Persimmon Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

by eat in my kitchen

Persimmon Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

Around this time last year, I came up with a recipe that took my beloved persimmons and turned them into streusel bars – it was nothing less than divine. I’m a huge fan of this gorgeous fruit, especially when it’s overly ripe, soft as jelly and honey-sweet. To use it in Christmas baking is tricky, as it can easily get lost under spices and butter, it needs a balanced composition that allows its fine fruitiness to shine.

When I last bought a bunch of persimmons from my local vegetable man, I could have just turned them into another batch of streusel bars. But I love creating new traditions and I decided to challenge myself to come up with a new persimmon Christmas cookie recipe every year. So in 2016, I’m celebrating my young tradition with a cookie classic, jam filled thumbprint cookies, called Husarenkrapfen in German. The buttery shortcrust is refined with hazelnuts, cinnamon, and vanilla – at least in my kitchen. The fruity filling in the middle is usually red, made of red currants or raspberries. But as I looked at the orange coloured fruits on my kitchen table, I decided to purée and cook the pulp of a persimmon with a generous amount of vanilla to enhance its flavour. It’s an unfussy jam, a spoonful of honey, just a tablespoon of sugar, and 5 minutes on the heat. Perfect for my slightly nutty Husarenkrapfen.

Happy 2nd Advent!

Persimmon Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

 

Persimmon Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

Persimmon Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

You can either bake the cookies filled with the jam or bake the plain cookies first and drop a dollop of the jam into the holes once they are cool (which I prefer). It looks prettier and the taste of the fruit is more present.

Makes about 50 cookies

For the dough

plain flour 300g / 2 1/3 cups
ground hazelnuts 100g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
baking powder 1/2 teaspoon
ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon
butter, soft, 150g / 2/3 cup
granulated sugar 130g / 2/3 cup
vanilla bean, split and scraped, 1/2
organic eggs 2

For the jam filling

large ripe persimmon, peeled, 1 (250g / 9 ounces)
vanilla bean, split and scraped, 1/2
honey 1 teaspoon
granulated sugar 1 tablespoon

icing sugar, for dusting

For the dough, in a large bowl, combine the flour, hazelnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla seeds until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well in between. Add the flour mixture, change to the hook attachment, and mix until combined. The dough will be quite soft. Scrape onto a long layer of cling film, form a thick disc, wrap it, and put in the freezer for about 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350 (preferably convection setting). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

For the jam, purée the persimmon and vanilla seeds in a blender or food processor. Transfer to a small saucepan, stir in the honey and sugar, and bring to the boil. Cook over medium-high heat, it should be bubbling, stirring once in a while, for about 4 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Set aside and let the jam cool.

Cut off a slice off the dough, roll into a sausage shape, and cut off pieces, keep the remaining dough in the fridge. Using your hands, roll the pieces into 3cm / 1 1/4″ balls. Press the end of a wooden spoon into the middle of each ball, pushing almost through to the bottom and leaving only a thin layer at the bottom of the cookie (otherwise the holes might close during baking). Transfer to the lined baking sheets and bake, one sheet after the other, for about 14 minutes or until golden. Let the cookies cool completely, then fill with the persimmon jam and dust with icing sugar.

If you want to store the cookies in a cookie box, I recommend adding the jam filling before serving. They become a bit softer after a day if they are filled and it’s also easier to store them without the filling.

Persimmon Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

 

Persimmon Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

 

Persimmon Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

 

Persimmon Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

 

Persimmon Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies