Each October the small town of Waynesville, Ohio - about 35 miles northeast of Cincinnati - is home to one of the region's largest outdoor festivals. The Ohio Sauerkraut Festival attracts a massive crowd who come to sample everything from sauerkraut pizza to fudge and sauerkraut ice cream. I have attended this festival before and, wow, it really is like stepping into a slow-moving river of people who flow from one end of the street fair to the next. Waynesville is a quaint place to visit when the Sauerkraut Festival is not going on, boasting an array of antique shops that has earned the town its moniker of the "Antiques Capital of the Midwest." But during festival time the town becomes a sprawling metropolis for two days when over 350,000 people descend upon this village for a taste of kraut. The thing is when you bake sauerkraut into different items it really dries out and takes on the consistency of, say, shredded coconut. Kraut, washed well and baked into brownies or bread, is very different than the juice-soaked kraut you might pile onto your hot dog.
The brownies pictured in these photos were actually baked by Der Dutchman, an Amish style restaurant in Plain City, Ohio (about 90 minutes from Waynesville). Der Dutchman had a booth at the festival. Ironically, Der Dutchman had a full restaurant in Waynesville for years until it burnt down in a fire several years ago. Homemade sauerkraut is a staple in Amish kitchens as are brownies, so it is not surprising that Der Dutchman decided to marry the two and make a brownie out of it. Yum!
So if you are a sauerkraut fan, make plans to visit Waynesville next October!
By the way, I did find a recipe online for homemade sauerkraut brownies. You can click here to see the recipe for sauerkraut brownies. I will say, however, that if I had some sauerkraut I'd just experiment by simply adding a cup or two of it to my favorite chocolate brownie recipe and see what happens. The addition of kraut gives the brownie a moist, nuanced texture. Just be sure to rinse your kraut very well so it doesn't taste vinegary or pickly.