30 minutes in order to put them into a state of dormancy (hypothermia in this case), which will prevent them from hopping away when preparing the cookie batter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the crickets on the foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove the crickets and allow to cool before adding to recipe.
* Note on crickets: Many cricket farms have developed a special strain of cricket called the "American mix," which has been selectively bred for size and durability. If you want to buy bugs to cook with, two of Marc's favorites are Worm Man and Fluker Farms.