Showing posts with label cinnamon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cinnamon. Show all posts

Dec 20, 2016

Persimmon Cookies

Persimmon cookies recipe spicy soft easy fuyu hachiya nutmeg cinnamon cloves

Spicy, moist, and tenderly soft these persimmon cookies are truly a Fall and Winter treat! Lavishly laced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, raisins, and walnuts this recipe is full of the flavors of the season. So simple to make and the easiest answer to the question, "What do you do with persimmons?"

Fuyu persimmons which can be eaten at the semi soft stage. 

You can use any type of persimmon for this recipe as long as it is ripe. Unripe persimmons are quite astringent and bitter tasting due to their tannic acid content. Ripe persimmons are quite sweet and mild in flavor.  If you are using the round Fuyu type persimmons as shown in the photo above you can use them when they've softened to about the firmness of a ripe tomato. If you are using the oblong, heart or acorn shaped Hachiya type persimmons you'll have to wait until they've ripened to the mushy pulp or jelly-like stage. A quick way to ripen any type of persimmon is to stick then in the freezer overnight. When you allow them to thaw the next day they'll be perfectly soft, sweet, and ripe!
Hachiya persimmons which must be allowed to ripen to mushy, jelly-like stage before they're edible.
This recipe uses pureed persimmon pulp. To make persimmon puree you can simply use a fork to mash them in a bowl or a mixie, food processor, or blender to puree them instantly. If using a mixie, food processor, or blender simply remove the stems and any debris and put them in the appliance skin and all. You might want give the persimmon flesh a bit of a going through before pureeing as there might be seeds. The seeds can be rounded like plum stones or oblong like date pits. Your mixie, food processor, or blender will NOT puree these rock-like seeds. You will hear them quite loudly bouncing off the blades and mixing container of your appliance.


And there you have it! Beautiful orange persimmon pulp ready to be eaten as is, enjoyed as frozen sorbet, or stored for your next baking project. I usually measure the pulp out by cupful and store it in Ziploc bags in the freezer. Persimmons will keep frozen for up to 8 months. You might see some separation or darkening of the persimmon pulp but the flavor will be the same as fresh.

Ingredients:
2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C butter, softened to room temperature
1 C sugar (both brown or white are fine)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg or allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg, at room temperature
1 C persimmon puree
1 C raisins or sultanas
1 C walnuts (pecans or dark chocolate chips work well too)

Here's what to do:
1) In a large mixing bowl beat butter, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices together until creamy. Add egg and persimmon puree to mixture and beat for about 3 minutes or until smooth.


2) Add flour and mix until combined. Gently stir in raisins and walnuts. The mixture should be a stiff batter. Cover batter with cling film and place in fridge while oven heats up. (Chilling the dough makes for cookies that taste and look better. The chilled batter will be easier to work with and less likely to spread. The extra time will also allow the pectin in the persimmon puree to thicken the batter and make it less likely to spread. this will  result in cookies that are round and puffed up rather than flat and misshapen like fried eggs.The spices will have a little extra time to lend their flavor to the batter too.)


3) When ready to bake heat oven to 325F/160C. Place tablespoonfuls of chilled batter two inches apart on baking trays lined with parchment paper or silicone mats. (I used a tablespoon sized scoop.)


4) Bake cookies at 325F/160C for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottoms. Remove cookies from tray using a spatula. Cookies will keep for up to 2 weeks in a sealed airtight container at room temperature. This recipe makes 32 cookies.



Helpful Hints:
For a nut free version of this recipe simply use dark chocolate chips in place of the walnuts. Dark chocolate chips don't sound like they'd work with persimmons but they are delicious in these cookies!

LOOK! It's snowing at the Taj Mahal!
Tacky souvenir begotten at the Taj Mahal by
Mr & Mrs KC&CO on their honeymoon

Alrightey then, so it's BIG FAT DESI WEDDING SEASON over here and we're heading hither, thither, and yon to attend all the festivities until January 2nd! So to all my friends who celebrate I hope you & yours have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


See ya next year,
Bibi


May 5, 2016

Mexican Polvorones (Anise & Cinnamon Cookies)

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Yes, it's Mexican independence day so it's time for a south of the border treat. "Polvo" means powder in Spanish which makes these cookies the powdery ones. Tender in texture and richly redolent with the sweetness of cinnamon and anise, these cookies are are "Que delicioso." This eggless recipe can be made vegan and are so simple to make. Try them as a elegant tea time treat or a tasty addition to any holiday platter. 

Mexican polvorones anise cinnamon cookies recipe cinco de mayo easy

Well, I didn't have a serape or even a pretty Mexican plate to style these cookies on so a lovely gaillardia blossom will have to infer all the vibrancy and festivity of Cinco de Mayo. These cookies get most of their flavor from the spices so be sure to use the best quality cinnamon and anise you can find. I prefer to use whole ground anise or anise oil as they are superior in flavor to the extract. The fat used plays an important role in both the texture and flavor of these cookies. Traditionally lard gave these cookies their powdery texture but I prefer butter, a high quality margarine, or vegetable shortening. Ground pecans or walnuts are also a traditional ingredient of polvorones depending upon region so you can add a cup of those also for extra rich cookies.

Ingredients:
1 C butter, margarine or vegetable shortening
1/4 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp ground anise or anise extract, or 1 drop anise oil
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
2 C flour/maida
1 C ground pecans or walnuts (optional)
1/4 C granulated sugar mixed with 2 tsp ground cinnamon for dredging

Here's what to do:
1) In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, powdered sugar, cinnamon, anise, vanilla, and salt.


2) Gradually mix in flour. Add pecans if using.  Dough will pull away from the mixing bowl and cling to itself when ready.


3) Chill dough wrapped in cling film or Ziploc bag for at least 3 hours or overnight,

4) When ready to bake preheat oven to 350F/180C.  Roll dough by tablespoonfuls into balls. Place on parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart and slightly flatten with palm of hand.

5) Bake cookies for 18 to 25 minutes turning baking sheet halfway through baking time.


6)  When cookies are baked through and slightly browned on the bottom remove from oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from baking with spatula.  If desired roll in 1/2 C granulated sugar mixed with 2 tsp cinnamon.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Makes 20 cookies.



Helpful hints:
You don't have to chill the dough. However, chilling does improve the flavor and will make the dough easier to handle and less likely to spread when baked. Less spreading and perfectly shaped dough will make for prettier cookies. You can also keep this dough frozen for up to a month until ready to use.

Dec 22, 2015

Ingredient of the Week: Dalchini, Cinnamon stick, or Cassia bark?


This is what is called dalchini or referred to as a "cinnamon stick" in South Asian cooking:



A bit thuggish & crude in appearance compared to the cinnamon sticks of the western world.

It's actually the dried bark of the Cinnamonum cassia tree (also called the Chinese cassia or Chinese cinnamon tree). Yes, it is from the same tree as 'tej patta' or Indian bay leaf.

"True cinnamon" from the Cinnamonun verum tree.

It is not the same as those tightly rolled & thinly layered cinnamon sticks you see in western countries. Those delicate, rolled cinnamon sticks you see in western countries are 'true cinnamon' which comes from the Cinnamonun verum tree (also called Sri Lanka cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon).


A Chinese cassia tree whose dried bark is called "dalchini."


Cassia bark (or dalchini as it is called in Desi-dom) has a stronger, almost peppery bite compared to its sweeter, subtler, & more aromatic Sri Lankan cousin.  Cassia bark/dalchini also stands up to the intense heat of the pressure cooker or kadhai better than the delicate Sri Lankan cinnamon quills. The spicier, peppery notes of cassia bark/dalchini suit savory dishes likes curries & stews better than it's sweeter cousin also.

Personally, I prefer to bake with ground cassia bark/dalchini rather than true cinnamon as I like a spicier punch to my cakes, cinnamon buns, cookies, & quick breads. If you are using cinnamon to enhance the natural sweetness of strawberries, cherries, or fruit pie fillings (as many Scandinavian, Swiss, Ukrainian, & German recipes do) then I'd choose to use the Sri Lankan or true cinnamon. My Swiss friend in Mumbai, Cyn, will attest to this. You can check out Cyn's blog at http://www.homecynhome.com


Nov 23, 2015

Ingredient of the Week: Cassia Leaf, Bay Leaf, or Tej Patta?



There's always a lot of confusion over this leaf- 


Tej Patta Indian Bay leaf
Tej Patta, Cassia leaf, or Indian Bay leaf

It is often incorrectly referred to as a "Bay leaf" in Indian recipes. The leaf is actually from the Cinnamonum cassia tree (also called the Chinese cassia, or Chinese cinnamon tree), it is not the true "Bay leaf" of the Mediterranean native Laurus nobilis tree (also called Greek Laurel or Bay tree). The leaves of the Cinnamomum cassia tree are commonly called "Tej Patta" in India and Nepal & have an entirely different flavor than the aromatic Mediterranean bay leaf.
Tej = radiant, lustrous, shining
Patta = leaf
The leaves of the Chinese cassia have a delicate cinnamon flavor - much like the ground bark of the Ceylon Cinnamon tree (Cinnamonum verum or true cinnamon tree). You can tell a cassia leaf/tej patta quite easily from a Mediterranean bay leaf by it's distinctive 3 veins & mild cinnamon scent.
If you are unable to find tej patta where you live I'd suggest adding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to replace it's flavor in a recipe.


Our neighbor's young Tej Patta or Chinese Cassia tree.




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