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Christmas Sweets – Persimmon Cookies

2011 December 12

hachiya persimmons

My husband loves to cook and bake. It’s relaxing for him. Yesterday, a friend of ours gave us a bag of very ripe Hachiya persimmons* and he whipped up an old fashioned favorite of our families – Persimmon Cookies. Our house smelled like Christmas. And it reminded me of my Grandma, one of the greatest cooks ever. She was always baking us cookies, cakes, and treats. Her house always smelled like cinnamon. I love that.

The flavors that blend with the rich, ripe pulp of persimmons are fabulous. I’d love to thank the person that invented these cookies. They are not too sweet tasting – instead, your mouth is busy watering over the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  I asked my son what he thought of these holiday treats after devouring a few and he said with a mouthful, “reminds me of pumpkin pie.” His favorite! And that’s an apt comparison as the spices used in this cookie recipe are the similar to what you use in making a pumpkin pie.

Not difficult to concoct, Hubby, made this simple recipe and baked these delectable beauties in no time. This is the time of year to buy persimmons, so find the ripest ones you can and go crazy. Believe me, they will be gone in an instant.

What you’ll need for Persimmon Cookies:
(printable recipe)
- 1/2 cup of shortening
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of persimmon pulp (depending on size, 2 large or 4-5 small very ripe persimmons)
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1 cup of chopped walnuts
- 1 cup of raisins

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt and spices.
3. In a separate bowl, cream the shortening with the sugar using a hand mixer or electric mixer. Next, beat in the egg and persimmon pulp.  Slowly beat in the flour mixture until everything is combined. Last, stir in the nuts and raisins by hand.
4. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. The beauty of this cookie dough is you can drop the spoonfuls close together as they do not spread that much.
5. Depending on the temperature of your oven, Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes – longer if you have a slower oven. It’s best to pull them out when they start to show a little brown edge. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for five minutes and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

This wonderful recipe makes about 36 cookies. Enjoy!

A couple of notes:
If you don’t have cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and don’t feel like running to the store for them, you can use 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice instead. Also, the original recipe called for 1 cup of sugar which I found to be a little too sweet for my taste, so I reduced the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup and found that the spices did the rest. I didn’t feel I missed out in the sweetness department. Persimmons are already naturally sweet when they are at their ripest.

*More on Persimmons
A somewhat misunderstood fruit, their are several types of persimmons. In the midwest, persimmons are a small, walnut-sized hard little fruit that are not ripe until they fall off the tree. This is the variety known as Diospyros virginiana and are indigenous to America. It was one of the first fruits described by pioneering groups and early explorers. But today, this highly-coveted, wild, sweet fruit is rarely seen west of eastern Kansas!

However, for Californians, all is not lost as there are two types of persimmons that are grown commercially. One is Fuyu  – and can be eaten like an apple and the other is better for baking – the kind used in this recipe – called Hachiya. Both the Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons are from the species Diospyros kaki and were originally introduced from Japan. Hachiya persimmons are also a common fruit tree found in many backyards in northern California. If you can’t find persimmons in your local grocery store, try an Asian market or your local Farmers’ Market. Or grow your own tree! For more really great information on how to pick the right kind of persimmon, check out this article on MetroActive’s website.

Persimmons for persimmon cookies on Easy Appetizer blog

For more interesting simple and easy recipes for appetizers, holiday treats and more, you can also visit Easy Appetizer Recipes.

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