Whenever fall hits, I get into a baking mood. Something about warm spices and being trapped inside by the rain just screams fall to me. As I was walking across campus deciding what to bake, I came across a box of acorns in Miller Hall. The white board next to them said they were great to cook with and free to take. Although I had never tasted an acorn, I do like a challenge almost as much as I like dessert.
On the Farmer’s Almanac website, I was able to find some instructions for making acorn flour. After reading them through, I realized I had gotten myself into a bit more work than intended. The whole process took about two hours, but the mindless labor was pretty relaxing.
To start, you’ll want to put all your acorns in a big pot of water. Once it is filled halfway, you’ll notice some acorns float to the top. These acorns are no good, so toss them out, you don’t want to make a bitter flour.
After they’ve been sorted, dry the acorns with a towel and get ready to start cracking. You can use a nutcracker, a hammer or any blunt force object of your choice to crack the acorns. I ended up using a pair of sewing scissors to do the job. Lay the acorns with the flat side down and strike the pointed end until a crack forms, then peel the remaining shell off and place the nut into your pot.
When you’ve filled the pot about a quarter of the way with the meat of the acorn, it’s time to begin removing the tannins from the acorns. Tannins are bitter in taste and can cause slight stomach irritation which is why acorns shouldn’t be eaten raw. One method is to let them soak in the fridge for a few days, making sure to change the water frequently, this is best for making flour. If you have less patience, you can boil them on the stove several times until the water turns clear. It’s important to change the water each time to ensure your flour won’t have a bitter taste.
After every bit of tannins was out of my acorns, I gave them a quick grind in the blender to form a meal. If you desire a true flour, you could blend for longer or use a food processor. I then spread the flour on a cookie sheet and baked it at 350 F for 10 minutes.
Finally, I had some beautiful acorn flour. The color was a rich, toasty brown and it had notes of maple in its smell. I decided to use the flour to make a simple cookie because I really wanted to taste the acorn flavor.
Acorn Flour Cookies
3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 cups acorn flour
1/4 flour of choice (white, almond, coconut, ect.)
1/2 cup sugar or sweetener of choice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 melted butter or vegan butter spread
- Start by putting the flaxseed meal in a glass with 8 tablespoons of water, this will form a vegan egg by the time you’ve measured all your other ingredients. It should have a thick, glutinous texture when it’s ready.
- Next, add all of the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Give it a stir and then add in the flaxseed meal, vanilla and melted butter.
- The dough can be put in the fridge to chill or popped into a 350 F oven for 10 minutes.
My final product was a chewy, nutty cookie. I sprinkled a little salt on top of my cookies before placing them in the oven, I thought it helped bring out the nuttiness in the acorns. While I might not make these cookies every week, it was well worth the hours spent to say I have finally eaten an acorn.