Growing up in southern California my parents loved to spend their weekends up to their elbows in dirt, cultivating what I realize now was a beautiful labor of love. When I was a kid, I just didn’t get it, why would I want to spend time outside toiling away when I could sit on my butt and watch cartoons instead? Now that I’m all grown up with a garden of my own I regret that I didn’t jump in with them, benefiting from all their experience and knowledge.
I have lots of regrets in my life but one of my biggest ones is that my dad didn’t live long enough to see my garden. He loved to create with his hands, in most of my memories he’s involved in some big project, digging a pond in the backyard, teaching himself cross-stitch, making me a beautiful jewelry box for my 21st birthday. I realize now that I am a lot like him, I love to work with my hands and have spent the last few years learning how to garden, cook and knit. He would be surprised and delighted to see me follow in his footsteps.
This time of year I think of my childhood garden and am reminded of the pomegranates and persimmon trees that dominated the yard, heavy with fruit just begging to be picked. The persimmons with their vivid orange skins, like miniature pumpkins weighing down the branches. I would take them inside and freeze them until they were solid and then attack them with the spoon, eating the pulpy flesh, their sweet, honey flavor better than any ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Or even better, straight from the tree, still warm from the sun, still firm, with a texture more like an apple, sweet and crunchy, the perfect snack. Food has the ability to connect us with our memories of home and our place in the world and I relish revisiting all those moments in my kitchen.
These cookies highlight my beloved persimmons, are super easy to throw together and take only minutes to bake. The almonds compliment the honey tones of the fruit and the brown butter adds a delicious richness to such a simple cookie. They are fairly delicate so make sure that you let them cool slightly before removing them from the cookie sheet. They make the perfect afternoon snack with a nice cup of tea.
Persimmon almond cookies
1 1/4 cups almond meal
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup diced fuyu persimmon, ripe but firm
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup natural cane sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small skillet heat the butter over medium heat and cook for 8-10 minutes until the butter starts to brown and smells nutty, set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together almond meal, almonds, persimmons, baking powder, salt and sugar.
Lightly beat the egg, pour in the brown butter and vanilla and then add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, place on a baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Press down lightly to flatten a bit.
Bake for 9-12 minutes until the edges start to brown. Let cool slightly before serving.