Recipe: Top these spicy treats with orange icing
Orange icing tops these old-fashioned spiced cookies made with super-ripe persimmon pulp. Debbie Arrington
With ripe persimmons come persimmon cookies.
Off the tree, my Fuyus are quickly turning into sacks of jelly. That super-ripe pulp is perfect for making these old-fashioned drop cookies.
Angostura bitters intensifies the orange color of the dough as well as the fall flavors. The subtle icing tastes like orange but looks pale by comparison.
These cake-like treats can be served without icing or just a dusting of powdered sugar, too. Got lots of persimmon pulp? Make a double batch of cookies and keep some for later; these cookies freeze well.
Persimmon cookies with orange icing
Makes 3 dozen
1 cup persimmon pulp, pureed
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
¼ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon Angostura bitters
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Scoop pulp out of persimmon and mash or puree. Stir in baking soda; set aside.
Sift together flour, salt and spices. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening and sugar. Beat in egg until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and bitters.
Add persimmon pulp mixture to butter-sugar mixture. Stir in dry ingredients until just blended.
Rinse raisins with hot water. Drain well. Add to cookie dough.
Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. By rounded spoonful using two teaspoons, drop dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, allowing 2 inches of space between each cookie.
Bake in a 350-degree oven until golden brown on top, but still springy to the touch, about 13 to 14 minutes.
While cookies are baking, make icing: Melt butter. Add orange juice. Stir in sifted powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Add a few drops more orange juice if needed.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Top with icing. Store in a covered, air-tight container.
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For week of March 3:
* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.
* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.
* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.
* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.
* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.
* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.
* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.
* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.
* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.
* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.
* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.
* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.
* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.
* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.
* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.
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