Have you ever had someone give you something from their backyard tree, and you had no idea what to do with it…and then they ask you a week later what you thought of it? yikes! I’m betting that at least a few of you have friends like this, and hopefully today’s recipe will help you with your “what exactly is this, and what do I do with it?” questions. One of my favorite treats for this time of year is the Hachiya Persimmon. They’re perfect for baking, and they have a “pumpkiny” kind of flavor. My friend Erin brought a bag of them to me from her parents’ tree, so of course, I just had to make these cookies! Plus, when you make this recipe, there’s a really cool science experiment in it…. so call in your kids and WOW them with your awesomeness.
I remember my mom making persimmon cookies when I was young, and I always loved how they were more like special little cakes than cookies. Since they’re not all that common, before I jump into the recipe, here’s a little backstory on the Hachiya Persimmon:
From the Plant Me Green website:
“The Hachiya Persimmon is an astringent, semi-self pollinating, deciduous tree that produces sweet, seedless (or near-seedless) fruit. The fruit is a deep orange red with a dark yellow flesh when it ripens in November. It is oblong conical in shape. Ripe Hachiyas are unbelievably soft, and are often almost liquefied into a silky smooth pulp inside. They will ripen once picked, so you can leave them on the counter to soften until you are ready to use them. The Hachiya is thought of as baking persimmons and are commonly peeled, pureed into a pulp to add to baked goods. They add stable moisture and a mild, pumpkin-like flavor to cakes and other treats. USDA ZONES: Zone 8, Zone 9.”
Now on to the recipe!
Soft Persimmon Cookies
– Makes 4 dozen
2 cups persimmon pulp
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons (yes, Tbsp) vanilla
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325°.
Squeeze persimmons so their pulp falls out into a glass measuring cup, making sure you have the proper amount.
Using a stick blender, purée the pulp. Stir baking soda into the pulp and set aside.
Once the baking soda/persimmon mixture has set (about 5 minutes), you’ll have a crazy surprise. The mixture will have turned from a liquid form…to a solid! It will feel like a jello mold, and you will realize that your high school chemistry class would have been way more fun, had they incorporated food into it.
Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla. Blend in eggs. Add persimmon mixture and blend.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, and spices. Add to butter mixture, adding 1/3 at a time and blending well. Stir in pecans.
Drop onto foil-lined baking sheets and bake for 16 minutes, or till tops are somewhat firm, but bounce back when touched. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet a few minutes. Keeping cookies on foil, slide foil onto countertop and let cookies cool another few minutes.
Once cooled, store in Ziploc bags, between layers of waxed paper.
Cookie dough can also be used to make Persimmon Muffincakes!
Spoon dough into cupcake liners, and bake approximately 25 minutes till tops are firm to the touch.
So there you have it – I hope you enjoy…and I’d love to hear what you think of them!
So now that we’ve touched on the whole “science experiment” idea…. this one came to mind….