Yup, these are officially very ugly cookies-to be precise-very ugly persimmon cookies. But they taste great and they are all part of this lovely autumn I am enjoying.
Growing up in Visalia, I never really experienced autumn. It would be in the 90's well into October and then-at about Halloween, it would suddenly become cold and foggy. The Central Valley, full of orange groves and farm land, would then be covered in a blanket of fog until March. A small burst of good weather and blossoms would be followed by six months of heat and then the cycle starts once more. That is about what happens....
Here in Portland I've been spoiled by autumn. The beautiful colors are really AMAZING this year-there is so much contrast between the evergreens and the reds, oranges, and yellows. My walk to work is along one the most beautifully colored streets in this town-and it's been a pleasure to watch the leaves change and fall.
I am also spoiled by the fact that I work in a natural foods store. I start my work day by walking around the produce section, touching and smelling, sometimes tasting-noticing what we carry that is local produce, what is a new arrival, what is beautiful. My job itself is nothing glamorous-but I love to watch the seasons change through produce.
One thing that we started carrying recently is persimmons. I was surprised to find out that many people have never seen or eaten this fruit. They grow all around the Valley-and frankly- I thought they were pretty nasty when I was a kid. Actually, there are two major kinds-and one is nasty (when eaten raw!). The fuyu looks more like a strange tomato, and I've discovered is great eaten raw. It is a strange fruit-almost pumpkin like in flavor. The hachiya is shaped more like an acorn and is best cooked. Seriously, it leaves a funk in your mouth when raw! Walking around my neighborhood I spotted a persimmon tree:
This is a bad photo-but I am telling you-these trees are gorgeous. They look very surreal. They are almost bare with bright yellow leaves here and there and plump, fiery orange drops hanging from them. Check out jen's beautiful photo oh and this one, too!
I was introduced to persimmon cookies by my good friend Laurence-the son my mother never had. Everyone's grandma always made them-but he convinced me to try one of his and they were great. Mav is posting recipes this month, and as a follower that I am- I will share mine with you!
2 ripe Hachiya persimmons
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon of Chinese five spice (optional but good)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup chopped toasted pecans (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips (great foil!)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the tops off the fruit, chop in pieces and puree them in a blender or with an immersion blender. Add the baking soda to the fruit and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl. Make sure they are good and creamed-then add the egg and persimmon mix. This is a messy mixture, but don't worry. Add the spices and the flour and mix well. Then you may add the nuts and chocolate if you'd like. Now grease a cookie sheets and scoop out small balls of cookie dough at least 1 1/2 inches apart-they grow a bit. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Done!
These taste almost more like a muffin. They're strangely squashy good. You can peel the persimmon-but I like the little orange flecks the peel leaves in the cookie. Enjoy!
*there are no chips or nuts in the ones pictured-as I had neither in the house-they are fine with out them!