I know what you’re thinking – cricket flour? In brownies? Bleurghhh… But just hear me out!
Did you know that we are in the minority when it comes to not eating insects? A whopping 80% of the world’s population eats insects as part of their daily diet. So maybe we need to take a step back and start thinking how to integrate this amazing food source into our western diet. Not only could it improve your health and your wallet, but it could also help to save the planet.
If that wasn’t enough to sell it to you – check this out… Crickets:
- Are as high in protein as beef – 60g per 100g.
- Contain all 9 essential amino acids that the body needs to survive making them a complete source of protein.
- Have a whopping 3 x more iron, 5 x more magnesium, and 2 x more zinc than beef.
- Include high levels of vitamin B12.
- Are an incredibly sustainable food source – per 100lbs of feed, 60g of edible cricket protein is obtained in comparison to a mere 5lbs of beef protein! Crickets also produce 100 times less greenhouse gasses than cows, and require less water than other farm animals.
So, how did I even come across cricket flour? Well, it all happened when I first met the lovely Christine Spliid, the mastermind of Gathr Foods. Christine contacted me and asked me if I’d like to try her delicious CROBAR – the UK’s first ever natural energy and protein bar made from dried fruit, nuts, and yup, you guessed it – cricket flour. Like you, I was hesitant at first, but after I bit the bullet and realised that although I wasn’t ready to start cramming whole insects down my gullet, I was definitely psychologically ready to include it in a non-discreet powdered form. (You can read my review of CROBAR here.)
I asked Christine when she was going to start stocking cricket flour so that I could get creative in other ways, and she recently contacted me to let me know she’d sent me out a bag of her Gluten-Free Organic Cricket Flour. I couldn’t have been more excited!
Her organic cricket flour is roasted (otherwise it wouldn’t be safe for consumption), has a slightly nutty flavour and is available in 50g or 100g bags – priced £7.00 and £14.00 respectively. That might sound expensive at first but you only need to replace around 5 to 10% of your flour or ingredients with cricket flour to reap all of its benefits. You can use it in anything from baking, mixed into smoothies or dishes, or even add it to raw recipes like I have done here! Christine also has some amazing recipes up on her site too so you’ll never run out of inspiration.
But now onto my fabulous recipe – these brownies are just soooo fudgy it’s like a fudge brownie party in your mouth! They’re super fresh and zesty due to the fresh orange juice and zest, and you’ll only taste a smidgen of the nutty cricket flour as an aftertaste which isn’t in any way unpleasant! Everyone has shoved one into their mouths willingly (and unwillingly) and they’ve all come back for seconds!
- 1 cup/250g pitted medjool dates (packed)
- 1 cup/100g pecans (preferably activated)
- ¾ cup cacao powder
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1.5 tbsp almond butter
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Gathr Foods Cricket Flour
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp orange extract
- ⅛ tsp fine Himalayan pink salt (if coarse grind)
- ¼ cup/25g pecans or walnuts (preferably activated)
- Zest of 1 orange
- ½ tbsp cacao powder
- Combine all of your brownie ingredients except for the ¼ cup pecans/walnuts into the bowl of your food processor. Pulse a few times before processing until the mixture forms a smooth ball. Be sure to scrape down the sides frequently using a spatula to ensure that the ingredients mix together thoroughly.
- Pulse in your ¼ cup of pecans/walnuts until you get a nice mix of nutty chunks.
- Grease and line a a suitable sized dish with greaseproof paper (I used a 19cm x 14cm 0.8L capacity Pyrex dish) and make sure to leave enough excess paper so that you can lift the brownies out.
- Drop in your brownie mixture and press down firmly with the palm of your hand until evenly distributed.
- Place into the freezer for 1 hour until set.
- Remove from the freezer and set to one side for 5 minutes. Sprinkle over your orange zest and cacao powder. Then using a blunt knife or metal spatula begin to ease out the sides before tipping out the brownies. Cut the brownies into your desired size and then EAT THEM ALL!
** Store in the fridge in an airtight container and consume within 5 days, or within the freezer for up to 2 weeks.