Crickets are the underdogs in cuisine, but people are slowly getting past the unnerving thought of eating insects. They’re embracing the fact that it’s perfectly normal, and honestly, even healthy.
We wanted to see just what this craze was all about, so we decided to put our baking skills to the test and try our hand at incorporating everyday baked goods with crickets. We hopped on Amazon, bought ourselves some cricket flour, and used it in two different recipes: maple syrup cupcakes and garlic cheddar gougères.
Because a few of our whole-cricket toppers were bacon flavored, we opted for a classic maple cake and maple frosting. We used a simple vanilla cake, replacing some of the sugar with maple syrup and about 1/4 cup of the all-purpose flour with cricket flour.
The soil-like smell of crickets overwhelmed us the minute we opened the bag. Slightly resembling the scent of dog food, it seemed this experiment was going to be a bust. However, luckily for us, the the result was actually surprisingly good.
While the cupcakes weren’t as light and fluffy as we had hoped, they also didn’t necessarily taste like bugs. They were a little dry, but overall were more similar to a whole wheat bran muffin than a frosted cricket.
More commonly known as cheese puffs, gougères are made with a pâte à choux pastry and form their hollow inside from steam produced via excess water in the dough. We followed a standard recipe and added the cricket flour as a supplement, since direct substitution would hinder gluten formation and thus rising during baking.
The cricket flour gave the dough a speckled appearance and a slightly earthy smell. We put sour cream and onion dried crickets to the top, which, in theory, would go well with the cheddar garlic flavor.
The gougères tasted and felt just as they normally do without the crickets, though they were grainy in appearance and had a slightly gritty texture. But, like the cupcakes, they left our mouths dry.
Overall, both baked goods weren’t noticeably different than they would be if made normally. The ground crickets added a slight crunch factor and some minor dryness, but wasn’t as offsetting as we thought it would be. We ate more of those maple cupcakes than we’d like to admit. Point is, don’t shy away from exotic or uncanny foods just because they sound weird. In many cases, it won’t be as bad as you think.