Monday, December 16, 2013

Persimmon Cookies

In late fall and early winter,  persimmons become ready for consumption. Persimmons are originally from Asia and there are basically two types of persimmons, astringent and non-astringent.  The difference between the two is that the astringent ones must be fully ripened, very soft in order to eat.  If not they will be very bitter.  In our area, the most common astringent persimmons are the Hachiya variety.  They are round with a pointed base.  The Fuyu is smaller and has more of a tomato shape.  They can be eaten while the fruit is still firm and are often used in salads, dried or eaten fresh like an apple.

Every year I am blessed to be given ample quantities of both varieties of persimmons.  I find the Hachiya persimmons to be better for baking, though both varieties can be used for baking.  Once ripe I puree them in my food processor and freeze the pulp for later use.

My favorite use of persimmon puree is in persimmon cookies.  There are a million persimmon cookie recipes on the web, all very similar.  Persimmon cookies, to me, will always remind me of my Grandma McGee.  She always had persimmon cookies in her freezer or cookie jar. It was very common for her to take a bag of these cookies to people that she visited. I have very fond memories of baking these cookies with Grandma.  Whenever I or my Mom bake these everyone always brings up a Grandma memory. Persimmon cookies = Grandma's love. The cookies can be frozen, unbaked, or baked and frozen. To freeze them unbaked, just put the dough on a cookie sheet and freeze for 15-20 minutes.  Then put the frozen cookies balls in a Ziploc bag.  When ready to bake, just take out a few cookies and bake as usual.  Either way, they are great, full of flavorful spices, nuts and raisins.
Grandma would be so thrilled to know that her cookie recipe continues to bring her family together.  On this day, my granddaughter (Grandma's great-great granddaughter) and I worked together to make a batch of these cookies (and yes, the pacifier, also known as the "bink", is never far away from her!)
Baking with grandchildren takes longer, makes more messes but the memories made far outweigh the extra work. After she licked the beater and had a few cookies her Mommy picked her up and took her home.  I finished cleaning the kitchen and sat down to enjoy a few cookies and a cup of tea, memories of a beloved Grandma and my granddaughter filling my heart with love.

Grandma McGee's Persimmon Cookies

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch salt

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 cup persimmon pulp

Preheat oven to 350°.

 Sift flour, soda, spices, and salt together.  Stir in raisins and nuts.  Cream butter and sugar together until well blended.  Add beaten egg; cream again.  Beat in persimmon pulp.  Gradually stir in flour, spice, raisin and nut mixture.

 Drop batter onto greased cookie sheet, by teaspoon (I use a small ice cream scoop) and cook for 15-17 minutes.



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