After a recent dinner out, my dad and I popped into a tiny grocery store and picked up a random sampling of items: Mexican cactus fruit, uniquely flavored popsicles (think salted chili cucumber), and a bag of dried white mulberries from Turkey.
That’s one of the things I love about my dad, and something I think I inherited: food curiosity. He’s known to order the most unusual dish on the menu, while I can’t stop experimenting with new ingredients.
Tonight we’d both expected the popsicles to serve as dessert, but we instead ended up polishing off the mulberries before we knew it. They were simply addictive: sweet, tender and almost crispy, with warm notes of vanilla and a buttery essence.
Well, I couldn’t stop thinking about those mulberries after my dad went home. I meditated on their delicate earthy flavor and their complex texture akin to dried figs. The next day, I headed back to the little market for more mulberries, then came home and paired them with whole wheat flour, browned butter, nutmeg, and brown sugar. The concoction proved not only to pay tribute to the fruit, but also to exalt it to a wondrous new level: soft, spiced mulberry oat cookies.
Mulberry Oat Cookies (makes about 30 little cookies)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour**
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1.5 cup rolled oats (not quick)
- 1 cup dried white mulberries**
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a small to medium saucepan, heat the butter over low to medium heat, occasionally stirring gently. Let cook just until melted butter is medium brown and fragrant, being careful not to burn. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm. (Browned butter is often strained at this point, to remove the sandy milk solids, but not in these cookies — I wanted to use all parts of the nutty deliciousness let those slightly smoky speckles shine alongside the complementary flavors.)
Stir the brown sugar and vanilla into the pan of lukewarm browned butter, whisking until mixed. Transfer to a large bowl, and make sure the temperature is not too hot (warm room temperature at most) before adding the egg. Beat in the egg until completely incorporated. Sift over the butter mixture: flour, baking soda and powder, salt and nutmeg. Stir well, until a smooth pasty dough is formed. Fold in oats and mulberries until evenly dispersed, scraping sides and bottom of bowl with spatula. (Unless they’re really large and sharp, there’s no need to remove the berry stems; they soften as they bake.)
Using about 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie, firmly form well-packed dough balls and place them 2 inches apart from one another on the lined cookie sheets; you should have about 30 little cookies. (If you have many more than this, they may be a bit small, requiring a slightly shorter oven time.)
Place in freezer for at least 15 minutes, preheating the oven to 350 F while the raw cookies chill. (At this point, you can store the frozen dough balls in a sealed container and bake at your convenience within a week or two.)
Bake for about 9 – 10 minutes, or just until tops of cookies no longer look wet, and bottoms are toasty brown. (If cookies come out very thick and tall, you can press the centers down gently with the back of a fork while hot.) Let them sit on cookie sheets for 10 minutes before touching or moving. Once cooled, store cookies in an airtight container if not eating right away.
With their soft, tender bite and their deliciously complex texture, mulberry oat cookies are a new favorite in my crowd. Warm with molassesy brown sugar and rich browned butter, the chewy whole mulberries find a perfect home in a hearty and succulent format. Speckles of butter and spice bring on the decadence, while whole wheat and oats offer a balance of wholesomeness. This combination of qualities will make dad proud, and it’s definitely time to bake him some, since my first batch disappeared instantly.
**Maybe next time… I prefer whole wheat pastry flour for this recipe (it adds the richness of whole wheat without the harder, drier texture), but you can use a combination of regular whole wheat flour and all purpose white flour (1/2 cup WW + 1/4 cup AP). And it’s not the end of the world if you need to use all of one or the other of these two.
No dried mulberries? Try sultanas or chopped dried figs.
If your mulberries are very dry — lightweight, quite crisp/crumbly, and not at all tender — they can result in a dry cookie. No problem if you steam them over simmering water for about five minutes or until tender, then pat dry with a clean towel before adding to the dough.
To add even more zing, a spoonful of orange zest would be a nice addition to the dough.
My husband bought some dried mulberries thinking he’d eat them as is, but that didn’t happen. This was the perfect way to use them up. I didn’t have orange zest so used lemon. For me, the recipe made almost 50 small-ish and dainty cookies. I couldn’t wait the 10 minutes, though, and had to eat one right out of the oven. Delicous!
Thank you so much for telling me, Laurie! I’m glad the cookies were enjoyed and helped put the dried mulberries to a delicious use!
(I’m planning to make these again soon and will watch the amount the recipe yields and update it as needed, thanks to you!)
I made the cookies using black mullberries from the tree in my front yard. They are great! Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Kristina, Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me! I’m so glad you enjoyed them. Cheers!
These sound wonderful; I imagine they would make a perfect breakfast cookie! Or that these mulberries (I’ve never had dried ones before…come to think of it, I don’t know if I’ve had fresh ones, either!)) would make a great addition to a spice-filled granola. I will have to try them! I love your foraging and I think it’s really cute that you and your dad just went into this store and came out with a random selection of things. 🙂 It’s the best way to discover new things.
Yes: these cookies are definitely breakfast candidates (and I’ve gleefully devoured my A.M. share with coffee). And dried mulberries in spiced granola would be wondrous! That’s a great idea. I hope you love them if you try them. And on top of being delicious, they are really beautiful: like tiny clusters of grapes from some sweet miniature world…
Wow, everything you make is so unique and sounds so wonderful!! I do not think I have heard of mulberries until now- but they sound so ooey gooey good in these cookies!
Thank you so much, Lilly Sue! Dried mulberries can be hard to find, but are so yummy — especially in cookies 🙂 — and especially if you like raisins or dried figs.
Yes, I think I would really like them! 🙂
I have never had a mulberry before! I will have to try them someday! That is really neat to hear that your Dad is open to trying new ingredients and flavors like you, yourself, are. I am always very impressed by all the creative and unusual combinations you come up with for your sweet creations! These mulberry oat cookies look delicious!
Thank you, Erica! I think you’d like dried mulberries if you like raisins or dried figs. Yes, my dad is an adventurous eater; he likes to try new things, even the most eccentric. (He is a little bit scary to go to Dim Sum with, if you can imagine!) I am not THAT adventurous, or at least not in the same way, but I do feel so inspired and lucky to have a dad who really embraces life with curiosity.
Mulberries! That brings back memories. I have a mulberry (not white) tree in my backyard, and when I was younger I picked a few, rinsed them, and ate them. Yum! But it grosses me out now when I think of it, because I know I totally ate bugs. They’re all over them and hard to get out. 😀
How funny about the mulberries! I’ve actually never had a fresh mulberry of any color. I had a mulberry tree when I was little, too, but ours was a fruitless mulberry, and it was covered with hundreds of fuzzy caterpillars. I loved that magical tree. But alas, the critters got out of control and my mom had it chopped down…