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Persimmon Bars

12 December

Makes 2 1/2 dozen

This recipe comes from an OLD Sunset “cookie” book. These are more like a “cakey” bar than a cookie though. But I love this recipe; it is popular with friends and family, and is so easy!

1 cup persimmon puree from Hachiya persimmons (directions below)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil of choice
1 package (8 ounces) pitted dates, about 1 1/2 cups, finely chopped (sometimes it’s easier to snip them with kitchen scissors)
1 3/4 cups flour of choice
1 teaspoon each: sea salt, ground cinnamon, and freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Lemon Glaze (recipe follows)

To make persimmon puree:  You will need fully ripened persimmons. About 2 to 3 medium persimmons will yield 1 cup of puree. Persimmon puree freezes beautifully, so if you find yourself with lots of them ripening all at once, prepare puree as described here and freeze in one-cup increments. Then thaw as needed and use in any recipe calling for persimmon puree.

Cut fruits in half and scoop out the pulp with a spoon. Discard the skin, seeds, and stem. In a blender or food processor, whirl pulp (if doing large quantities, do this a portion at a time) until smooth. For each cup puree, thoroughly stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice. To store, freeze in 1-cup containers; thaw covered, at room temperature.

To make bars:
1. Measure out 1 cup of puree and stir in baking soda. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, lightly beat egg, then stir in sugar, oil and dates.
3. In another bowl, stir together flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; add the date mixture alternating with persimmon mixture, stirring until just blended.
4. Stir in chopped nuts. Spread batter evenly in a lightly greased, flour-dusted 10 by 15 inch rimmed baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until top is browned and a pick inserted comes out clean.
5. Let cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Prepare lemon glaze and spread over the bars. Let cool completely, then cut into 2-by-2 1/2-inch bars.

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