Okay. So I finally did it! I made some cookies with acorn flour!
It did take me a while to get this last batch of acorns to release their tannin. I got the last batch of acorns from a different oak tree on our future homestead, and apparently the acorns from this tree were really, really full of tannin. I will avoid that tree next year if there is an abundance elsewhere.
Nonetheless, after 12 days I finally got to the point where the acorn meal didn’t pucker my mouth anymore! Let me tell you – that is a very unpleasant pucker!
In fact, I think I am figuring out a way to tell if most of the tannin has been removed by using our swimming pool water tester kit! You see, tannin is acidic and it makes sense that when I get most of the tannin out, the pH level would rise – Right? Anyway, I am testing the level of the acid with the freshly crushed acorns versus the acid level of those that have been leaching for 10-12 days to see if I can figure out an optimum level of pH. I sure hope this works.
So, on to the cookies. Some of my fellow bloggers and commenters out there (thank you very much) suggested that I investigate some of the Italian and/or Mediterranean recipes that use chestnut flour! Apparently chestnut flour and acorn flour are pretty much interchangeable. So, I did some investigating at the library and on-line and found some cookie recipes using chestnut flour! Actually, I found a lot of recipes using chestnut flour, but the majority of them used wheat flour also. Don’t get me wrong – that’s perfectly okay – just not what I am trying to do! I want to be able to use both acorn flour (which is free and in abundance on our future homestead) and/or almond flour (I already made a spice cake with almond flour – delicious!) and not have to rely on wheat flour. Why? Not really because of the gluten in wheat flour. I am not gluten intolerant and I don’t have celiac disease. And it’s not really about the fact that some grains are GMO’s now, although I am completely and wholeheartedly against GMO’s. Wheat flour is relatively cheap and at this time GM wheat is not being sold commercially – that we know of. However, Monsanto has developed a GM wheat, and it’s only a matter of time folks. No, for me it comes down to self-sufficiency. I want to be able to use what I have outside of my front door for my food. Acorns are free. They grow on huge trees that give us shade, house a myriad of critters, provide firewood and building material. You don’t have to water the oak tree, fertilize it, prune it or spray pesticides on it. The only thing you have to do is gather, remove the nuts, leach the nuts and then eat them. And they are good for you!
So, here we go!
The first recipe was a sort of shortbread cookie with chocolate chips in it. I know, chocolate chips aren’t growing on trees outside my front door, but I am in the experimental phase of cooking with acorn flour and that’s what the recipe called for. I figure, if I like the recipe, I can always tweak it later! Besides, who can resist chocolate chips!
Here is the recipe I came up with:
1 cup acorn (chestnut) flour
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
2-3 tablespoons strong coffee
Mix all ingredients together. Knead for about 1-2 minutes, until all the flour is incorporated.
Roll into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for about 1/2 hour. Remove from refrigerator, slice roll into 1/4 inch slices and place on cookie sheet. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes.
All went well with this recipe until I got to the part where you have to roll the log. It was pretty crumbly, so I kneaded it for a little longer and that helped. But, after it had chilled for 1/2 hour in the refrigerator, I tried to slice the log and found that this was impossible! The whole thing just kept crumbling! I let it warm up a bit, rolled it again and thought that maybe if it was a bit warmer it would slice easier. Nope! The chocolate chips were the problem!
Now – who would have ever thought that chocolate would be a problem!
So, I decided these would have to be bar cookies. I pressed the whole mess into a small baking pan, scored it (just in case the “cookies” turned out to be hard, like biscotti or concrete) and then cooked it in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. I let them cool down in the pan because I was afraid they would be really crumbly, but when I took them out of the pan they actually held together quite well. Now it was the time for a taste test.
Um – no
Well, let’s just say I won’t be making this recipe again! It was dry and bitter! 🙁 Did you know that coffee has tannin in it? Well it does. So does chocolate, to a certain degree. It seems that these two ingredients worked together to bring out the tannin flavor of the acorn flour! I must say, the look on my hubby’s face was hilarious when he tried these. I have been know to experiment with recipes before and I am quite famous for my sweet and sour chicken livers and my smoked salmon lasagna – and not for the right reason. These were ghastly culinary failures in epic proportions.
I think this acorn bar cookie may have trumped my previous culinary infamy!
On to recipe #2. I didn’t have much faith at this time in cooking with the acorn flour, but I had gone to the trouble to make the flour (and have 2 more batches waiting in the refrigerator), so I figured I wouldn’t give up just yet. This one is more like a chocolate chip cookie recipe, yet again uses no wheat flour:
6 tbls of soft butter 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chestnut (acorn) flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions: Cream the butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon and vanilla together. Drop in the egg and mix until the batter is lump free, about a minute. Add the flour and baking soda and mix just until the flour is completely moistened. Add the chocolate chips.
Drop 2 inch balls onto cookie sheets with plenty of room for the cookies to spread out.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to a cooling rack after about 5 minutes.
Makes 1 dozen cookies
Don’t they look pretty! All festive and such with the blue plate and pumpkins! Hahaha – that’s my feeble attempt at staging the picture! Anyway…… we gave these a taste test.
Heavens to Mergatroid! Hallaleujah! I think I actually heard a few angels singing in chorus somewhere. These things were GOOD! Wow! Really GOOD! 🙂 🙂
Okay. So you CAN eat acorns! Yup. There’s no stopping me now! I have a few cake and bread recipes I want to try. And I still haven’t given up on making acorn noodles. I think I will also try adapting some of those almond flour recipes and see if they will work with acorn flour! Once I figure out some good recipes using acorn flour, I want to start trying them with the stevia syrup I made (see instructions how to do that here) or honey, instead of the cane sugar. Wish me luck! I will let you know how it goes!
Thanks for reading! Now I have to go and do the dishes!
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