Acorn Flour Pancakes - Happy First Day of Fall

Source:  The Farmer's Almanac

This is a post that really, really wanted to be posted!  I am currently staying with my daughter to help out with childcare while she starts a new job.  Last night The Littles and I were walking around the yard and collected acorns in a bucket just for fun.  

When my son-in-law got home he saw what we were doing and asked me if acorns were edible?
Yes.  I explained how you have to leech the tannins out of them and then you can grind them and make acorn flour out of them.  He seemed pretty interested and dwelled on that for a moment, lost in thought; before saying "Hmmm..."   and walking off.  Knowing him, I see a trial-run of acorn drying/roasting and grinding in his future.

In the meantime, we came in the house to get ready for dinner and put the bucket of acorns (and a rock or two) on the counter.  This morning the 3 year old was up before his baby brother so I let him take the bucket and play just outside the patio doors while I had morning coffee.  He was so excited to see that during the night a little wormy grub had crawled out of one.  He made a new friend to play with for almost an hour.

With so many 'acorns' on the brain over the past two days, I had to laugh when I was clicking through some random recipes and articles online and saw this on The Farmer's Almanac site.  MORE acorns in my life!?  And to top it off today is the First Day of Fall.

All these random happenings came together to bring you this 'a little out of the normal' recipe for Acorn Pancakes.

Acorns are extremely nutritious and readily available to most, making them a healthy and convenient addition to many recipes.

Here’s how to prepare and cook acorns!

Where and When to Find Acorns

Acorns come from oak trees and can be found across North America. They are typically “harvested” between September and November, when they fall from the trees and become easily accessible to deer, squirrels, and resourceful humans. When gathering acorns, look for ones that still have their caps, as those without are more susceptible to infestation by worms and other critters.

How to Prepare Acorns

  • Start by giving your acorns a quick rinse in cool water. Place them in a pot or bowl and fill it with water, then remove and dispose of any floating acorns, as they have likely gone bad.
  • Place the acorns in a colander and run them under the tap for a minute or two to dislodge any loose dirt or hitchhiking bugs. 
  • Set the colander aside to let the acorns air-dry, or simply dry them by hand with a dish towel. 
  • Remove the shells and caps from your acorns with a nutcracker (or a hammer, if necessary). Acorns can be tough nuts to crack!
Warning: All acorns contain bitter and irritating organic substances called tannins, which must be leached out before the nuts can be eaten. Tannins can cause nausea and constipation when consumed, but don’t worry—with a little patience and preparation, tannins are easily removed.

How to Remove Tannins from Acorns

  • Start two pots of water boiling. Drop the raw, shell-less acorns into one pot and boil until the water is the color of strong tea.
  • Strain the nuts through a colander and drop the strained nuts into the second pot of boiling water. Discard the dark water from the first pot, then refill it and bring the water to a boil again.
  • Repeat the process without interruption (do not let the acorns cool) until the water boils clear. This may take an hour or more, depending on the variety of acorn.
  • Alternatively, you can soak the raw acorns in cold water to leach the tannins out. Change the water when it turns a darker color. This process may take several days, depending on how long it takes for all the tannins to leach out of the acorn meat.

How to Grind Acorns for Cooking

  • Spread tannin-free acorns to dry on cookie sheets in a warm place. When partially dry, coarse grind a few acorns at a time in a blender.
  • Spread the ground acorns to dry on cookie sheets, then grind again in a blender.
  • Repeat until you are left with a flour- or cornmeal-like substance.

Acorn Pancakes Recipe

Once you have prepared your acorns, try them in this recipe adapted from Sharon Hendricks. Source: Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension

1 egg
1 tsp. salad oil
1 tsp. honey or sugar
½ cup leached and ground acorns
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup whole wheat or white flour
2 tsp. double action baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup milk
Break egg into bowl and add all ingredients, beating to create a batter. If batter is too thick, thin with additional milk. Pour batter onto hot, greased griddle and cook slowly until brown. Flip to brown opposite side. Serve with butter and syrup or jam—and enjoy!

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Bakery Style Sugar Cookies

If you've been following me either by blog or Twitter you might already realize I've not been home for almost two weeks now.  I'm staying with a family member out of state and helping out for a bit.

Monday, I whipped up some sugar cookie dough since I already had the mixer out for something else and decided to make up dough and chill for later this week.  The next day while the 16 month old was napping, the 3-year-old and I made cookies together.

This recipe is perhaps the closest one I've found to a "memory" I have.

When I was ten years old I was allowed to go 'up town' by myself or with friends in our small town.  My friend Bridget and I would put on our tennis shoe skates (blue with the yellow stripes) and skate up town and head to the little bakery on the corner where we could get a sugar cookie for $.10 each.  They were hard to describe taste wise.  Perfectly circle and a bit crisp without being too crisp.  Tender but not at all soft.  The flavor was vanilla yet had a tang. The bakery closed down a couple years later and was long gone by the time I was 18 and on my own and starting on a quest to make my own versions of, well, everything I loved.

I've probably made about, oh, 60 or so different sugar cookie recipes through the past 30 years and this recipe is probably the closest one so far.  Not exact... but close when they rolled out thin, cut to circles and baked til the edges are just golden brown, they are close.

Sugar Cookies

2 c sugar
1/2 c shortening
1/2 c butter
3 eggs
5 T sour cream
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t lemon extract
1/8 t almond extract
4 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and sour cream. Beat in the flavors.  Add the flour, soda and salt.  Bring to a dough, wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 day or overnight.  Roll out with plenty of flour.  Cut to shape. Decorate the tops with sprinkles or sugar if you wish.  If you want to frost them, do not sprinkle with anything, just bake plain.  Bake on ungreased baking pan at 350 until the edges are golden brown.  Remove from pan to cool complete.

I couldn't find any cookie-cutters in my host's kitchen, so I simply grabbed a glass from the cupboard and used that as a cookie cutter.

Oh so beautiful!

 If you are going to frost them later, don't bother topping with anything.  Just bake plain.

If you have an awesome little 3 year old helper like I do, then you will end up topping them with LOTS of cookie decorations!


3 year olds make the BEST cookies!

This is a legit photo I was taking of JUST the cookies when a quick-little toddler hand swooped in to snatch a fresh cookie!  Ha ha.

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