Persimmon Cookies Recipe
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Persimmons are perhaps the most beautiful fruit of the fall, but have you ever wondered if they have a purpose other than table decoration?  Where I grew up, persimmon trees were abundant.  While we didn’t have persimmon trees of our own, every fall my grandmother had persimmons ripening in the fruit bowl, thanks to generous neighbors.

And at Gigi’s house, persimmon cookies were always the inevitable destination of those glowing orange fruit.  Wonderful, moist, sticky, spicy persimmon cookies.

Thinking back on it, it seems odd that the only thing I ever learned about persimmons was that they turned into cookies.  Growing up, I never tasted an actual persimmon and I never heard about any other persimmon recipes.  It was just understood that they would turn into cookies.  And since persimmon cookies are one of my all-time favorites, it never occurred to me that they might be used for anything else.

Why mess with a good thing, right?

Well, it turns out that there’s a reason why no one in my family ate raw persimmons. The variety we grew up with were hachiya persimmons, and they can’t be eaten raw until they are so completely ripe, they’ve turned into a gelatinous goo.  Doesn’t sound very appetizing, right?  If this astringent fruit is eaten too early, you’ll apparently never forget the experience.  And it’s for this reason, that hachiya persimmons have gotten a bad rap.

But the ripened hachiyas are excellent for baking, and they make a darn good cookie!

Luckily, it turns out that there is another type of persimmon that is good for eating. And I just tried it for the first time this year.  Fuyu persimmons are the short and squat variety that can be eaten raw like an apple, even when they aren’t fully ripened.  Fuyus are very sweet and don’t have the mouth-puckering astringent quality present in the hachiya varieties.

Fuyu persimmons (left) are good for eating raw, while hachiyas (right) are best for baking.

As I mentioned earlier, I tasted fuyu persimmons for the very first time this year, and although it was good and sweet, I didn’t feel like it had a very distinctive flavor on it’s own.  I think fuyu persimmons would be best chopped and added to a green salad, or even mixed with another type of fruit.  But since it is a very new discovery to me, I haven’t done much experimenting.

When it comes to persimmons, my true love will always be these cookies made with the misunderstood hachiya.  This recipe calls for one cup of persimmon puree and you’ll probably need about three extremely ripe hachiya persimmons to get that amount of puree.  When I say extremely ripe, I mean the insides of the fruit have turned completely to mush and the skin has become translucent.  Leave the persimmons on the counter for a few days if they aren’t ripe enough when you purchase them (they probably won’t be).

I put my persimmons through a food mill to get a smooth puree and remove the skins all at once, but you could also squeeze the pulp right out of the skin and puree with a blender or food processor.

Now this was my very first time making persimmon cookies.  My grandmother had always made them for me, so I never felt the need to learn.  But now that Gigi is no longer with us, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I don’t have her exact recipe, but my friend Ruby found one for me that sounded very similar.  It seems like everyone in my hometown makes the same type of persimmon cookies and I really wouldn’t be surprised they all come from the same recipe!

These cookies are not the prettiest things in the world.  They don’t spread when you bake them, so whatever weird shape comes off your spoon onto the baking sheet is what you’re stuck with!  They also turn very moist and sticky after a day of storage.  That’s the way I really like them!  I was a bit disappointed when they came out of the oven because they looked nothing like the cookies I remembered.  But one night of storage in a Tupperware container brought out the familiar sticky and moist texture.

The cookies are chock full of raisins, walnuts, and warm spices so they really are the perfect cookie for fall.  They also freeze well, so you can make a bunch of them now to enjoy throughout the winter.  I’ll be freezing a bag today for my husband to enjoy when he gets back in town.  Although he didn’t grow up eating them, he grew to love Gigi’s persimmon cookies almost as much as I did.

We all really miss my grandmother and I’m grateful to have this cookie recipe that will always remind me of her.

Persimmon Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup persimmon pulp
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon*
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt and spices; set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, cream the shortening with the sugar using a hand mixer. Beat in egg then beat in persimmon pulp.  Slowly beat in the flour mixture until everything is combined.  By hand, stir in the nuts and raisins.
4. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. They can be placed close together because these cookies don’t spread much.
5. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: approximately 36 small cookies

Recipe notes: *I used 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice to replace the cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.  I used a 2-Tablespoon cookie scoop which made cookies that were a little larger than usual and ended up with 24 cookies.  Since my cookies were so large, I ended up baking them for 16 or 17 minutes.  Although I generally prefer butter over shortening in almost all of my baking, I wanted to stay true to this original recipe because it reminds me of my childhood.  You can certainly experiment with using butter if you prefer, but leave some space between the cookies, because they will probably spread a little.  These cookies are also very sweet, so the sugar could probably be reduced a bit if desired.

I used a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to measure out the dough. These were larger than a normal persimmon cookie, and I'll probably use a smaller scoop next time.

I used a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to measure out the dough. These were larger than a normal persimmon cookie, and I’ll probably use a smaller scoop next time.

As you can see, the cookies don't change shape much when you bake them.

As you can see, the cookies don’t change shape very much when you bake them!

For more detailed information about the two types of persimmons, please read the wonderful Persimmon Pleasures post at Tea & Cookies.

For those of you just tuning in this month, I’m happy to say that I’m participating in the National Blog Posting Month challenge. For this year’s edition of NaBloPoMo, I’ve pledged to post a new recipe every single day for the month of November. If you don’t want to miss a recipe, sign up to receive my recipes by e-mail. You’ll only receive an e-mail when I write a new blog post, and your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose. Interested? Sign up now!

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43 Comments
  1. Jo

    I also love persimmons and I am currently drowing in overripe fuyu. I made a persimmon bar similar to a lemon bar last night.

    Thanks for posting more recipes to try with them.

    10:07 am  Nov 20th, 2008
  2. Steffanie

    I tried this recipe yesterday and they were WONDERFUL. I used butter instead of shortening (I just can’t bear to touch that stuff) and they didn’t spread out when baked–they stayed the same shape as yours. However, I will say that everyone I served them to thought that they were pumpkin cookies. I don’t blame them, the combination of spices is pretty much identical, but I wonder if there’s a way to bring out the flavor of the persimmons more… any ideas?

    1:47 pm  Nov 24th, 2008
  3. Heidigoseek

    thanks for the great recipe. our friend gave us some persimmons from her tree. i made these and they were great. i substituted butter. it baked into a nice, relaxed cookie. didn’t spread too much.
    happy thanksgiving!

    3:33 pm  Nov 26th, 2008
  4. [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    I’m really, really on the fence about persimmons: I don’t like them that much but I can’t write them off. Especially when I see beautiful food like these cookies. Maybe I should try these cookies to help me make up my mind about persimmons. Hm, that sounds like a plan.

    Bookmarked: thanks!

    11:43 pm  Nov 26th, 2008
  5. Fall into Winter « Cavioidea Views

    [...] lanterns hung high in the skeleton of branches. As I stood, transfixed, I suddenly knew – these are persimmons. And I knew this because I read food blogs, where these strange fruits popped up recently. This [...]

    9:02 pm  Nov 30th, 2008
  6. Swirling Notions » Persimmon Debacle

    [...] Persimmon Cookies by Nicole at Pinch My [...]

    3:33 pm  Dec 12th, 2008
  7. Kathryn Kersh Nicholson

    My late mother-in-law used to make cookies that were similar to these. My children just gobbled them up. Here in East Texas persimmons grow wild. It is well known among the old-timers such as my late parents, that persimmons are not ready to be consumed until “first frost”. Most of those in our area are eaten by racoons and possums, simply because they get to them first. Some of our neighbors have the larger oriental persimmon trees in their yards. Perhaps someone will let me have a couple and I’ll send over some cookies to them in exchange. Thanks for the great recipe!

    4:13 pm  Jan 17th, 2009
  8. Elizabeth

    When you freeze the cookies, do you do so before or after baking them?

    10:42 am  Oct 29th, 2009
  9. Nicole

    Elizabeth: Thanks for your question! They freeze well after baking.

    2:11 pm  Oct 29th, 2009
  10. Spiced Persimmon Cake with Dates and Lemon Glaze : Andrea Meyers

    [...] Pinch My Salt – Persimmon Cookies [...]

    9:25 am  Nov 4th, 2009
  11. Persimmon Recipes « Beneficial Farms CSA

    [...] Cookies from the Pinch My Salt Blog, submitted by AliceClick here for the link Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)My favorite fruitgo on now, [...]

    4:34 pm  Nov 5th, 2009
  12. GramercyGal

    My grandmother used to make persimmon cookies around this time of year, and they were my absolute favorite. I didn’t have the chance to get her recipe before she passed, but these sound just like them! I can’t wait to make these and see if they’re like my grandmothers. Thanks for sharing!!

    12:26 pm  Nov 6th, 2009
  13. Barbara

    I have a great persimmon bread recipe it’s spicy with cayanne pepper in it.
    PERSIMMON QUICK BREAD
    PESIMMON PUREE (3 PERSIMMONS = 2 CUPS)
    BLEND 1 C. PERSIMMON WITH 1 1/2 TSP. LEMON JUICE THEN STIR IN 1 TSP OF SODA (THIS IS PER CUP OF PERSIMMON). PUREE, LET STAND 5 MIN., AND SET ASIDE.
    COMBINE:
    2 1/2 C. FLOUR
    1/2 C. SUGAR
    1 TSP. SALT
    1 TSP. NUTMEG
    1 TSP. CINNAMON
    1/2 TSP. CAYANNE
    2 1/2 TSP. BAKING POWDER
    1/2 C. BROWN SUGAR
    1 C. NUTS (WALNUTS)
    MIX:
    1/3 C. MILK
    3 T. OIL
    1 EGG
    IN A 2 QUART MEASURING CUP STIR AND BLEND INTO PUREE. ADD MIXTURE INTO FLOUR MIXTURE. STIR WITH WOODEN SPOON INTO GREASED LOAF PAN.
    I USE PAM.
    BAKE 350 DEGREES FOR 1 HOUR AND 15 MINUTES.
    HINT:
    I FREEZE THE OTHER CUP OF PERSIMMON PUREE IN A ZIP LOCK BAG WITH THE 1 1/2 TSP. LEMON JUICE MIXED IN. I WRITE ON ZIP LOCK ADD 1 TSP. SODA WHEN USING FOR BREAD.

    11:58 am  Nov 13th, 2009
  14. Gigi

    Hi thanks for the recipe. I have not made them yet. I am having a cookie exchange next month and thought these sounded wonderful. It will be my first time baking with Persimmons. I am so excited…. I will keep you posted. I think I will use butter instead of shortening…. or maybe I do a batch of each and see what the difference is if any … thanks a million …. Gigi

    4:03 am  Nov 18th, 2009
  15. Suzy Collins

    “Gelatinous Goo” ??? This description of the delicious fruit of the fall could only have been written by a very non-adventureous, uninformed food connoisseur . I have eaten several hundred hachiya persimmons plucked directly from the tree, sometimes allowed to ripen for a few days. They can be eaten with the skin, peeled and placed in a bowl and eaten with a spoon or stired into jello. One of my favorites is mixed with cottage cheese and pomegranates. I do make cookies and breads, but hate to lose so much flavor of the wonderful fresh, uncooked persimmon. In recent years the graft of a Persimmon tree created the delicious Fuyu Persimmon which can be eaten like an apple while still firm. Much different flavor but also one of my favorites. Many foods need special attention (ripening) prior to consuming. Ever had fresh, young asparagus, prior to full growth–yummm!! In reverse — ever try a fresh olive plucked from the tree — yuck. Point is to experiment with food prior to writing it off.

    11:08 am  Nov 21st, 2009
  16. Suzy

    “Gelatinous Goo” ??? What a terrible description of the beautiful, delicious fruit of the fall could only have been written by a very non-adventureous, uninformed food connoisseur . I have eaten several hundred hachiya persimmons plucked directly from the tree, sometimes allowed to ripen for a few days. They can be eaten with the skin, peeled and placed in a bowl and eaten with a spoon or stired into jello. One of my favorites is mixed with cottage cheese and pomegranates. I do make cookies and breads, but hate to lose so much flavor of the wonderful fresh, uncooked persimmon. In recent years the graft of a Persimmon tree created the delicious Fuyu Persimmon which can be eaten like an apple while still firm. Much different flavor but also one of my favorites. Many foods need special attention (ripening) prior to consuming. Ever had fresh, young asparagus, prior to full growth–yummm!! In reverse — ever try a fresh olive plucked from the tree — yuck. Point is to experiment with food prior to writing it off.

    11:12 am  Nov 21st, 2009
  17. nana

    The persimmons in E Texas can be put into the freezer to ripen. Dont have to wait for the coons to take them. Sometimes we never have a frost.

    6:57 pm  Nov 23rd, 2009
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    [...] problem was the lack of persimmon recipes out there; I wasn’t interested in making a bread, cookies or pickles out of them, but I knew I wanted to do right by my orange friends by making [...]

    5:32 pm  Dec 8th, 2009
  19. Shannon

    these were delicious!! i am in love :) thanks for sharing!

    2:36 pm  Dec 13th, 2009
  20. Surati Ivey

    I just got turned on to the 2 kinds of persimmons. There are trees in my neck of the woods. Here’s a SUPERB fruit salad I served with my Turkey Dinner. It was so fresh & lively and delish, flavor wise and color-wise.

    3 fuyu persimmons, chopped, 1 pomegranite’s seeds, 2 fuji apples, peeled and chopped. Put in bowl. Mix 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice and a little honey or agave, pour over salad & mix. Add 6-8 fresh spearmint leaves, cut chiffonade. That’s it. You’ll love it ! And the color. wow.

    Make sure the persimmons are softish & tender, but not gooey and mushy. The other variety are the ones to eat mushy.

    11:33 pm  Dec 16th, 2009
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    9:36 am  Dec 18th, 2009
  22. Giulie

    Love your recipe and love your blog and photos. Check out KitchenBite.com – similar in feel to your lovely site. Thank you for the recipe!

    10:11 am  Dec 19th, 2009
  23. Tamara

    Why do some persimmon cookies loose their shape. There’s a trick to it. I had a recipe from my father’s old girlfriend. She has since passed. She stated to put the soda with the persimmon pulp. Did you do that?

    6:49 pm  Dec 24th, 2009
  24. Amy C

    Your grandmother and mine must’ve gotten them from the same place (or known each other) as I have the exact same recipe but the ingredients are in a different order! :) Didn’t the mix of persimmon and baking soda freak you out the first time?!?! Turns into almost a jello-like substance but oh how they taste fabulous! One of my favorite memories as well!

    10:52 am  Nov 14th, 2010
  25. Maria

    My mom would also make persimmon cookies from the trees we had in Vista, CA. They were delicious with a spicy taste to them. I will try to make them with that recipe. Thanks

    6:03 pm  Nov 14th, 2010
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  27. treelovers Treehuggers

    This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality.
    this is very nice one and gives in depth information. thanks for this nice article.

    12:49 am  Dec 2nd, 2010
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    12:42 pm  Aug 4th, 2011
  31. Corrie

    Did you happen to have a Japanese neighbor? Persimmons are sooo popular among Japanese Americans–particularly in Central Cal. I have relatives that used to dry them out. I used to love those, but now I dislike them when they’re just whole because they get SO sweet. I do think they’d be good chopped up and put in a salad or something though. I’ll blog about those dried persimmons today. I wrote a little about the cookies here: http://corriefood.blogspot.com/2010/01/persimmon-cookies.html

    what’s funny is that “persimmon” in Japanese is “kaki.” I realized recently with my boyfriend that if you make persimmon cookies, you could call one of them a “kaki cookie,” which sounds funny. :P

    11:11 am  Aug 25th, 2011
  32. Corrie

    Actually, I’ll post about the dried persimmons later. I want to leave up my Greek Fest post until this year’s Greek Fest is over.

    11:23 am  Aug 25th, 2011
  33. Shannon d

    I didn’t care much for the snobby comment about food sophistication. But I did quite enjoy your lovely recipe. And that it was a recipe shared from the heart. How sweet that food can evoke such good memories. Thank you for sharing.

    12:33 am  Nov 16th, 2011
  34. Don A

    Absolutely delicious!! Your recipe is now handwritten in my files – named it Grandma’s persimmon cookies. Only item I modified was that I used Crisco butter flavored shortening.

    12:06 pm  Nov 21st, 2011
  35. frances

    tryed ur grandmas persimmon recipe loved them all my family enjoyed eating them

    8:58 am  Oct 11th, 2012
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    6:24 pm  Jan 5th, 2013
  38. JennyBakes

    I made these this week and they were a huge hit! Thanks for a great recipe.

    9:07 pm  Jan 9th, 2013
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  41. Sharon

    I was so happy to see these cookies on the internet–they look EXACTLY like the ones I ate when I fell in love with them. That was quite a few years ago and I make them every year now … but they always spread out! I want them to keep the “chunky” shape. I use this exact recipe and also the instructions. What could I be doing wrong? I would be so grateful to discover the problem. Thank you!

    3:13 pm  Nov 29th, 2013
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    […] that with a Sweet Watermelon Radish Salad.  For dessert I am going to use my persimmons to make Persimmon Cookies. These sweet suckers may have to sweeten in a paper bag a few days before they are ready to use, […]

    9:26 am  Dec 10th, 2013
  43. Tracy Edwards

    These were absolutely perfect. Thank you so much for the tip on the Whole Food’s “shortening”. Bravo!

    7:10 am  Apr 2nd, 2014
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