Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Accidental Balanophage: Acorn Cookies

Over lunch I made these acorn cookies from a recipe found here. They are not burnt. Really. OK, so I'll never become a food photographer.

For the acorn flour I used bur oak acorns we collected locally and kept fridged (most of them I plan to plan and grow next spring). I cracked the acorns and extracted the nut fruit last night. Yes, it took a while. This is Minnesota and "bur oak acorns" means 1) tiny nut, 2) thick shell, 3) not a lot of nut meat. It would be a different story with the Titleist size acorns down South.

At this point most environmentalists/urban homesteaders would lie and say that the process of cracking the acorns is "meditative" or "contemplative." Both are euphemisms for "mind-numbingly dull." But I got it done.

This morning I ground the nut meat to the approximate consistency of corn meal. I spread it on a cookie sheet and put it in a warm oven to dry - about 1 hour or so. It was by no means bone dry in that time, but more importantly: I was hungry! I used a coffee grinder to further grind the meal to a fine flour.

Here's the recipe:
1/2 cup butter (always a good start)
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almod extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup acorn flour
1-1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

Melt the butter, combine with syrup (at this point I discovered that melted butter + syrup = yummy. Who knew?) Add the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix dry ingredients separately. Add dry to wet, mix.

The dough was looking a little wet & sticky at that point (possibly because I didn't get the acorn flour completely dry) so I ad-libbed another tablespoon of flour.

350 degree oven for 15 minutes. (A trademark feature of a Chris Siems recipe is telling you the pre-heat info in the last line.)

After a suitable level of shock was expressed that, "Papa actually baked something without burning down the kitchen," the verdict was unanimous: Awesome. Loved by one and all - Alice, Katrina & Ethan. The shock was genuine. I once mistakenly used baking soda instead of baking powder to make pancakes (Katrina's birthday pancakes no less). They had that metallic flavor that is highly prized by... no one I can possibly imagine.

Excuse me - I need to go grab another cookie.

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