Monday, July 17, 2017

Loaded Persimmon Cookies

Emma is a classic middle child. She is generally easy to please and entertains herself quite well. She lands in between two very demanding siblings who take up a lot of her parents' time. She is generally ok with this and does not put up too much of a fuss. The downside of her complacency is that I fear she is too easy to forget. Far too often, we plan activities and outings based on the preference of our eldest son and youngest daughter, leaving Emma to just "go along" with whatever is decided. While this is fine and dandy for the most part, and she rarely if ever complains, I do want to ensure that she feels special once in a while.

Emma discovered that she loves roller coasters and amusement park rides during our visit to Idlewild earlier this summer. Matthew, however, is terrified of virtually every ride outside of a carousel or slow train ride. He gets that from his father who has voiced many, many times that he is "not a fan" of coasters or thrill rides in general. I'm still disappointed that he never once went to Cedar Point with me during our college years.

So, I decided to take Emma on a mother-daughter date to the local amusement park and buy ride-a-rama tickets for the evening for the two of us. She was so excited to go! We ate an early dinner and then headed down to the park with Emma chatting loudly the entire time about how she wanted to ride the biggest roller coaster of them all. I warned her that she, so far, has not inherited her mother's height and probably was going to be a bit too small for some of the larger rides. That didn't seem to bug her as long as she could ride a coaster of some type. Thankfully for us, as long as an adult accompanied her, Emma could ride almost everything in the park!

We had the greatest time! I so delighted in watching Emma's facial contortions as the rides threw us up and around as well as hearing her gleeful laughter. After our second ride on one of the coasters, Emma adopted the practice of holding her hands up the entire time because, according to her, "it's more fun that way!" Meanwhile being the worrisome mother I am, I kept encouraging her to hold on tight to the lap bars or keeping my arm wrapped tight around her waist as an extra precaution against her suddenly catapulting off the ride. Not once was Emma nervous or scared during the rides - and there were a couple rides where I prayed until the torture was over! She wanted to keep riding long after her poor aging mother was feeling nauseated, sore and exhausted. But that is what I have always loved and admired about her - her wild, carefree, and adventurous spirit! It was such a joy to share that evening with her. I will never forget it!

She is an absolute maniac. 

As we were going up in the large, gondola-style Ferris Wheel, we were treated to some spectacular views of the surrounding water as well as a gorgeous setting sun. It was thrilling to see, but then I made the mistake of looking down. I gasped and shut my eyes. I'm not so nervous when I am riding by myself or with an adult, but being that high up with my tiny little girl, all sorts of horrible thoughts of her plummeting to the ground kept racing through my mind. At that moment, Emma shifted in her seat to get a better look at the ground and I completely flipped out: "Don't you dare move from your seat! Stay put until we are back on the ground!" Emma looked utterly confused and then rubbed my arm while cooing in her most soothing voice, "It's ok, Mommy. Ferris Wheels are supposed to take you high into the sky! That's what they do!"

Sunset from atop the Ferris Wheel.

We stayed up past 10 pm riding as many rides as we could. It was pretty fun to be out so late enjoying the warm summer air, the beautiful glowing lights of the Ferris Wheel, carousel, and the other attractions in the park, while bonding with my daughter over our mutual love of free falling. As we finally left the park and headed towards our car, Emma squeezed my hand and told me, "I had the best time with you on our date!"

I just love her. That night was one of the most fun I have had in a long time. She is such a precious little thing and I feel so honored to be her mother.

Continuing the theme of special mother-daughter time together, Emma and I cleaned out the last of the persimmons from the freezer and made a batch of my grandmother's persimmon cookies while the boys did some more construction work outside the house. Emma was very skeptical of the persimmons as she watched me slice the tops off and scoop the gooey, gelatinous, bright orange pulp from the insides. My favorite part of the persimmons is the skin - I find them so sweet they are almost like candy! I offered Emma a piece but she balked at the idea of eating it. Her loss!

However, once she saw how much butter, sugar, cranberries, raisins, and nuts went into the batter, she couldn't help but venture a taste. Then I nearly had to banish her from the kitchen until after all the cookies were scooped and baked lest she consume all the batter raw! While not a fan of the persimmons themselves, Emma is very much in love with the finished cookies. I told her that they are one of my favorite treats as well and bring back so many childhood memories for me. She replied, "They're my favorite too but not that orange stuff by itself because it's gross, right Mom?"

One of these days, I'll get her to taste a ripe persimmon that is completely unadorned and masked by butter, sugar, and dried fruit and she will be a convert. Guaranteed.

I have already posted these cookies on my blog, but I did tweak the recipe slightly to produce taller, puffier cookies that are a little nicer on the eyes. These cookies will still never win awards for their beauty, but they are certainly as tasty as they are ugly. As an additional bonus, they are a bit healthier than the average cookie and are quite filling, making them an ideal snack to take with you during hiking or camping trips. If you can get your hands on some hachiya persimmons (I'm looking at you, you lucky Californians!), be sure to bake some cookies!

Persimmon Cookies
tweaked  from my Grandmother's recipe

1 cup butter (I like salted in this recipe)
2 cups (400 g) sugar
2 eggs
2 cups persimmon pulp
4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to Bake at 325 degrees. Grease or line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg, and then add persimmon pulp.  Mix well (the mixture will still be a bit clumpy).

In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and whisk together by hand until well combined, about 30 seconds. Stir the dry mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined.

Stir in the nuts and dried fruit.

Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared sheet pan.  Keep cookies small and far apart as they spread out. Bake for 15-18 minutes, depending on how large your cookies are. Remove from the oven when the cookies are just set and light golden around the edges, taking care not to dry them out. Allow to cool and serve.


  1. Talk about a burst of nostalgia! We,had,a persimmon tree growing up so mom made these all the time. I have her recipe but will be trying yours with the dried cranberries!

    1. Grandma sent me a big box full of persimmons when she heard how much I loved them! I have been making so many persimmon baked goods with them, but I also enjoy eating them straight! They are so delicious!!