Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Persimmon Cookies

After reviewing 2 dozen recipes for persimmon cookies online, it seemed that they were all so very similar, despite claims of individual authorship or creation.  One website has three different persimmon cookie recipes - which all have the same ratio of the same ingredients!   For further analysis, I pulled about 18 of them into an excel spreadsheet and organized the ingredients so that I could see the patterns.  You can download my spreadsheet as a 2 page PDF (printable as horizontal-legal).

With few exceptions, the basic persimmon (or even pumpkin) cookie looks like this:

Basic Persimmon Cookie
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c fat (shortening/butter)
  • 1 c fruit, pureed
  • 1 egg (or replacer of your choice)
  • 1 c raisins
  • 1 c nuts (optional)
  • salt (from a pinch to 1 tsp)
  • cinnamon (1/2 to 1 tsp)
  • ground cloves (1/4 to 1/2 tsp)
  • other spices - ground nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom
Instructions: cream sugar & fat.  Sift dry ingredients together in separate bowl.  Add persimmon & egg to creamed sugar/fat & reblend.  Add dry ingredients.  Add raisins.  Spoon onto cookie sheet, bake 12-15 minutes.

RESULT: I made a 4x batch of this recipe and my conclusions and taster responses are as follows:
  • Scott: tastes like Thanksgiving/Xmas, can't tell if it's persimmon or pumpkin
  • Scott's vegan co-worker: approved.
  • Front neighbors: offered that if they were millionaires, they'd give me the start-up cash to go into business creating my own line of foods.
  • Me:  too sweet and not persimmon-y enough.
After thinking about it - and running some ideas past my friend Lacey (author of "I Can't Believe It's Vegan" and partner in new vegetarian wine bar in Oakland called Encuentro) in a chat session last night - I decided on these modifications to the recipe, including omitting nutmeg.

Vegan Persimmon Cookies, Take 2

  • 2 c AP flour
  • 1/2 c Sucanat
  • 1/4 c shortening
  • 1.5 c persimmon pulp
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 T flax meal + 3 T water
  • 1 c raisins
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground cloves

Cream sugar & fat. Puree persimmon in blender, add baking soda/powder/salt/spices & blend again. Add persimmon to sugar/fat & cream again. Whip flaxseeds & water in blender or food processor til frothy. Add to wet mixture & combine thoroughly. Add flour & mix till combined, scraping the sides and bottom. Add raisins. Spoon onto silicone baking sheet liner with teaspoon, rounding batter with fingers or spatula. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Optional: top cookie with 1/4 tsp size of persimmon paste.

RESULT:  if you overbake, the cookies are a bit dry.  The persimmon flavor comes through a bit better; the cookies are more cake-y than crisp/chewy.  I am going to do another batch with 1/3 c shortening instead of 1/4 c to see if that improves texture a bit. I am also going to do a version with granulated maple sugar instead of Succanat.  I'll just update this blog entry instead of starting over.

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