Fall is the season for persimmons, and with persimmons you can make the most wonderful cookies!
These persimmon cookies are cake-y and filled with walnuts and dried sweetened cranberries. I’ve topped them with a sugar glaze that includes persimmon purée and tangy orange zest.
What type of persimmon to use? While wild native persimmons grow throughout the midwestern states, commercial persimmons come in two Japanese varieties—Fuyu and Hachiya—with very different properties.
The Difference between fuyu and hachiya persimmons
Fuyu persimmons are short and squat. You eat them like apples, peeling them and slicing them. They are meant to be firm.
Hachiya persimmons (those pictured here are hachiya) are shaped a little like an acorn, and are larger than the shorter, squat Fuyu persimmons. Hachiya persimmons need to be completely ripe before you can eat them. Unripe hachiyas are extremely astringent and will make your mouth pucker if you try to eat them.
When a hachiya persimmon is completely ripe, it’s squishy, like an overripe tomato, and its insides are more liquid-y than pudding. That’s when the persimmon is ready to eat! Cut it open from the top and use a spoon to scoop out the sweet pulp inside.
How to Make Persimmon Purée
For this persimmon cookie recipe (and for many baked goods using persimmons) you will need persimmon pulp. You can use either ripe hachiya persimmons or fuyu persimmons, but hachiya are the best variety to use for pulp, because they get so soft.
For hachiya persimmons you’ll want to scoop out the pulp with a spoon, discard any seeds and peel, and pulse the pulp with a food processor or blender to make it smooth. (Note that if a hachiya persimmon isn’t completely ripe, it will be too astringent to eat, so make sure your persimmons are squishy soft!)
For Fuyu persimmons, you’ll want to use very ripe (no longer crunchy) persimmons. Peel them, chop them, remove any seeds, and process the chopped persimmons in a food processor.
Can you freeze persimmon pulp? Yes! In fact freezing the pulp is a great way to save the purée for making cookies all year long. Just portion out 1 cup measures of pulp into freezer bags, and lay flat in the freezer to freeze.
Photos and recipe updated December 7, 2017, first published 2005.
Persimmon Cookies Recipe
If using a hachiya persimmon, it should be very ripe and completely soft to the touch. Use a spoon to scoop out the pulp. Discard any seeds that might be there. Each hachiya persimmon should yield anywhere from 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of pulp.
For the cookies:
- 1 cup very ripe persimmon pulp
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 2 cups (270 g) flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup chopped dried cranberries, raisins, or dates
For the glaze:
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- 1 Tbsp persimmon puree
- 1 tsp grated orange peel
1 Prepare persimmon pulp: Using a blender, food processor, or mini chopper, purée the ripe persimmon pulp until smooth. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
2 Beat together the butter and sugars in a large bowl. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix in the persimmon purée and orange zest.
3 In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt.
4 Make cookie dough: Add dry ingredients to persimmon mixture a third at a time, stirring just until flour is incorporated. Stir in nuts and dried fruit.
5 Chill dough for 1 hour.
6 Bake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Drop cookie dough rounds on stick-free cookie sheets, leaving at least an inch between the cookies.
Bake for 13 to 14 minutes or until cookies are browned around the edges and spring back when lightly touched in center. Let cool on baking racks before frosting.
7 Prepare frosting: While the cookies are cooling sift confectioner’s sugar and then whisk with 2 Tbsp of orange juice until smooth. Add 1 Tbsp of persimmon puree and 1 teaspoon of orange zest and mix until smooth. Dip spoon into glaze mixture and dribble over cookies. Let harden before serving.