If you've ever been around young kids, you know that outside play can turn into a treasure hunt. Everything from funny looking twigs, to shiny rocks, and all things in between become gems to horde or give away.
Last year when I was still teaching Kindergarten acorns became a favorite thing for the kids to collect and "give" to me as I watched them play. After about the millionth acorn that I pretended to pocket but let slip through my fingers to find its way back to the ground, I had what was to be a brilliant idea.
I gathered all the kids around me and asked them to collect as many acorns as they could find. We filled up 2 gallon Ziploc bags in under 10 minutes! They were all so curious as to what I was going to do with these gathered treasures. I told them that I was going to make chocolate chip cookies out of them!
Yes, they looked at me like I was insane. And I was a little.
But they were excited nonetheless! This would have been a great project to do with kids at home, but it didn't really lend itself to a classroom activity. So I did it at home by myself over the weekend and brought the finished products in first thing Monday morning.
Some of the kids were a little hesitant about trying these slightly orange cookies, but once one child gave them to thumbs up, they were all eager for their share!
I made enough that the kids could each have one and then made a packaged one that the kids could share with their family.
You can download the tag I made here, without the school name. I just printed them out, cut the paper right below the first paragraph, colored the leaves, and then stapled each one to the top of a Ziploc bag.
How to Make Acorn Flour
If you've ever cracked open an acorn and tried its contents, you may be thinking there's no way you want to eat a cookie out of them! But with these directions you'll be able to turn those bitter nuts into a very pleasant (not at all bitter) Chocolate Chip Cookie!
Step 1: Collect the Acorns
We had White Oaks around us, but you can use whatever type of oak acorns you can find. However, Pin Oak and Black Oak acorns are going to be much more bitter. Stick with White, Burr, and Red Oaks if you can!
Note: Two pounds of acorns will yield about three cups of flour. Get way more acorns than you need as some will be rotten when you open them up!
You can always throw the extras back to the animals if you have some left over.
Step 2: Cracking the Acorns
I used a wooden board and a hammer for this. A soft, but firm, tap on the side of the acorn and they popped right open!
Step 3: Chopping the Acorns
Using your food processor is the fastest way to do this, though you can use a knife and cutting board if you prefer. Roughly chop the acorns into smaller (but not tiny) pieces.
Note: You may wish to taste the flour at this point. That bitter taste is the tannins! We will be removing that next and you will not be able to taste it in the finished product!
Step 4: Removing the Tannins
At this point the acorns are nothing you'd want to eat, so we need to remove the tannins which cause that bitter flavor.
Throw your acorns into a pot of water (filtered) and boil for about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse pieces until water runs clear. Fill the pot back up and let the acorns soak for at least 30 minutes (no heat) and then drain.
Continue this process (soak in room temperature water for 30 minutes and then rinse) until the bitter taste is gone. It took us about 4 rounds until ours were gone, but depending on your oak type, it may be shorter or longer!
Step 5: Dry the Acorns
You can use a dehyrator for this step, or your oven on the lowest setting.
Once you have removed all the tannins, lay the acorn pieces out on a tray and dry them by whatever means you choose.
Step 6: Making the Flour
Once the acorns are dry, place them in a blender or food processer and blend until they are fine like flour!
Store the acorn flour in a air tight container with a silica packet and use within 2 years!
How to Use Acorn Flour
Once the acorn flour is made, just use your favorite cookie recipe and replace half of the flour with acorn flour!
I used my Einkorn Flour Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and it turned out perfectly!
Keep in mind you don't have to make cookies though!