Advent Week 2: Prepare Ye The Way for The Stollen Ahead

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

I had to clean out the fridge this week. The last remnants from Thanksgiving needed to go – a lone sweet potato, a butternut squash, another equally lonely potato had rattled around in the vegetable drawer long enough.

I also had some dried apples I needed to knock off.

All had to go before I lay in the next batch of pre-holiday groceries.

What you’re looking at is my first candidate for the stollen election – a dog’s breakfast stollen, made with a dough using sweet potato, squash, and potato with a mango-pineapple-apple filling.

It’s pretty good if I do say so myself. The dough is a little lighter in color because of the amount of potato but still a pale yellow-orange. I think I should have chopped the fruits smaller to get better distribution, but there probably would have been voids because of the steam from the fruit as they baked and settled.

If I had to throw an election for an orange-tinted lump, it’d be this one and not Mar-a-Lago’s chief resident golf and tax cheat.

~ ~ ~

I love making this dough, have probably made it every holiday for more than a decade. It’s consistently moist and fun to work with. I’ve made it often enough that I’ve learned how to play with it a bit and use it as I did for batting vegetable drawer clean up.

Here’s the recipe if you want to try the dough – it’s actually one used for rolls:

Squash or Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls
Makes 16 cloverleaf rolls

Ingredients:

1 cup squash or pumpkin puree

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted

4-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
grated zest of 1 orange (optional)

2-1/4 teaspoons SAF yeast or 2-3/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Instructions:

If using fresh squash/pumpkin, prepare and cool to room temperature or slightly warmer.

Place all the ingredients in the pan according to the order in the bread machine manufacturer’s instructions.

Program for the Dough cycle; press Start. (This recipe is NOT suitable for use with the Delay Timer.)

Grease 16 standard muffin cups (one full pan plus 4 cups in a second pan). When the machine beeps at the end of the cycle, immediately remove the dough and place on a lightly floured work surface; divide into 4 equal portions.

Divide each of those pieces into 4 equal portions. Divide each of the 16 portions into 3 portions and form these into small balls about the size of a walnut. You want them all about the same size; this is important or else the rolls will look funny after baking.

Arrange 3 balls of dough touching each other in each of the muffin cups. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise unil doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F degrees.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Immediately remove the rolls from the pan. Let cool on racks or serve warm.

Original source:
Squash or Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls, p. 356-357, The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger — my copy is getting tatty, now littered with tape flags. It’s one of my favorite cookbooks. Best, most reliable dough recipes, great for baseline doughs for experimentation. I cannot recommend this cookbook enough, have bought many to give as gifts over the years.

Recommendation:
Use butternut squash for best results, or comparable firm, dry-fleshed squash. In my experience, acorn squash puree has been moister, has more variable sugar content, and surprisingly less color in the finished dough.

I’ve tried using commercial canned pumpkin in same recipe; it is definitely not as good as freshly cooked squash, or even as good as frozen home cooked squash. The dough is tougher and not as sweet using canned. A large can of pumpkin is about 3.5 cups of puree, or 3+ batches of rolls — that’s a lot of so-so rolls. Use fresh whenever possible.

Bread flour does not seem to work as well as all-purpose flour, at least not when humidity is high. Use whatever you have, but watch the dough and add more flour/water as necessary. When well kneaded the dough is not quite as moist and soft as a sweet dough but more so than a bread dough.

Substitutions:
I’ve tried this same recipe using mashed sweet potatoes, and a combination of mashed Russet potatoes with pumpkin. Whatever you use should measure 1 cup, a direct replacement for the squash. Sweet potatoes and the potato/pumpkin combo work much better than canned pumpkin — the yeast likes whatever is closest to fresh, least processed.

Do plan to adjust water or flour content during kneading depending on the moisture in potatoes/squash. Dough should be softer and stickier than bread dough once the right amount of water/flour have been added.

Notes:
I’ve also used this for cinnamon rolls as well as cloverleaf-shaped, Parker House-shaped rolls and hamburger buns. I use about 3-4 tablespoons cinnamon to 1/2 cup each brown and white sugar — this is enough for about 2 batches of dough. Divide dough in half, roll out to approx. 11” x 17”, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture (add more or less to your taste). Roll up, pinching along edges to seal, then slice into 12-16 pieces total, depending on how big you like your rolls. I put mine in greased muffin tins, allow to rise over tins (about 20-25 min), then bake 15-25 min depending on how big the rolls are. I prefer not to glaze mine, only brushing the tops with a bit of melted butter while still warm.

Mixing Dough By Hand (without bread machine):
Prepared squash/pumpkin puree should be at room to bathwater temp.

Scald milk (bring just to a boil and remove from heat immediately.) Stir in sugar, salt, squash/pumpkin puree, and butter. Set aside and allow to cool to lukewarm.

In a large bowl mix warm water and yeast. Stir until dissolved. Stir in lukewarm milk mixture, beaten eggs, and half the flour. Mix until smooth.

Add remaining flour gradually, mixing as you go. You may need a bit more or less than the total 4-1/2 cups called for in the recipe, depending on the humidity and water content in squash and butter. Your dough should be elastic and slightly stiff but not dry (sweet doughs are typically a bit more moist and sticky.)

Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and very elastic. This usually takes 8-10 minutes.

Butter the inside of a large mixing bowl. Put dough in bowl and turn dough over a couple of times to coat it all with the butter.

Cover bowl and place in a warm place so it can rise. It will take about 1 hour to double in bulk.

At that time turn out onto a lightly floured board to shape; dough should deflate somewhat when dumped out before shaping.

Follow remainder of recipe as instructed for bread machine (Step 4 onward).

~ ~ ~

Fruit filling
I completely swagged the fruit filling. I can’t tell you how to duplicate exactly what I did except in general terms. These are roughly the amounts I used for each ingredient:

2 cups chopped dried apples
½ cup chopped dried pineapple
½ cup chopped dried mango
2 cups orange juice (I needed to use up the OJ, too. LOL Apple juice may work just as well.)
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons melted butter
Cinnamon-sugar mix for cinnamon rolls

I mixed all the fruit, juice, brown sugar, and spices in a covered heat-safe bowl, then placed it on a trivet inside my Instant Pot over 2 cups of water. I cooked the fruit for 20 minutes on high pressure, let it depressurize naturally, and then let the fruit mixture cool to room temperature.

I stirred in the cornstarch when the fruit was cool; if the cooked fruit is too juicy, drain off some of the juice before adding the cornstarch.

After rolling the dough out into two equal rectangles about 9” x 12” – wide enough for a 2-lb. bread pan – I brushed the dough squares with the melted butter, topped that with the fruit mixture using ½ on each of the dough squares, then sprinkled cinnamon-sugar mix over all before rolling the dough and pinching it closed along the length.
After putting a piece of parchment paper in each baking pan, I plopped the rolled up dough into their respective pans, covered them with a piece of plastic and a tea towel before putting in a warm place to rise.

Turned on the oven to 375F degrees at this point; not long after my oven has fully pre-heated the dough will have doubled in size and risen above the top of the loaf pans. In the bottom of my oven I place a heavy oven-proof shallow metal pan and pour in 2 cups of water to provide steam during baking.

Removing the plastic and towels, I put the pans into the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes. The dough will be golden at 40 minutes but not likely done. I use a digital thermometer with a probe for use in the oven at this point, setting the alarm for 190F degrees.

Breads are done at 195F but since foods continue to cook even after removed from heat, I remove the bread/rolls at 190F and let them finish the last five degrees on the counter.

~ ~ ~

There you have it, my first candidate for the stollen election.

What about you? What bread/cake containing fruit did you make/buy/consume this week? Tell us in comments.

This is an open thread.

image_print
71 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    None of my buns or bread will exert autocratic diktats on Americans.
    ________________

    A reminder to all commenters: We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Your username must be unique and contain a minimum of 8 letters. Thanks to those of you who have changed your usernames over the last year to comply with this standard.

    • Rayne says:

      For those who use the metric system, in case you’re thinking about making the recipe above:

      Metric Conversions:

      1 teaspoon = 4.93 milliliters
      1 tablespoon = 14.79 milliliters

      1/4 cup = 59.15 milliliters
      1/2 cup = 118.3 milliliters

      1 cup = 236.59 milliliters

      4 cups or 1 quart = 946.36 milliliters

      350°F = 177°C

      400°F = 205°C

      Please don’t ask me about gas marks. I have no clue how to convert them.

      • P J Evans says:

        I use
        1 tsp = 5 ml
        1 tbsp = 15 ml
        1 cup = 240 ml
        1 pint = 480 ml
        1 quart = 960 ml

        Somewhere I’ve seen gas mark conversions, but it was in a cookbook. I tend to round temps to the nearest evenish degree.

      • John Paul Jones says:

        I have an old Sainsbury’s Christmas cookbook. Going through the recipes I found:
        GM1 = 275F/140C
        GM2 = 300F/150C
        GM3 = 325F/160C
        GM4 = 350F/180C
        GM5 = 375F/190C
        GM6 = 400F/200C
        GM7 = 425F/220C
        GM8 = 450F/230C
        GM9 = 475F/240C

        NB: no recipe in the book actually used GM8, but the gaps between the marks are regular, so I’ve extrapolated it on that basis.

    • Dirt Lane says:

      I make 8 loaves of Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread on Christmas Eve Day and 6 on New Year’s Eve day. My daughters deliver still-warm loaves to friends and family – when they were in elementary school, teachers were thrilled to receive these as holiday treats. There’s a lot of work involved, but this labor of love has become part of the magic of the season and a symbol of our interconnected lives.

      Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread (2 Loaves)

      Zest oranges. Soften 1 package active dry yeast in ¼ cup warm water.
      Scald 1 cup milk; mix in ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup butter, 1-½ teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon grated orange peel and ¾ cup orange juice; cool to lukewarm, pour into large mixing bowl.
      Sift 6-½ to 7 cups unbleached white flour. (I don’t sift.) Stir 2 cups flour into liquid in mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add yeast and 1 slightly beaten egg; beat well. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
      Turn dough onto well-floured surface. Knead 10 minutes until smooth, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. In last minute, the dough will become silky to the touch – texture of earlobe. Place dough in a large, generously buttered bowl, turning to coat. Cover with a cloth, let rise until double – 1-¼ to 1-½ hours. To check rise, indent dough ½”; if not risen enough, indent will refill quickly.
      Butter two 8-½ x 4-½ bread pans while dough is rising.
      Turn proofed dough onto lightly-floured surface. Punch down, divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
      While dough is resting, combine ½ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. (I actually do this in separate steps, measuring ¼ cup sugar and ½ tablespoon cinnamon as I work on each loaf – to ensure same quantity for each loaf.)
      Roll each half of dough into a rectangle about 15”x7”x ½ “.
      Spread each rectangle with 1/2 sugar mixture; smooth with spatula. Sprinkle each rectangle with 1 teaspoon water (a salt shaker works well for this).
      Roll rectangles tightly down 15” length. Pinch to seal ends and bottom seam. Place (sealed seam down) in loaf pan. Cover, let rise until double – 1 hour.
      Bake at 350 for 30 minutes; remove loaves from pans and cool on wire racks.
      While bread is baking, mix 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 teaspoon orange zest, and 4 teaspoons orange juice. If you would like a thinner frosting to run and glaze loaf sides (my preference), add up to 2 teaspoons of orange juice.

      When loaves are still slightly warm, place them onto serving plate or storage container and spoon prepared icing over top. Sprinkle additional zest on loaf.

      • Rayne says:

        Thanks for sharing this recipe. It reminds me of one my mom used to make back when we lived in CA in my early childhood. One of her friends grew citrus, always seemed like we had oranges and lemons all over the place.

  2. Molly Pitcher says:

    You are such an accomplished baker, I am very impressed. We actually had sweet potato scones this week that were not bad considering they came from the frozen aisle at Trader Joe’s, hahaha !!

    I noticed you used sweet potato in your stollen, do you have a scone recipe that you like ? What I really am in search of is an oat scone recipe. There used to be a restaurant in the Rockridge area of Oakland, Oliveto. Their downstairs cafe served all day and when Rick Hackett was the chef they made an oat scone that was almost solid oats, just hung together with dough. That Is the recipe I wish I could find.

    We are getting ready for the Forty Niner game against the Seahawks and I am making French Onion Puff Pastry Bites. I will share the recipe if anyone is interested. Go Niners !!

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      French Onion Puff Pastry Bites.

      Makes 24

      2 yellow onions, sliced
      4 T butter
      1/2 cup white wine (Sauvignon blanc)
      1/2 tsp fresh thyme
      1 Tbsp Better Than Bouillon Beef Base
      2 sheets puff pastry
      8oz Gruyère, grated
      1/2 cup Crème Fraiche
      Thyme sprig tips for garnish

      To a pan, add butter on medium heat. Add onions and sauté until softened. Lower the heat and continue cooking stirring occasionally until onion are golden brown and caramelized. Deglaze with white wine as needed (I deglaze with a little white wine at a time when the pan looks dry and to prevent onions from burning) stir in fresh thyme and Beef Base then adjust the seasoning (salt and pepper). Set aside.

      Roll out puff pastry and cut into squares (about 2” x 2”). Gently push squares down into nonstick mini muffin pan. Add 1 Tbsp of the caramelized onions then a generous mound of the Gruyère on top.

      Bake 400° for 16 minutes. Once cooled enough, pipe on or add a dollop of the crème fraiche. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs tips.

      • elcajon64 says:

        Just read this out loud to my long-distance girlfriend. We’ll be making this together next week when I visit for the holidays.

    • KittyRehn says:

      I’m a few days late to the party, but I actually made a pretty kick ass batch of scones yesterday w/ this recipe (https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/scones-recipe/)! I’m no brilliant baker, but my batch of mixed berry and brie scones turned out pretty delicious, even if I left them in the oven a smidgen too long. Veerrrry sticky dough, although that’s just my experience with scones in general.

  3. c-i-v-i-l says:

    I’ve been thinking about trying to convince some group to organize a pro-democracy / pro-Constitution march in DC, perhaps with satellite marches elsewhere. My sense is that a lot of voters just aren’t paying enough attention to what Trump’s saying, such as the 2020 election “allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” that he’d be a dictator on Day 1, that immigrants should be subject to a religious test, that he plans to fire a huge swath of civil servants, that he plans a loyalty-to-Trump test rather than loyalty to the Constitution. I’d appreciate others’ thoughts on this.

    • soundgood2 says:

      Something to cut through the BS from Republicans who are now pooh poohing Trump’s remarks as just him joking, you know, don’t take him literally or seriously.

      • c-i-v-i-l says:

        Yeah, I’m mostly trying to get feedback about whether it’s a foolish idea or a good one, and whether anyone has thoughts about who’d be a good group to organize it. I may call my Representative’s office (Raskin). It’s not the kind of question that Representatives generally help constituents with, but I know that Raskin feels strongly about Trump being a threat to democracy.

    • Rayne says:

      First, don’t go it alone. Identify larger groups with experience organizing rallies, try to get an intersectional representation with multiple organizations.

      Second, think differently about outreach. It was a failure during the anti-war demonstrations in 2002-2003 to rally in the streets alone, no matter the size of the crowds. Even then before social media’s rise the rallies didn’t puncture the broader public consciousness because the news media did only a shallow job of covering them. Rallies now must get into every internet user’s face, while forcing the media to cover the rally/ies.

        • Rayne says:

          You really want to duplicate the 2017 Women’s March but with increased news media and social media uptake. That event was literally visible from space — all those pink hats on the mall in DC, the largest rally ever on a global basis.

          Consider contacting the organizers of that event (keeping in mind there was some controversy attached to one of them), find out how they pulled it off.

          Make sure to develop a solid theme and messaging, even down to the colors — again, look at the 2017 Women’s March. We really need at least that many people to come out again, and in no small part because women’s rights and reproductive health are *still* on the ballot so long as we don’t control Congress and the White House is at risk of Trump again.

          • Nessnessess says:

            I like the idea of “satellite marches”. A decentralized multipoint event, the possibility of online participation.

            But how about it being not just a gathering, but an action: a complete and total abstinence of any and all purchases and financial transactions, coast-to-coast and worldwide, for a rolling 3-hour period starting at noon local time. That would be measurable, and meaningful if people really did it.

            I would like to see Biden and the democrats put forward the names of their 2025 administration and their key policies, to counter all the “Project 2025” talk. Then run as a full team the country can be proud of — This Is Who You’re Getting — and not a collection of Trump loyalists they prefer we not know about.

            • Rayne says:

              A short-term economic boycott won’t work, at least not as you describe. The only thing which works is when it really hurts — and then you have to consider who it is who will suffer the pain. Ex. Don’t want to buy anything, including restaurant purchases? How do tipped workers make up the money lost?

              As for Team Biden 2025: look at the the incitement Trump has indulged in against people who already work in government like judges and clerks. It would be a majority security and safety risk to name names now, and it’d discourage highly-qualified candidates for appointments from accepting them in the next administration.

  4. boatgeek says:

    It won’t be this week, but in a week or so we’ll make a loaf or two of julekake. As you might guess from the name, it’s a traditional Scandinavian Christmas bread with dried fruit, candied citrus peel, and cardamom. I can share the family recipe if desired.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        I think I’ve learned on this site to never ask permission – just ask forgiveness when having transgressed. Sometimes it’s good to find the boundaries…

      • boatgeek says:

        That was more of a “I’m on my phone right now, The recipe will have to wait until I pull it from the file and get to a desktop.” I assumed that someone would want it. You’re not monsters, after all.

        1 cup lukewarm milk
        1/2 cup sugar
        1/2 tsp salt
        1 tsp ground cardamom (add more if you want)
        1 packet (2 tsp) dry yeast
        2 Tbsp butter
        1 egg
        3 1/4 tp 3 1/2 cups flour
        1-2 cups total dried fruit and candied citrus peel

        Mix water, sugar, salt, and cardamom. Dissolve yeast in the mixture. Wait 5 minutes for the yeast to become bubbly. Add butter and egg, mix. Add flour and dried fruit, knead into a soft dough. Rise until doubled, or overnight in the refrigerator. Shape and place into greased pan(s) or make into a braid. Rise 45-60 minutes or until double. Add egg wash if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks for sharing your recipe! Love the generous cardamom, so very nordic!

          A few pointers for folks who don’t bake yeasted breads often: the butter in recipe above should be melted or extremely soft so that it incorporates readily. The egg should be lightly whisked so that it, too, incorporates fully — the yolk is every bit as important as the egg white to helping the dough reach maximum loft. The dough should be placed in a glass or steel bowl which has been greased, then covered with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying during rising; a moist surface on dough allows greater expansion. Check the temperature for done ness at 30 minutes — should be 190F.

          I may have to try this one for the fourth week since I have a bunch of citron to use.

          • boatgeek says:

            Random historical note: the reason there’s traditionally spices like cardamom and cinnamon in Nordic cooking is that there was a well-established trade route from Scandinavia to Constantinople and Baghdad via the Volga River. Some research has dated that trade to starting in roughly 750 CE.

    • boatgeek says:

      Another fruity bread that will make an appearance at Casa del Boatgeek this season will be Swedish rye. This recipe is adapted from “The Best Cookery of the Middle West” by Grace Grosvenor Clark.*

      1 cup rye flour
      2 1/4 cups water
      1 1/2 cups milk
      1/2 cup dark molasses**
      1/3 cup sugar
      1/2 tsp anise or caraway (we always use anise, some people like caraway)
      8 cups white flour
      1/2 tsp salt
      1 cake yeast in 1/2 cup warm water
      1 Tbsp shortening
      1 cup candied orange peel

      Scald rye flour with 2 cups hot water and beat until smooth. Scald milk. Let cool, then add remaining ingredients to rye paste. Let rise and knead, let rise again and set in pan (we make 3 round loaves on baking sheets). Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

      * At home, we call this the Republican Cookbook, though to be fair the author was almost certainly a Roosevelt Democrat. At the time of the writing in 1955, she was the household manager at Principia College in St. Louis. The book is surprisingly cosmopolitan, and the best part is that all of the recipes actually work when you follow them. Unlike some magazines I could name.

      ** It is critical to maintaining one’s membership in the Dad’s union to pronounce this MOLE-asses. Just to make sure that nobody confuses it with any other kind of asses they might encounter.

      • chocolateislove says:

        Heh. Every time I see the jar in my cupboard I say to myself in my best 50’s TV Announcer Voice: “Grandma’s OH-riginal Old Fashioned MOLE ass. Because you don’t want newfangled asses from a non-matriarch.”
        Glad to know I can keep my “Dad” card.

  5. Beejdge says:

    Came for food! Thinking I might gift myself a bread machine this year. Thank you for the recipe book recommendation.

    I never thought another squash could be used in place of pumpkin. And yes fresh is best as my pumpkin bread says.

    My fav cookbook? Good ole Betty Crocker as a starting point. I modify from there.

    Certainly will try all. Dont ask. Just go ahead and post the recipe.

    Cheers!

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters **as I noted in the first comment of this thread.** We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • John Paul Jones says:

      The Jones household uses a Zojirushi bread machine. Once the basic rising is done, I turn the dough out onto a floured board, remove the paddles, grease the nubbins for the paddles, then put the dough back in. I work fast, naturally, and the object is to have only a couple of small holes in the finished loaf rather than two giant voids. I’m not good at slicing, so I’m still looking for some system that will help with that job.

  6. ThreeDayCondor says:

    This short URL below depicts a century plus of tradition. We’ve baked it every holiday season for 40 years in my own house; over 35 before that — in my mom’s & dad’s house — and for about 60 years before that in my grandad’s / and grandmom’s… way high in the Colorado Rockies, after long chilly ski-days, consumed by a warm fireplace — and with piping hot coffee.

    https://teslareviewed.files.wordpress.com/2023/12/life-flare-potica-holidays-round-2023.png

    Cheers to all of good will!

  7. SteveBev says:

    Trump raided his store cupboard of lies to confect a recipe resulting ultimately in this half baked excuse not to testify in NY fraud case

    “….
    BASED ON THE ABOVE, AND THE FACT THAT OUR UNASSAILABLE FINAL EXPERT WITNESS HAS BEEN SO STRONG AND IRREFUTABLE IN HIS TESTIMONY, WHICH WILL CONCLUDE ON TUESDAY, & THAT I HAVE ALREADY TESTIFIED TO EVERYTHING & HAVE NOTHING MORE TO SAY OTHER THAN THAT THIS IS A COMPLETE & TOTAL ELECTION INTERFERENCE (BIDEN CAMPAIGN!) WITCH HUNT, THAT WILL DO NOTHING BUT KEEP BUSINESSES OUT OF NEW YORK, I WILL NOT BE TESTIFYING ON MONDAY. MAGA!”

  8. Midtowngirl says:

    Rayne, your recipe sounds delicious! I just started my holiday cookie basket baking, which when all is said and baked, will be about 12 – 15 dozen cookies. The lineup:
    – Pizelles
    – Citrus cutout sugar cookies
    – Gingerbread cutout snowflakes
    – Minty Chocolate Crinkles
    – Sandies
    – Spritz
    – Fudge
    – and –
    – Persimmon Cookies

    I inherited the persimmon recipe from my mother-in-law, who had a huge tree in her backyard. The cookies are very soft and cakey and have a delicious spice flavor. Once out of the oven, they will darken as they cool and will develop a slightly glossy skin (no frosting or glaze needed!). Adding the chopped walnuts is optional, but highly recommended! Rum-soaked raisins are a great addition too! The recipe is below.

    Some helpful tips: Use Hachiya (oblong-shaped) persimmons, not the round Fuyu type. They should be very ripe and soft, even squishy. You can accelerate the ripening by putting them in a ziplock bag, and then tossing them in the freezer overnight. Let the fruit thaw on the counter.
    This recipe can easily be doubled.

    Persimmon Cookies

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1½ tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    ½ tsp ground nutmeg
    ½ tsp ground cloves
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 cup granulated sugar
    ½ cup butter
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 large egg
    1 cup persimmon pulp
    1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
    optional – raisins or other chopped dried fruit

    Preheat oven to 375 F
    Line cookie sheets with parchment paper
    Sift all dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
    Cream butter and sugar until light, about 3 minutes.
    Mix in vanilla, then persimmon pulp.
    Mix in dry ingredients. The dough will be somewhat cake batter-ish and sticky.
    Stir in chopped nuts.

    (At this point, you can cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge until chilled to ease handling or just go for it.)

    Drop by rounded spoonful or use batter scoop on parchment-lined cookie sheets. They don’t spread much, so you can place them pretty close.
    Bake for 12 – 15 min. Cookies will be slightly soft.
    Transfer to wire rack. Store in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment or waxed paper.

    • Rayne says:

      Oof. Those persimmon cookies sound delicious! Don’t often see persimmons in my local store but you know I’ll be looking for Hachiya now! Thanks for sharing!

      • Midtowngirl says:

        They are super yummy, kind of like a dense spice cake. I’m wondering what could be used as a substitute for the persimmons. Maybe cooked pureed yams? That would probably require a little added moisture, like a tablespoon of unsweetened applesauce.
        Just Googled persimmon substitutes and the two top entries are 1. sweet potatoes/ yams with a dash of orange juice or 2. unsweetened applesauce.

    • Peterr says:

      “They should be very ripe and soft, even squishy.”

      If you have a huge persimmon tree in your back yard, you *need* recipes like this. You don’t get “very ripe and soft” persimmons in the store; you get them off the branch (or even once they drop, as long as the skin doesn’t break).

      And the huger the tree, the more recipes you need. (I had a friend whose neighbor had a huge avocado tree, with branches that hung over the fence into his yard. They had *lots* of avocado recipes, and also lots of friends to whom he gave away very ripe and soft avocados.)

      • Midtowngirl says:

        Very true! One of the great things about living on the left coast is there’s always backyard produce of some sort in abundance.
        My dad has a huge peach tree, so summer staples are peach cobbler, peach smoothies, peach margaritas – you name it, we try to incorporate peaches somehow. And lots of flash freezing for the winter months.

        Now we have a pomegranate tree that has decided to produce after being dormant for years. I’ve been flirting with the idea of making pomegranate jalapeno jelly and adding jars to the cookie baskets, but I’m not sure if I’m feeling quite that ambitious.

        • P J Evans says:

          Peach trees always overbear, unless you think the fruit while it’s still little green fuzzballs. But you can, doing it right, get peaches that are the size of baseballs…

          • Peterr says:

            There is no such thing as a peach tree that produces too many peaches. If you think there are too many peaches, the problem is really too few mouths to feed or too little imagination about how to use the peaches.

            *wipes lips*

            Peach cobbler
            Peach tarts
            Peach ice cream
            Peach pie
            Peach jam
            Peach trifle
            Etc
            Etc
            Etc

            *wipes lips*

            There is no such thing as too many peaches.

            • P J Evans says:

              It’s too many if the branches break. We had to prop them up. (I love home-growed peaches. And apricots. And grapes, with seeds in them, because seedless grapes don’t have grape flavor.) My father bought several peach trees for his TX garden, but some turned out to be nectarines. (There’s about two genes different, some trees naturally have both peaches and nectarines, and the trees *look alike*. Also nectarine cobbler is *amazing*.)

              • Midtowngirl says:

                My dad has to prop up the lower branches every year, even after thinning out the fruit. The roots must be incredibly deep because drought conditions have kept my dad from watering it heavily for years. I haven’t had much luck with grapes, but I feel the same about the flavor of homegrown tomatoes vs store-bought.

              • boatgeek says:

                If you have room for a grapevine, try the Canadice variety. It’s seedless and has excellent grape flavor.

            • Midtowngirl says:

              Your mention of ice cream reminded me of another summertime fave. My grandparents lived in an area with abundant wild blackberry bushes, and she’d send us kids out with buckets and gloves to go pick as much as we could carry. We’d return hours later, fingers and mouths stained purple, to the ice cream maker whirring up a batch of homemade vanilla ice cream. Grandma would take our plunder and bake a beautiful 2-crust berry cobbler, which we’d eat warm, with vanilla ice cream melting on top. That, and half cinnamon/ half root beer snowcones are my favorite flavors of childhood summer memories.

            • Rayne says:

              LOL I’m allergic to green peaches. We had peach trees when I was a kid; we’d lob the little under-ripe green ones which had fallen off the tree, flinging them at other kids. I’d break out in body-enveloping hives for several weeks each season. I’d get hives far worse than chicken pox (only had a dozen pox when I caught it from my siblings).

              There’s a very narrow window when there’s too much of a good thing and I managed to find it with peaches.

              • -mamake- says:

                I was just talking to my son about this – my skin reaction to peach fuzz. As a child living in Georgia we’d go peach picking – seemed like no matter what, the second I got into a bath the intense itching would start.
                When I mentioned this to him it occurred to me that I don’t recall it affecting anyone else this way…or maybe it is my dissipating memory.
                Hadn’t had time to look it up when I just read your post. Off to do that now. We were only in GA for a few years…so didn’t grow up with other ‘pickers.’

      • P J Evans says:

        My parents planted a couple of American persimmon trees in west Texas (one male, one female). So we could occasionally make persimmon cookies or bread. (With America persimmons, they’re small, and you have to wait a long time until they get ripe. They turn kind of a purplish brown.)

    • -mamake- says:

      Persimmon Bread (adapted from James Beard recipe)
      Can be found online under his name + “Amazing Persimmon Bread” – appears to be adapted by David Lebovitz.

      Ingredients:
      3.5 C. sifted flour
      1.5 t. salt
      2 t. baking soda
      1 t. ground nutmeg
      2 2- 2.5 C. sugar
      1 C. melted unsalted butter / cool to room temp
      4 large eggs, room temp, lightly beaten
      2/3 C. Cognac or bourbon whiskey
      2 C. persimmon puree (about 4 soft/squishy Hachiya)
      2 C. walnuts or pecans, toasted & chopped
      2 C. raisins, or diced fruits (apricots, cranberries or dates)

      Prepare:
      – Preheat oven to 350′ F.
      – Butter 2 loaf pans. Line bottoms w/ parchment paper or dust w/ flour & tap out excess.
      – Sift the first five dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.
      – Make a well in the center, then stir in butter, eggs, liquor, puree, and then nuts & raisins.
      – Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center come out clean.

      Recipe states that it will keep for a week, but we’ve never tested that. Great holiday morning toast w/ butter. We have made huge batches storing the loaves in the freezer.
      We have a huge crop of persimmons this year – maybe 200-300 still on tree. But no oven because in midst of a kitchen remodel. At next break in work we may just process and freeze puree.

      My favorite winter treat. :-) Thanks, Rayne, for these nourishing posts – they really feel so needed these days.

  9. scribe says:

    Had a baking day today. Started yesterday, really.

    Kipferl, half filled with homemade lekvar (plum butter) and half filled with apricot lekvar (store-bought). The dough is a species of puff pastry, though a French chef would spit on the floor for me calling it that. Butter, flour, cream cheese, egg yolk.

    Homemade lebkuchen. I use a spice mix I copied a good 15 or 18 years ago off the website of a German radio station I listen to. They were having a celebration of Christmas baking and pulled out a recipe from the 1500s. After the Gutenberg Bible the next books printed were cookbooks, it seems. I’ve been fiddling with the recipe for the lebkuchen every year since, trying to get them lighter and more airy. Anyway, the spice mix contains cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, mace, dried orange peel, dried lemon peel and black pepper. The idea behind the pepper was to make the person consuming thirstier, so they’d drink (beer, the only safe drink in those days) and get a full stomach on not a lot of food. Hungry days, those. The original recipe called for honey and sugar, lebkuchen being descended from honey cakes that have been around since ancient days. The original recipe called for the end result to be something akin to the spekulatius cookies – hard, crisp and pressed into figurative molds. I don’t have molds and like a softer lebkuchen.

    I melded the spice mix, honey and sugar with the dirt-simple recipe for no-knead bread. You may be familiar with it – flour, water, yeast and salt set aside to work for 12 hours or so, beaten down once and then baked after resting. So, after a few years of less-than satisfactory results (too hard cookies) I had a flash of insight – honey is a disinfectant and likely kills yeast. So, I amped up the yeast and things work well now.

    The beauty of these cookies, from my POV, is that there is no protein (e.g. egg) and no fat in them. They last and last. I found one in a pocket of my hunting vest once. Racking my brain on when and how it got there, it had to be well over a year old. Still good.

    So, anyway, the house smells of baking honey and clove.

    The fruitcake was done earlier this week. I ditched the pecans for walnuts, added chopped dates to the recipe. Most importantly, I add chopped candied orange peel (homemade) in lieu of the nasty-tasting citron. The result is a fragrant, molasses-based fruitcake that people line up for and ask about in mid-summer. “Are you going to make it this year?” Seriously.

    Candied orange peel is another dirt simple thing to do. Peel 3 nice bright navel oranges. Put the peels in a saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to a simmer, covered, and let it simmer a few minutes. Drain. Do it again, only this time simmer until the peels are tender. Drain and let dry. In the saucepan, 3 tablespoons light corn syrup, 1 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup water. Warm until the sugar is dissolved. Add the peel. Simmer slowly, turning the peel occasionally to ensure all of it gets syruped-up. I like doing this with the lid on, but tipped a little. Turn it off when the syrup is almost gone. Let it rest overnight. Simmer slowly in the morning a little while. Take the peel out and roll each piece in half a cup or so of sugar. Set aside to dry. Throw some sugar into the cold sauce pan and scrape the remaining syrup into the sugar – save and use in your oatmeal.

    I’m about done for this year.

    • Midtowngirl says:

      Scribe, that was incredibly interesting! I Googled “lebkuchen”, and indeed there is quite a history behind the cookie. Wikipedia mentioned another form of lebkuchen as “Hexenhäuschen” (witch’s house?) and says it’s associated with Hansel and Gretel. Is that similar to a gingerbread house?
      And I’m going to try making the candied peels – I have a ton of oranges and lemons and had no idea what to do except juice them. Thanks!

    • -mamake- says:

      “…smells of baking honey and clove.” What a delightful read! I have a vague memory of making flourless honey ‘cakes’ (more like cookies) at some point. Once I’m back in my kitchen I will look through recipes to find it. If not will try to replicate yours (if only).

  10. Tetman Callis says:

    “What bread/cake containing fruit did you make/buy/consume this week?”

    Kolaczki (pron. “Koe-LAHTCH-kee”) purchased from a bakery. The ingredients include wheat flour, butter, cream cheese, margarine, eggs, baking powder, and assorted fillings (apricot, strawberry, plum, blueberry, raspberry, lemon, and cream cheese).

    Kolaczki are pastries about the size of a very big person’s thumb. They are lightly dusted with powdered sugar. They are light and not too sweet, and are one of my wife’s favorites.

    Here is a link to a recipe: https://momsdish.com/recipe/kolaczki-polish-cookies

    • Rayne says:

      My FIL can’t stuff his face fast enough with kolaczki/roczki/kifliki or whatever eastern European cultures call their filled rolled cookies. My MIL used to make them every Christmas; my spouse has now taken up the mantle as the baker.

      I’ve made them and marveled each time at my MIL’s arm strength because the dough in spouse’s family recipe is far more challenging than the ingredients sound: 1 pound butter, 1 pound small curd cottage cheese, 4 cups flour. But the protein in the cottage cheese combined with the gluten in the flour really put up a fight if mixed by hand. I don’t have a hefty stand mixer, the recipe is too much for my Cuisinart to handle, so I’ve used my bread machine to mix this dough. Makes an insane number of cookies, too, but FIL is always up for battle against kolaczki!

      Perhaps this year we’ll swap out the cottage cheese with cream cheese — much less protein, hopefully much less fight!

  11. David F. Snyder says:

    Julekake (Norwegian) is the tradition in our household (toast a slice and put a thin slice of gjetøst on top — yummy!). Flour, milk, sugar, cardamom, candied fruit. I’ll post the recipe later, but it’s very simple (for farm life).

  12. Matt Foley says:

    I was going to bake a delicious MAGA fruitcake for Mike Lindell’s reinstatement of Trump but God told me it will be postponed again.

  13. NickBarnes says:

    Another 35 mince pies through the works yesterday, from the pastry and mincemeat we made the previous weekend….

  14. Nehoa808 says:

    Mango pineapple apple. Great! Where did you get the mango in MI? For the future a bit of guava would be cool.
    Happy holidays to you and the rest of the EW crew. In Taiwan, but heading back to Hawaii soon.

    • Rayne says:

      Surprisingly, dried mango and dried pineapple can be bought here in the Midwest at Aldi. I’m sure I could probably find it at Kroger, Walmart, or Meijer but Aldi was pretty easy. If there was dried guava there I’d buy it, too — my family loves guava-based sweets including rolls — but I’ll have to order it online.

      Maybe I should order guava today, make and ship some guava rolls along with hóngdòu shā xiǎo miànbāo for Christmas to my family. Of course we would have to taste test here for quality. LOL Mele kalikimaka to you and yours!

      • P J Evans says:

        The dried-fruit snack section at my supermarket has dried mangoes. You can find it in a couple of other places in the store. (I bought some prunes; they didn’t have figs.)

  15. MsJennyMD says:

    Wow! Impressive recipe Rayne. Thanks for sharing.
    Baking breads in 2024 is on my list. I make a delicious cheesecake and chocolate layered cake with vanilla icing. Favorites for my 94 year old dad.

  16. Former AFPD says:

    I made a pumpkin bundt cake this last week. I use a squash called long pie pumpkin for holiday baking. The squash is just as described – long. I bake it whole for about an hour at 375 degrees and use the mashed squash to bake. The bundt cake is lovely. The squash comes from a farm on the San Mateo County coast – about 30 miles south of San Francisco.

Comments are closed.