Friday, December 9, 2011

Persimmon Cookies

I made quite the mess this week.  While I was baking these cookies I had a moment where I looked around and literally saw 4 loads of unfolded laundry staring at me in the disaster that was my kitchen.  I hadn't even finished cleaning up the mess from making pecan snowballs before I started in on these, and don't even get me started on the office which even the kids remarked was "a mess".  I thought to myself, 'shouldn't I be better at this by now?  Shouldn't I be better at managing my time more appropriately; cleaning up one project before I start another; balancing it all?'  I started to get down on myself a bit and even thought about cancelling lunch with a friend so I can stay home and clean.  Seriously?  Boring and dull.  When I'm 80 I'm sure the memories of a perfectly organized and tidy house aren't going to be the ones that keep me going, but rather time spent baking with my kids and friends over lunch.  

So I let myself continue to make a mess the rest of the day and try to have fun while doing it.  While the mess and chaos that things like baking, crafting and just being lazy bring do drive me a little crazy, I am trying to be better about just letting it go.  The mess will still be there when I'm ready for it right?  So bake and make messes my friends.  And if you're looking for a new recipe to try, perhaps give these a test drive.
The recipe is below and is adapted from one I found on Simply Recipes, but a couple of things to note; your persimmons should be really ripe so that they're almost mushy like the picture above.  A few of my persimmons were not that ripe though so I just peeled and cut them up and tossed them in the food processor with the really ripe pulp and pureed them all together and as you can see below the puree turned out just fine.  Because persimmons are not as sweet when they aren't fully ripe, I added about a tablespoonful of agave nectar to the recipe to heighten the flavor and cut down on any bitterness.  Also, the recipe online calls for 1/4 tsp cloves, but make sure you use ground cloves, not whole cloves.  I also added 1/4 tsp nutmeg for a bit more spiciness. 
If I sound like a persimmon expert then I've successfully fooled you!  I'd never eaten or baked with persimmons before in my life.  I was stumped when I got a bunch of these in my CSA box a few weeks ago (yes, I've had these for about 3 weeks and they're still good).  I didn't even know what to do with them or how to eat them and in passing I mentioned it to my sister-in-law Kendra.  She suggested I bake persimmon cookies, a favorite of hers that her grandmother always used to make for Christmas.  Turns out they're abundance this time of year has made them a favorite ingredient for holiday cookies and the internet holds about a thousand recipes.  
Also, If you'd like your cookies to come out perfectly round, then do a better job rolling them into a log then I did.  The oblong version is the hasty, quick, rushing out the door version.   
Persimmon Cookies - adapted from Simply Recipes
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup very ripe persimmon puree
1-2 tbsp of agave nectar added to puree
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cloves (ground, not whole)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts

1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp persimmon puree
1 tsp grated orange peel

Cream butter, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl. Add persimmon puree, stirring until blended.
Stir together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to persimmon mixture a third at a time, stirring just until flour is incorporated. Stir in nuts.

Lay out plastic wrap on a large smooth surface. Place the cookie dough on the plastic wrap and form into a long cylindrical log, wrapping the dough completely with the plastic wrap. Place in freezer. Chill at least a couple of hours, until frozen or almost frozen.

Preheat oven to 375°F. When dough is fairly solid, unwrap from plastic wrap and slice with a sharp knife, 1/4" thick rounds. Lay out cookie dough rounds on stick-free cookie sheets, leaving at least an inch between the cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies spring back when lightly touched in center. Let cool on baking racks before frosting.

When cookies have cooled, lay out over a sheet of wax paper. Sift confectioner's sugar and then whisk with 2 Tbsp of milk until smooth. Add 1 Tbsp of persimmon puree and 1 tsp of grated orange peel and mix until smooth. Dip spoon into glaze mixture and dribble over cookies. Let harden and serve.
The cookies have a very cakey, almost muffin like texture to them.  They're not crisp if that's the kind of cookie you're looking for.  The glaze on top adds a bit of citrus flavor and heightens the persimmon flavor, and the walnuts give a great texture to what some may consider a "boring" cookie.  For someone like me though that doesn't like really sweet cookies, they're perfect.  I ate a couple while cooking dinner and didn't feel like I was totally cheating ;) 

In addition to making messes, I took the kids to see the new Muppets movie and it was so cute.  It's been so nice having Taylor off of school already.  I definitely recommend it for a fun outing with the family.  What have you all been up to this week?

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