Cicada mania: McHenry County shops and artists embrace the craze

While there haven’t been too many large-scale cicada sightings in McHenry County thus far, some local artists and bakers have gotten creative with the cicada craze.

Many of the cicada sightings reported to the McHenry County Conservation District are clustered in the eastern and northeastern portions of the county.

But you also can spot the red-eyed insects — or at least various likenesses — at local businesses and other locations.

Konrad’s Bakery in Lake in the Hills recently unveiled cicada-themed sugar cookies, complementing other seasonally themed desserts such as watermelon and orange sliced sugar cookies.

Owner Beata Kochmanski said the idea for the cookies came from a customer who asked if the bakery would be offering cicada-themed treats. Kochmanski said the bakery’s cake decorator, Abby Piemonte, is making the bug-inspired treats.

She added she had seen cicada stories from throughout the Chicago area, but unlike some other cicada culinary offerings, the cookies don’t contain any of the bugs.

It’s been a warm reception for the treats. People “get a kick out of it,” Kochmanski said.

Konrad’s Bakery is located at 9531 Ackman Road, Lake in the Hills. The cookies are $4.50.

Mama Bear Macarons, a home kitchen also based out of the Lake in the Hills area that sells macarons at the Farmers Market at the historic Dole Mansion, 401 Country Club Road in Crystal Lake, will be offering a cicada-themed macaron.

Christine Rausch, owner of the macaron company, said her daughter came up with the idea.

“It could be fun for adults and kids,” Rausch said of the treats. She added the cookies have a “crunch” and a goo, kind of like the sensation people eating bugs might experience, but the cookies don’t contain real cicadas.

It’s not the first pop culture phenomenon to inspire her work. Rausch last summer embraced the “Barbie” movie theme, offering a variety of flavored pink macarons.

Rausch plans to offer the cicada treats at the local farmers market, which opened June 2. She said she’ll offer them as long as the cicadas are out, but procrastinators need not worry as she does custom orders.

She’s given them out to friends, neighbors and co-workers so far. “If they like macarons, they like it,” Rausch said.

Mama Bear Macarons, a home kitchen based out of the Lake in the Hills area, will be offering cicada-themed cookies at the local farmers market. Courtesy of Christine Rausch

Local artists have also found inspiration in the bugs. Tammy Maher of Cary started an Etsy shop as a retirement hobby, making 20-ounce tumblers and mugs.

When the solar eclipse happened in April, Maher said she was inspired by the themed merchandise and “thought I would add in the cicadas.”

While she hasn’t heard the cicadas in Cary, she said she did see them on the ground while golfing in Bull Valley.

Her shop currently carries a tote bag that reads, “Survived the solar eclipse and cicadas,” and two golf towels with cicada designs.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.