"It's like candy, you sure are sweet -- sweet! You're so dandy."~ Cameo
If your holiday baking has been more lackluster than festive and you've been perusing the interwebs for some exciting, new recipes, look no further! Flyrish departs from her typical mama whining, self-deprecation, and attempts at clinging to the semi-hipness of her youth to bring you some yummies for Santa's tummy.
For the last few years, I've given baked goods to extended family or friends who I run into around this time of year. I realize that I'm not very novel with this idea, but I think it's nice to have some affordable (and delish) options for those extra gifts that always seem to arise, whether they're for a teacher, a neighbor, or that random pop tart who shows up at your house on Christmas Eve. Oh yeah. It's always good to be prepared for a pop tart. (Note: I need to write a post about pop tarts and the awesome words/phrases my friends come up with.)
I typically make Caramel Shortbread Squares ( my friend Susan's amazing and easy recipe, see below) and these Peppermint Bark Cookies. But last weekend I baked Persimmon Cookies for the first time and they were a sweet change of pace. Spicy and festive. A lovely option if you have a bunch of persimmons, which I fortunately had from the abundant orchard of Toby's brother and sister in law. Here's the recipe I used (from allrecipes.com):
Persimmon Cookies (yields about 3 dozen)
- 2 ripe persimmons, pureed
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup raisins (this yields a very raisin-y cookie; I plan to cut down to 3/4 cup next time)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (I substituted chopped pecans)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
- Dissolve baking soda in persimmon pulp and set aside.
- Sift flour, spices and salt together, set aside.
- Cream together butter or margarine and sugar until fluffy, beat in egg and persimmon. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in nuts and raisins.
- Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
Caramel Shortbread Squares
- 2/3 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Another 1/2 cup butter (What? I didn't say this was healthy.)
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 and 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Mix together 2/3 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and flour until evenly crumbly. Press into 9" square baking pan and bake for 20 minutes.
- In a saucepan, combine rest of butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a gentle boil and continue to boil for about 5 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and beat mixture vigorously with a wooden spin for about 3 minutes.
- Pour over baked crust. Cool until it begins to firm.
- Melt chocolate (double boil method is best) and pour over caramel layer.
- Chill & cut into squares. It is rich, so smaller is better. I get about 45.