Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Persimmon Cookies

Photo Credit: Succulent Succotash
A Little Persimmon Cookie
Persimmons are in season in the Fall, so I have been getting the Fuyu variety in my CSA basket every other week.

I like firm and crunchy fruit. So, when my persimmons start getting a little soft, I get a little sad.

About five years ago, a former co-worker told me about how she uses persimmons in bread puddings and cookies. I grew up eating persimmons, but haven't really seen them in baked goods.

With my mushy persimmons, I decided to make cookies for the first time in my life. Enough of the excuses for not baking, I needed an excuse to use my overripe autumnal fruit!

Just a note, persimmon cookies aren't really your idea of cookies. They are more like cookie-shaped muffin tops or non-custardy bread pudding bites. These "cookies" are soft and incredibly moist. They are the perfect bite for this season.

Before I share the recipe for the cookies, you'll need to prep persimmon puree in advance.

How to Make Persimmon Puree

If you find yourself with overripe persimmons, don't throw them away, even if they look like they're on the verge of rotting.

Typically, persimmon puree is made with Hachiya persimmons (oblong) since they are consumed when very soft & pulpy. But, Fuyu persimmons (squat & flat) can work as well as long as they are very, very ripe.
Photo Credit: Succulent Succotash

I pierced skin on the bottom side with a spoon, then scooped out the flesh. I blended in my Vitamix at speed 4-6. You don't want to run it too high or too long as it will become closer to juice than a puree. I only had two to start with, so I froze the puree until I had more. 

Here is the how the pulp looked before I blended it.  
Photo Credit: Succulent Succotash

Here is how the puree looked after I blended it. 

Photo Credit: Succulent Succotash
Persimmon Puree
When I was ready to bake, I thawed my frozen puree in the fridge the night before. Then, I left it out on the counter while I was prepping my ingredients to come to room temp.

Recipe for Persimmon Cookies

Adapted from this recipe to be gluten-free

Truth be told, I ran out of my Arrowhead Mills AP Flour, so I put together the following combo: 2 cups Arrowhead Mills GF AP Baking Mix + 1 cup homemade sweet rice & sorghum gf flour blend + 1 cup brown rice & coconut flour gf flour blend
  •  2 tsp baking soda
  •  1 tsp ground cinnamon
  •  1 tsp ground ginger I used 1 tbsp of freshly grated ginger
  •  Dash of fresh ground nutmeg (optional) I grated about 1/4 of the whole nut over a microplane
  •  1 cup butter, equivalent to 16 tbsp or 2 sticks
  •  2 cups white sugar I reduced to 1.5 cups
  •  3 large organic eggs, room temperatureThe original recipe called for 2 eggs, but since gf flours need more moisture, especially coconut flour, I decided to increase. 
  •  2 cups organic persimmon puree, room temperature* (about four persimmons)
*Please see last section below for tips on baking with room temperature ingredients

The Ingredients

Preheat an oven to 375 F.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a bowl; set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Full disclosure, I don't own a stand or hand mixer. So, I Macgyver-ed this recipe using my Vitamix
Select Variable 1. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 4-6. Blend for 10-15 seconds or until ingredients are creamed. See below for quick video on how I did this. 
Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Then, mix in the persimmon pulp.
Repeat step above to blend in Vitamix.

Mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated.
Blend in Vitamix for 15-30 seconds or until well mixed, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades. Then, transfer to large bowl.

Drop spoonfuls of the dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. The dough will be very thick. 

My cookie I used a kitchen tablespoon rather than a teaspoon. Cookie scoopers are on their way from Sur La Table as we speak. These will help my cookies to be more uniform in shape and smoother in exterior texture.

Photo Credit: Succulent Succotash
Persimmon Cookie Dough
Bake in the preheated oven until slightly puffed and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. I don't know if it's because my house is cold, but I had to do 15-18+ to get it brown. I monitored it every two minutes.

Note: I have a small oven, so I decided to freeze half of the batch for future use. I placed a baking sheet filled with portioned cookie batter in the freezer, then transferred frozen cookies to a freezer-safe container or bag.

Tips for Room Temperature Ingredients

Here's a video from Real Simple on Baking with Room Temperature Ingredients:

How long does it take butter and eggs to come to room temperature? At least 30 minutes to one hour. 

If you want to speed up the process, you can microwave the butter for 5-10 seconds, being careful not to let it melt. For eggs, you can place them in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot!) water. 

What other purees do you like to use in your baking?

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