Food Craze? Mexican Cookies Made With Grasshopper Powder
Insects and arachnids are popular snack foods in China, Thailand and other Asian countries. Grasshoppers are also important in Mexican cuisine, although the insects are much smaller than those enjoyed in Thailand. Their stratospheric protein content makes grasshoppers (or “chapulines”) a healthy snack popular with all age groups.
How Are Grasshoppers Used in Mexican Cuisine?
Grasshoppers are a popular Mexican snack food because they are inexpensive, have a mild flavor, light texture and a high protein content. Snackers prefer to eat small, whole grasshoppers in large quantities, seasoned with salt, pepper and chili powder. Crispy, fried “chapulines” occupy a place in Mexican snacking culture akin to popcorn in America. Huge platters of tiny red grasshoppers are popular in tapas restaurants and are also eaten as bar food.
What Is Grasshopper Powder?
Powdered grasshopper is a condiment made from seasoned, cooked, pulverized insects. The powder is a popular at restaurants, where diners sprinkle it over soups, tacos, enchiladas and other dishes. Unflavored grasshopper powder also adds an extra protein boost to sweet dishes.
What Are Powdered Grasshopper Cookies?
Powdered grasshopper cookies are high in protein, low in fat and have the same appeal as traditional cookies made with eggs and butter. They have a delicious flavor and hearty, chewy texture. The most popular flavors of these “secret grasshopper food” cookies are oatmeal and oatmeal raisin.
Why Are Whole Grasshoppers Not Used in Cookies?
Powdering grasshoppers before adding them to cookie batter makes it impossible to tell that the cookies contain insects. Grasshoppers are very popular in southern Mexico, where poverty is a severe problem. Many northern Mexicans refuse to eat the whole “chapulines” because they do not rely on the insects for dietary protein. Powdering the grasshoppers substantially increases the market potential of commercial cookie brands and increases the viability of “secret grasshopper food” cookies in northern Mexican public schools.
Are Grasshopper Powder Cookies Related to the Minty Treats Called Grasshopper Cookies?
Grasshopper powder cookies are not related to the popular “grasshopper cookies” made with chocolate and mint. The green “grasshopper powder” sold at American gourmet boutiques is a sweet dessert sprinkle made from mint and white chocolate. The powder is delicious in cookies, shakes and frozen desserts, but it is unrelated to the protein-rich Mexican insect powder.
Although grasshoppers are most popular as a savory snack food, their nutritional profile also makes them an attractive addition to baked goods. Powdering the cooked insects makes them indistinguishable from plant-based baking ingredients such as powdered cinnamon and whole wheat flour, which also have a reddish appearance. This is a necessary step that makes powdered grasshopper cookies universally palatable.