Persimmon Cookies

Persimmon trees are often planted as decorative trees; around November, the trees begin to lose their leaves and what remains are bright orange fruit hanging from the trees like Christmas ornaments. I received some hachiya persimmons from a neighbor’s tree recently with which to make cookies. First they needed to ripen, the process of which we speeded up by placing them in a brown paper bag. When they were finally ripe (it took a few weeks), I found a grocery store recipe for persimmon cookies. The problem was that the cookies were missing that special something; they were too plain on their own. So, I improvised with a glaze that uses some of the persimmon pulp for color and orange zest for added tang. The result was terrific. The orange glaze complements and accents the persimmon and cinnamon of the cookies.

persimmons.jpg

Persimmons come in two varieties – Fuyu and Hachiya – with very different properties. Fuyu persimmons are short and squat, looking a little like tomatoes; they are meant to be peeled, sliced, and eaten like apples. Hachiya (those pictured are unripe Hachiya) are larger than the Fuyu and somewhat acorn shaped. They need to ripen completely. Unripe hachiyas are extremely astringent and will make your mouth pucker if you try to eat them. When the Hachiya persimmon behaves like a seriously overripe tomato (completely soft to the touch all around) and its insides are a slurry, that’s when they can be opened, and the sweet pulp spooned out and eaten. One makes baked goods like these persimmon cookies with the pulp from Hachiya persimmons.

Persimmon Cookies Recipe

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 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 Hachiya persimmon puree*
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Glaze:

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

*Cut off the top of a very ripe hachiya persimmon (should be completely soft to the touch) and use a spoon to scoop out the pulp. Discard any seeds that might be there. Each persimmon should yield anywhere from 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of pulp.

Method

persimmon-cookies-1.jpg persimmon-cookies-2.jpg

1 Cream butter, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl. Add persimmon puree, stirring until blended.

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

5 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.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

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23 Comments

  1. obachan

    Hi
    I made persimmon mousse a few weeks ago and felt the same way… it was rather plain. I thought about making persimmon sauce or something to add more flavor next time, and your persimmon glaze gave me some idea. Grated orange peel really sounds good!

    Obachan – are the Hachiya popular in Japan? When I lived in Kyoto the only persimmons I found were the Fuyu. We used to peel them and serve them in slices with toothpicks. I was told that they were best if picked on a night with a full moon. They were so delicious. ~Elise

  2. obachan

    Hi again,

    Hachiya are not very popular, but we do have some. My parents have 2 hachiya trees. To eat Hachiya, they wet each persimmon partially with some distilled spirit while still firm and bitter, then put all of them in a plastic bag and keep at a warm place (usually Kotatsu). After several weeks, they turn very sweet and a little softer than Fuyu, but not too soft. This sarashigaki is my favorite. Never heard about picking persimmons on a full-moon night, though. Are you sure that the story isn’t about stealing persimmons?? ;P

    Hi Obachan- Perhaps that’s how people discovered they were so good! Actually my friend has a persimmon tree in his yard. He’s noticed over the years that the persimmons picked on the night of a full moon have many more of the small dark brown speckles in them, and those speckles have something to do with the sweetness. Who knows? He laughs at this old wives tale, but can’t explain why his persimmons are different on full moon nights. Thanks for the tip on Hachiyas. I’ll try dampening them with some spirits next time. ~Elise

  3. Ramah

    I recently moved into a house with an enormous Hachiya persimmon tree and a magnificent crop of persimmons. My favorite way to eat them is when they’re not entirely soft, but about the texture of very soft peaches–and they’re good with a little lemon juice. I’ve been drying them in a fruit dryer (sliced, with the skin removed), and the dried fruit, covered with dark chocolate, is a real treat. The persimmon pudding recipe in “Joy of Cooking” is a good one, and it is wonderful with some whipped cream laced with a little Grand Marnier Liquor. Persimmon ice cream is also a good idea–with the sweetness cut with lemon juice or lemon zest. More ideas? Please share them.

  4. Paulette

    I’ve been making persimmon cookies for years…my recipe has been handed down through generations of Butte County pioneers. I add cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg and raisens, these are a Christmas tradition which my friends and family love. I’ve found that placing the persimmons in the freezer over night makes them ripen immediately.

  5. Donna

    I’ve been making persimmon bread and cookies from my grandma’s recipes for more than 50 years, and like to review other recipes to see if anyone has come up with updates that I might like to try. Only thought is, now that persimmons are becoming more popular again, I might not be getting free persimmons from friends that don’t know what to do with them. You see, they bought properties that came with trees that have strange orange “things” hanging on them, and I’m the only one they know that likes them, or knows what to do with them. Oh lucky me. Grandma taught me to freeze them overnight; next day, nice and ripe.

  6. rascal

    I loved my persimmon cookies. They came out tasting the best thanks to this wonderful website.

  7. Jacq

    What is the texture of this cookies like ? Is this crispy and crunchy type or cakelike ? I made something similar before and the cookies turned out to be more like muffins.

    The texture is soft not crunchy. ~Elise

  8. Geri

    I would like to know if the pulp can be frozen for later use? Have you tried this?

    Yes, the pulp can easily be frozen. ~Elise

  9. Laney

    As the persimmons ripen, I spoon out the pulp, add it to a ziplock bag I keep in the freezer… thereby having a supply of pulp for my persimmon bread.

  10. Janys Jordan

    We have a couple persimmon trees that have been on the property since before I was born (a long time ago) and they still produce wonderful fruit each fall. I pick and ripen them and puree them. Then I measure and put in freezer bags for use year round. To use I let them thaw and use as usual.

  11. george

    Yesterday, we made the persimmon cookies from the short wild ones iln Oklahoma. We followed your instructions. They were great. The whole TG family liked them. I just picked some more fruit to make more cookies today. Thanks

  12. Phil

    These cookies came out great. I used the Hachiya persimmons. They took a month to ripen. I purchased them from Wegmans in princeton NJ at Thanksgiving time and they were not ready until December 30th.

    I tried the banana and apple in a paper bag for a week and they did not want to ripen. I think I tried the overnight stay in the fridge twice.

    They were good none the less.

    Thanks for the recipe.

    Phil

  13. Jane Maturin

    I tried this cookie while cleaning a customer’s home. I was hooked. When she told me they were “Persimmon Cookies” I was floored. I always thought I hated Persimmons. We have a tree that was here when we bought this house, and I was giving them away or letting them rot. No more. I made a batch for my family and we’re hooked. Thanks so much!

    If you like the cookies, you should try the persimmon pudding. :-) ~Elise

  14. vonnie rocke

    Can you please tell me how to puree persimmons?

    Hello Vonnie – If you are using ripe hachiya persimmons (which are required by this recipe) you don’t have to purée them. They are so ripe that their insides are like runny go. Already puréed by nature. If you are using a different type of persimmon, like a fuyu, which is hard when it is ripe, you cannot use that type of persimmon for this recipe. ~Elise

  15. Sybil

    Every year a friend of mine gives me bags of hachija persimmons. They ripen to the very soft stage, then I put the pulp in a bowl and use my immersion blender to blend them. I measure out the blended pulp into 1 cup measurement and use individual plastic bags to freeze them. I share these with friends to make persimmon cookies or persimmon bread. I grate whole nutmeg to the recipe, this really makes a difference to the finished baked product.

  16. Lani Thompson

    I have a “family secret” – how to “cure” the Hachiya persimmons in just 3 days, so that you can eat them firm, just like Fuyu persimmons. Be sure to wait until the fruit is completely orange, with black spots.

    Get a bottle of tequila (I buy the cheapest kind), the secret ingredient that will cure the persimmons in a very short time.

    You will need 2 gallon size Ziplock bags (use freezer type), some paper towel, tequila and water.

    Prepare a solution of 1/2 tequila and 1/2 water in a bowl. Place 2 sheets of paper towel that is saturated with the tequila/water mixture. Next, wet just the top of persimmons in the mixture, then place in the plastic bag, stem side down, and seal. Place the bag in another Ziplock bag and seal well.

    Place the bags in the warm place (I put mine on top of fridge or upright freezer) and leave for 3 days. The persimmons are ready to eat firm. My mother (who is from Japan) passed on this “family secret” to me. She has been gone a couple of years but I think about her constantly as I prepare the fruit. Enjoy!

    Vodka works too! ~Elise

  17. RON WILLIAMS

    I have made the cookies as early as yesterday. No matter how i do it the cookies collapse while baking and I cannot figure out why. I followed the recipe to the letter. can you help me with this problem?

    No idea what might be causing this. ~Elise

  18. Lilly

    Hi, thank you very much for this recipe. It gave me a wonderful way to use all those ripe fruits when there are too many to eat them all.
    I’ve made the cookies twice and the’ve already become one of my family’s favorites. They are delicious!

  19. TaraTakesCake

    I just pulled a batch of these out of the oven right now. After I made these in November for the first time I froze persimmon puree knowing I would crave this again. This is my favorite persimmon recipe and one of my favorite cookie recipes! They turn out so wonderfully, hold their shape during baking, and have not yet failed me. I am making 4 dozen to bring to a party today and I am sure they will be eaten quickly!

  20. abbie

    Can I somehow use fuyus for this recipe – maybe if I puree them? I have some and need to get rid of them, what should I make?

    I wouldn’t bother trying to make this recipe with fuyus. You might try a lovely fruit salad though, check out our persimmon, apple, pomegranate fruit salad. ~Elise

  21. Leslie

    These cookies turned out absolutely amazing! They will make the perfect Christmas gift for the neighbors. Thank you so much for such a terrific recipe. Can’t wait to try the persimmon pudding!

  22. Mona Dee

    Making these for the first time and waiting patiently to take them out of the frezzer! I added nutmeg, agave nectar and ginger…they r gonna be soooo good! G-ma will love these! Thanks!

  23. Ed Eisermann

    Found an old recipe of my mother.

    Her recipe included a cup of rasins and nutmeg, 1tsp soda, 2 cups flour and spices all 1/2 tsp rather than what is shown in your recipe. Also it calls for white sugar and no vanilla.

    Ed

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