Every once in a while you get a tune stuck in your head that you just can’t shake. Right now, “Treasure” by Bruno Mars is on my mind when I wake up and when I go to sleep. The kids run around the house with their toothbrushes belting out the lyrics at an alarming pitch. We’re now quite sure there are no musical prodigies among us. There was that carpet commercial with the telephone number put to music that would have us all singing the jingle along with the television like classically conditioned Pavlov’s dogs. When the kids were younger and we were listening to a barrage of toddler tune cds, it was “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush” that stuck in our head.
We have a mulberry tree in the backyard. Technically it’s in the neighbor’s yard, but they never eat the berries so we pilfer them. The mulberries are gone by the end of June, but when the tree is filled with those little deep purple treats, the kids enjoy dragging the bathroom step stool out the door and through the backyard, where we spend at least 10 minutes finding a level spot and debating where we should put it in order to pick the best berries. What the kids don’t pick, the deer eat. Every night in the summer we watch at least half a dozen deer slowly walk through the yard to munch on an evening snack plucked from the tree. The kids sit at the window, “oh” and “ah” over the fawns, and try to count the number of points on the male antlers.
A friend who tolerates our food pushing tendencies and is well aware of the Big Biscotti Bake dropped off a bag of dried mulberries for us one day. We’ve enjoyed fresh mulberries, but never dried. When we opened the bag, the shriveled up brown berries looked less than appetizing. But, then we tried them. They were so chewy and full of sweetness we were sure they would taste fabulous in biscotti paired with pecans.
Mulberry Pecan Biscotti
YIELD: approximately two dozen
2 ¾ cups flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup ground pecans
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup dried mulberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
2. In a large flat-bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pecans, and nutmeg.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.
4. With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.
5. Add the mulberries and knead until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.
6. Separate the dough in thirds. Form three logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave several inches between the logs. The dough will spread as it bakes.
7. Drizzle each log with agave and spread to cover the top with your fingers. Sprinkle with brown sugar and ground pecans.
8. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split. Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
9. Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board. Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
What to do with the ends #23: Craft a sundial with the ends to tell time.