The Real Food Journal

Jumbo Tofu Beet Sushi Rolls-When Bigger is Best

Big Fat Sushi Rolls

Do you ever feel that sushi is too precious? The most authentic sushi comes to you in tiny bites, designed to make you really appreciate what’s in your mouth. But sometimes, you just want a big fat sushi roll. Americans love sushi, and we want our food Texas-sized. This roll is hefty enough to serve as a main course for two people, especially if you make some Miso Soup. Asparagus with Walnut Sauce would be good, too.

Save Time, Make One Jumbo Sushi Roll

I have taught sushi classes for years, and have demonstrated everything from thin Kappa Maki to elaborately garnished Inside Out Rolls. But what most students want to learn is how to make a standard rolled sushi, or Futo Maki, with a spiral of colorful ingredients inside. It’s one of those things that seems like it will be hard to do, until you do it. All it takes is a bamboo rolling mat (also called a makisu) and some plastic wrap.

Jumbo Sushi Rolls

Stacks of Big Fat Sushi Rolls

Brown Rice is Great in Jumbo Sushi

The key to a good sushi roll is the rice. According to tradition, sushi chefs apprentice for years, making the rice over and over. The standard sushi rice is white, so I like to switch it out with a whole grain, and use medium-grain brown rice. Brown rice is much easier to cook, you don’t need years of training to get it right. Brown rice will give you more protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, so why not switch? I bought a brown version of the Japanese variety of sushi rice. Cook yours according to package instructions, or use 1 1/2-2 cups water per cup of rice. Check for doneness at 40 minutes.

It’s all about “Going Tubular”

To hold all this stuff, you will be using three sheets of nori on one roll. Two will be joined to make one long sheet, and a third will be placed over the seam, to keep the bountiful roll from exploding. Nori is one of the healthier foods you’ll eat all day, so an extra sheet is a very good thing.

Building a maki roll is an exercise in making an even pad of rice and placing ingredients in such a way that it can be rolled into an even “tube.” Beginners often make the mistake of not spreading the rice to an even depth all the way to the edges of the nori. That will not roll up properly. It’s also important to line up even slices of fillings so that they roll easily. After watching hundreds of people make their first maki, I’ve seen it all.

Don’t worry, it all tastes good, even if the roll turns out lumpy!

Vegan Brown Rice Sushi

Three sheets of nori and lots of fillings, for a Jumbo Roll!

Of course, you can fill your roll with whatever moves you. Just make sure to cut it into even strips. Carrots, cukes, even roasted veggies like sweet potatoes can be rolled into your maki.

Jumbo Sushi

Jumbo Sushi is full of flavorful fillings

We Love Mayo in Sushi

Purists may look sideways at the American love of mayo in rolls. Sushi chefs have made it popular, and they use a Japanese mayo called “Kewpie,” that is super rich and amped up with added MSG. You can use your fave vegan mayo, and stir in wasabi to taste. I like it in this roll, it adds to the over-the-top quality, and complements the creamy avocado.

So, if you’ve ever wanted more sushi, here’s a way to make four rolls in one. The old saying, “too much is just enough” may very well apply here, in a jumbo sushi roll that’s a meal for two.

Jumbo Sushi Roll with Tofu and Beets

Make these fat rolls and fill them with tasty veggies and tofu, for a sushi treat!

Course Main Course
Keyword vegan sushi
Servings 2
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 1 medium beet steamed
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar divided
  • 1/2 block extra firm tofu drained and patted dry
  • salt
  • 1 cup medium-grain brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large avocado
  • leaf lettuce
  • 1/4 cup sliced pickled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 1 teaspoons wasabi to taste
  • 3 sheets nori

Instructions

  1. First, steam the beet whole until tender when pierced with a knife. Run cold water over the beet as you strip the skin off with a paring knife, then place the beet on a cutting board to cool slightly. Cut the beet in 1/2 inch slices, then stack them and slice in 1/2 inch strips. Place in a small storage tun with a lid and pour 2 tablespoons of the rice vinegar over, add a generous pinch salt, and toss to mix. 

  2. Slice the tofu into strips the same size, and place in the container with the beets. Put on the lid and flip the container to coat the tofu with beet juice and vinegar. Let the mixture marinate for at least an hour, turning occasionally.

  3. Place the rice in a small pot with 1 1/2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low and cook for about 30-40 minutes. When the rice is tender and all the water has been absorbed, take off the heat. Let stand for at least 5 minutes. Let cool.

  4. When rice is cool, mix the remaining tablespoon of vinegar with sugar and drizzle over the rice. Fold in to coat. 

  5. Prep the vegetables and wrap your rolling mat with plastic wrap.

  6. Place a nori sheet on the rolling mat, dampen the far edge, and place another sheet on that overlapping by an inch. Press to make one long sheet. Place the third sheet over the seam.

  7. Spread rice over the nori, leaving an inch bare at the far edge. You'll use all of the rice. Arrange the fillings as shown in the photo, making even rows of each. 

  8. Start rolling up from the bottom, holding the fillings in place with your fingers as you use the mat to roll the nori and rice into an even cylinder.When you reach then end of the mat, carefully pull the roll back and keep going. Dampen the bare edge and turn the roll to sit on the seam.

  9. Carefully slice in 6 fat slices and place on plates. Serve with wasabi, tamari, more pickled ginger, and whatever else sounds good.

Make Easy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Crispy Bars

Vegan Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

Peanut Butter and Chocolate and Crunch!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Crispy Bars Are Calling Your Name!

My neighborhood grocery store folks know how our minds work. When you stand in line at the register, they have thoughtfully provided a stack of appealing, easy to grab treats, to tempt the hungry shopper. I must admit, I’ve gazed longingly at the peanut butter rice crispy bars with a thick layer of chocolate on top, looking all crunchy and seductive in their plastic wrappers. Peanut Butter and Chocolate. I didn’t come into the store wanting them, but now I do.

But I know, they have all kinds of ingredients I don’t want, and are topped with wimpy milk chocolate. I also know that making no-bake crispy treats is so easy to do, it seems silly to buy them.

So I picked up the ingredients instead!

You Don’t Need Marshmallows for Crispy Bars

If you grew up making rice crispy bars, you probably did it by melting a bag of marshmallows with some margarine, then stirring in some rice krispies. If you are trying to avoid refined foods, as I am, you don’t want any part of that scenario. But you can get a nice crispy bar without the refined sugar and gelatin, and even use brown rice cereal in place of white. A few toasted oats fill in between the rice, and give it a nice flavor. Throw in some peanut butter and it’s not just yummy, but has a little bit of protein as a bonus.

The Magic of Boiled Syrup Holds It Together

If you’re wondering what will glue all those tiny bits of rice together in the bar, we can thank rice syrup. There’s a transformation that occurs when you boil it. It only takes one minute, but don’t skip that step, or your bars will not set. Peanut butter thickens the coating, too.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Stack Them Up, Watch Them Go!

Once you press them in the pan, they set up quickly. Make room in the refrigerator and chill them for a couple of hours, then spread melted chocolate over the top. There is a video clip of me doing this on my instagram page, so check that out, if only for the food pron of watching melted chocolate move across the screen.

Gluten Free, Vegan, and Nobody Will Care

Using gluten free oats makes these safe for your GF friends, and brown rice syrup is as vegan as it gets. Use organic brown sugar or palm sugar (the soft kind from a jar) to make sure you are keeping it vegan. This is one of those treats that your junk food-loving friends and omnivorous family will devour, without missing gluten or sugar. I promise.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Forever!

I just love peanut butter and chocolate together, here are a few more treats that feature the timeless combo:

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pops

Peanut Butter and Cacao Nib Smoothies

Pumpkin Spice Buckeyes

Dark Chocolate is Health Food

Now that I have my bars, I’ll be wrapping up a few to keep in the refrigerator, to grab when I am on my way to teach a class or hit the gym. A little burst of energy, in the form of peanut butter and chocolate, always comes in handy.

Enjoy the bars!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Crispy Bars

Who Needs Marshmallows? You can make your own crispy bars with peanut butter, brown rice syrup, and whole grain crisped brown rice.

Course Dessert
Servings 16
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 5 cups crisped brown rice cereal
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, organic or soft palm sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup vegan mini-chips or other dark chocolate
  • chopped peanuts optional, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Oil a 9x13 inch metal or glass baking pan with 2 inch sides. Reserve

  2. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, swirl the oats until they are fragrant and toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl so that they will not burn. Add the crispy rice and salt and stir to mix.


  3. In a small saucepan, combine the rice syrup and brown or palm sugar. Over high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce to a low bubble for one minute. Take off the heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Pour over the oat mixture and mix well.  
  4. Scrape into the prepared pan and use wet hands to press evenly in the pan. 
  5. Chill for at least 3 hours before removing from the pan. Get a cutting board, and use a metal spatula to go around the edge of the pan, loosening the bars. Place the cutting board on top of the pan and invert. The bars should drop out, tap the bottom of the pan if needed to get them to drop.

    Melt the chocolate and spread over the bars. If desired, you can sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

  6. Chill the pan until the chocolate is set.

  7. Slice into four even squares, then slice each of those into four bars. Store in an airtight wrapper or container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Make a Pistachio Cream Pizza, and You Won’t Miss the Cheese!

 

vegan Pistachio and ham pizza

Tangy Tomatoes, Savory “Ham” and Creamy Pistachio

Vegan Pizza. For some, it’s the final challenge. All that meat and cheese is just too hard to give up, right? Not so fast. All you need is some of the mock “ham” from my Plant Based Meats Cookbook and some pistachios to make a really satisfying, savory pizza.

Vegan Pizza Needs a Good “Cheese”

If you’ve tried some of the commercially made vegan “cheese,” you may have found them to be disappointing. The really good ones are expensive, making them more of a treat than a staple. But if you have a blender, you can make quick nut purees that give you much of the creamy, savory cheesiness you crave. Vegan pizza can be a genuinely fantastic experience.

Pistachios are Stars in Their Own Right

Pistachios are so craveably tasty that you might forget that they are incredibly good for you. Lower in fat and calories than many nuts, they are rich in antioxidants- notably the lutein and zeanthin that protect your eyesight. They also lower your cholesterol, protect your blood vessels, and protect against cancer.

An ounce, or about 1/4 cup, has:

Calories: 156/ Carbs: 8 grams/ Fiber: 3 grams

Protein: 6 grams/Fat: 12 grams (90% are healthy fats)

Potassium: 8% of the RDI/ Phosphorus: 14% of the RDI

Vitamin B6: 24% of the RDI/ Thiamin: 16% of the RDI

Copper: 18% of the RDI/ Manganese: 17% of the RDI

Pistachio Cream and "Ham" Pizza

Pistachio Cream Is Luscious and “Cheesy”

Plant Based “Ham” Boosts the Protein and Meatiness

Of course, this pizza is built on a whole wheat crust, and features the “ham” from my book, Plant Based Meats. I made the ham, portioned it into 2 and four serving-sized packs of sliced and cubed ham, and froze several of them. Then I had it on hand for sandwiches, split pea soup, fried rice, you name it. Anywhere ham might go.

Vegan "Ham" and Pistachio Cream Pizza

There may not be any leftovers…

A Creamy, Green Vegan Pizza Topping Made from Pistachios

All it takes is a blender. This one is not soaked or fermented, just pureed and poured over the pizza. If you wanted, you could empty in a few probiotic capsules and let the mixture sit our for a day to ferment a little. But, really, this is a quick solution to the DIY vegan pizza cheese.

It Really Came Together Faster Than You Think

Mix dough, let rise, puree pistachios, quick saute some tomatoes. The ham is already made, in this scenario. The cast iron pan gave the whole wheat crust a lively crisp edge, and held the heat to keep the pizza warm at the table as we worked out way through it.

It might serve four, or if you are two hungry people, you might have one slice left over for lunch.

Maybe. And that’s a sign of a good pizza!

"Ham" and Pistachio Cream Pizza in Cast Iron

Instead of seeking out non-dairy cheeses, why not puree a lovely pistachio topping instead?

Course Main Course
Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Pistachio Cream

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios

Toppings

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes halved
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano chopped
  • 4 ounces mock ham, cubed 3/4 cup

Instructions

  1. First, make the crust. In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast and salt, then stir in the water and olive oil. Mix well, but don't knead. Let rise, covered, for an hour. 
  2. In a powerful blender, place the water, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Add the pistachios and blend, scraping down, until smooth. Scrape into a bowl and reserve.
  3. Scrape into a bowl and reserve.

    In a small saute pan, heat the remaining olive oil and saute the grape tomatoes and garlic until the tomatoes are softened. Stir in the oregano and stir for a few more seconds.

  4. Preheat the oven to 425. Oil a 10 inch cast iron skillet.Pat the dough into the pan. Let rise on the back of the stove while the oven pre-heats.
  5. Sprinkle the tomatoes and oregano over the crust, cover with "ham," and drizzle the pistacho puree over the pizza.

    Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the crust is golden. Serve immediately.

Hasselback Purple Sweet Potatoes with Sage, for a Colorful Side Dish

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Ready to Serve

Hasselback is the Way to Go

A plain, baked sweet potato is a pretty great thing on its own. Just sliced or mashed, adorned with a little salt or maple syrup. But when it’s time to entertain, you want something with curb appeal. For a dramatic presentation, go for these Hasselback Purple Sweet Potatoes with Sage. If you haven’t encountered it before, the term “hasselback” refers to the method of slicing a whole vegetable into vertial slices, leaving it intact at the bottom. It used to be just potatoes, but we’ve been doing it to everything lately. In this recipe, a little bit of knife work transforms a brilliant purple tuber into a showpiece of a dish, and it’s super simple to make.

Purple Foods Are Special

I’ve been obsessed with the Stokes Purple Sweet Potato since it appeared on the scene a few years ago. I’ve made it into Quesadillas, Bowls, stuffed sweet potatoes, wrap sandwiches, and more.

If you haven’t worked with them, they are a little denser and drier than your usual, orange sweet potato. They don’t seem to get as huge as the Garnet Yams and other sweet potatoes I buy. They take a little longer to cook than other sweet potatoes, too.

These sweet potatoes are swirled with deep purple, with layers of lighter flesh in between. Once they are cooked, the lighter areas are tinted to match. The purple pigment is made up of anthocyanin, a potent antioxidant. It’s also gorgeous.

How to Hasselback

I used a pair of chopsticks to help me make the hasselback shape, Holding the sticks on each side of the tuber kept my knife from cutting all the way through. Easy.

For this presentation, I fitted my sweet potatoes into a casserole before cutting them, just to get the size right. As you can see, I had room between the sweet potatoes for some herb-laced onions, and I did fill in with one small orange sweet potato. You can easily make these in any amount, just fit the sweets in the pan and fill the space with sliced onions.

 

For the purely plant based joy of it, I warmed some chopped sage in olive oil and basted the slices with it. Salt and pepper are essential, when you are making something so simple. Of course, you could add slivered garlic, chilis, or other seasonings.

There’s a Reason for All That Slicing

Once the slices of sweet potato are properly basted, just cover and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. That will make sure the sweet potatoes are nice and tender. Another basting with oil and herbs, and a quick turn under the broiler will brown it just enough to give you a little crispiness on top.

Of you wanted to sprinkle with some oiled crumbs, finely chopped nuts, or shredded cheese, it would be lovely. Just don’t burn them under the broiler.

This is the season to show off your skills with sweet potatoes and other winter veggies. Sharpen up that Chef’s knife and give this one a twirl, you’ll love it.

Hasselback Purple Sweet Potatoes

If you can find some Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes, they make a dramatic purple side dish to wow your friends and family. Regular sweet potatoes are fantastic, as well.

Course Side Dish
Servings 6
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 6 medium Purple Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 large onion slivered
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh sage chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • rosemary and sage sprigs for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Get a 9x13 casserole pan and foil to cover it.
  2. Arrange your sweet potatoes in the pan, then take each one out, peel it, and do the cuts as follows. Shave off a thin slice from the side that you want to rest on the pan. Place that side down on the cutting board and place two chopsticks on either side of the sweet potato, to use as a knife-stop. Carefully grip the chopsticks and the sweet potato and use your knife to slice down, but not through, at 1/4-inch intervals. Place the potato back in the pan and continue until all are done.

  3. Mix the onions with a tablespoon of olive oil and the rosemary, and a pinch of the salt. Sprinkle between the potatoes.

    In a small pot, warm the remaining olive oil, sage, salt and pepper. Use a pastry brush to baste the potatoes, opening the slices as much as possible without breaking. You can pick each one up and bend it back slightly to open, then paint into the slices. Reserve a couple of tablespoons of the seasoned oil.

  4. When all the sweet potatoes are seasoned and in the pan, cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes. The sweet potatoes should be tender when pierced with a knife, in the center of a thick slice.
  5. Uncover, baste again with the reserved oil, and turn on the broiler. Slide the pan under the broiler, watching closely, and take out to baste again every minute or so. It won't take more than 3 or 4 minutes to brown the tops.
  6. Garnish with rosemary and sage sprigs. Serve hot.

Rich, Luscious Truffles, Easy, Fast (and Vegan)

Boozy Vegan Truffles

Boozy Cherry Vegan Truffles

The holiday season is in full swing, and you really should have some treats planned by now. No? Well I’m here with a simple little treat that everybody will think was hard to make. I’m talking about Vegan Truffles.

No Special Skills Are Needed to Make Vegan Truffles

I know, people spend big bucks on fancy truffles, many of which are pretty awful. They are also usually made with cream. I’m here to tell you, all you need is chocolate, coconut milk, and a flavor of your choice. Vanilla, almond, booze, any will do.

If you can boil a little coconut milk and pour it over some chocolate, then stir, you have the truffle filling. Chill it, scoop it, and you have truffles. I like to gussy it up with some liquor-soaked dried fruit, but you don’t have to. It’s optional in the recipe below.

Vegan Truffles

They Don’t Have to Be Perfect-They’re Delicious!

Vegan Truffles are Easy to Make in Stages

It’s easy to throw the ganache together in the morning before work, or after dinner. Just stir it up and chill it. Then, plan about 20 minutes for forming the truffles into balls. You need a small scoop to make this go quickly, I’ve used a melon baller in a pinch. Chill them again and you can dip them later in about a 15 minute session. I melted chocolate to coat them, but you can just roll in cocoa, powdered sugar, nuts, or whatever sounds good to you.

Because I don’t make you take time to temper the chocolate, the coating will not be glossy and snappy. That’s why I like to sprinkle it with some crunchy, flavored sugar or other decoration to cover the less-than-perfect look of the coating.

(if you want to temper chocolate, you’ll need more time…)

Vegan Truffles

Once You Scoop Them They are Truffles!

Everybody Loves Chocolate

The plain truffle is vegan, alcohol free, and really, kind of a healthy little pick me up. It’s mostly dark chocolate, packed with antioxidants, so it’s good for you. The fruity version has healthy dried fruit in it as a bonus.

Truffles Are Fun To Share

If you want to go all out with candy boxes and foil, or just put them on a plate and serve them, people will love them. I put mine in those mini-muffin papers so I could pack them into reusable containers for my friends. Just keep them in the refrigerator until time to serve.

Happy Holidays with Truffles!

Vegan Truffles

These easy truffles can be varied endlessly- keep them simple, or add fruit, nuts and flavorings.

Course Dessert
Keyword Vegan Truffles
Servings 50 1 1/2 tsp truffles
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces very dark chocolate chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk thick
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (use glycerine vanilla for no-alcohol) for plain truffles

For Boozy Cherry Truffles

  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup cognac or brandy

Coating

  • 8 ounces very dark chocolate
  • cocoa, colored sugar, chopped nuts, powdered sugar, etc

Instructions

  1. If using cherries, soak the cherries in the booze before starting. When soft and plumped, squeeze them out and chop the fruit, and reserve the liquor. 

  2. Chop the chocolate. Place the coconut milk in a small pot and bring to a boil. Take off the heat and dump in the chocolate, let stand for a couple of minutes before stirring. When all the chocolate is melted, stir in the vanilla or 2 tablespoons of the liquor from the cherries.

  3. Scrape the chocolate mixture into a storage container, cover, and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours. 

  4. Prepare a large storage container for the truffle scoops. Scoop the ganache into portions, then roll between your palms for a nice round shape. Place in the storage container and chill for at least half an hour.

  5. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Melt chocolate in a double boiler and dip the truffles, using a fork to lift each one out of the chocolate, shake off extra chocolate, and place on parchment. Decorate with a sprinkle of sugar or nuts.

    Alternatively, skip the melted chocolate coating and simply roll in coatings.

  6. Refrigerate until time to serve, keep tightly covered.

Bake Persimmon Cookies for a Seasonal Treat

Persimmon and Hazelnut Cookies

Persimmon Cookies and Pomegranates, Together at Last!

Persimmon and Hazelnut Cookies

When the persimmons appear in the stores, you know the holidays are coming. That makes them a perfect candidate to use in a holiday treat, like these Persimmon and Hazelnut Cookies with Pomegranate Glaze.

What The Heck is a Persimmon, Anyway?

Take a look at your grocery store, there should be a few orange fruits, rather like either a pointed or a very squat orange tomato. Those are the persimmons, and you need to know which kind to eat now, and which to wait on. Important rule: Pointy ones, WAIT. Round ones, Go ahead now, or wait. The pointy ones are called Hachiya persimmons, and they are bitter and tannic when firm. The rounder ones are Fuyus, and they can be eaten sliced, or allowed to completely soften, as I did for this recipe.

For a persimmon salad recipe, click here or a persimmon chutney, click here

Persimmon Lore and Legend

The bright orange fruits feel like something hopelessly old-fashioned and romantic, to me. They weren’t really around when I was growing up, but I remember them being mentioned in books about the olden days, and wondering what they might taste like. Turns out, those persimmons of lore and legend were tiny and intensely tannic and bitter if you took a bite before they had hung on the tree past first frost. The persimmon of North Americas was used by the Natives, once ripe, to make into dried “energy bars” for the winter. It was quickly replaced by the Japanese varieties sent over in the mid 1800’s. That’s when the Hachiyas and Fuyus took over.

Juicy and Enigmatic Persimmon Pulp Is Great for Baking

Ripe Persimmon

Soft, Ripe Fuyu Persimmon

I picked up a pair of Fuyus and let them ripen until they were completely soft. Then I cut out the stem and scooped out the pulp. I just mashed it, so there were still chunks left, but most of it melted into the cookie dough.

The dough is easy, all mixed by hand in a big bowl. Don’t over-mix, this is a low-fat cookie, and too much stirring will make it tough. Toasting and skinning the hazelnuts is kind of fussy, but worth every second.

Persimmon Cookies with Pomegranate Glaze

Drizzling the Cookies with Tangy Pomegranate Glaze

Once you bake the cookies, let them cool, then stir up this potent pomegranate glaze. Pomegranate is another fruit we only see this time of year, and it makes a brilliant pink glaze. It’s also famed for its antioxidant levels. But really, it’s Holiday red, so go for it!

I opened up a fresh pomegranate for some juicy arils to sprinkle around the cookies, but you don’t have to. It just looks pretty, and they are fun to pop in your mouth between cookies.

Eating with the seasons sometimes means eating something a little exotic, from somewhere warm. Persimmons and pomegranates are part of the holidays, here, in the land of ice and snow. If we had dried persimmons from out native trees, we’d be eating them now, and wishing we had these juicy, brilliant ones instead.

Happy Holidays!

Persimmon and Hazelnut Cookies with Pomegranate Glaze

Persimmon gives the cookies a fruity, orange glow. The sweet and tart fruit is perfect in these little cookies, studded with crunchy hazelnuts.

Course Dessert
Servings 30 cookies
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 1 cups persimmon pulp from two very ripe persimmons
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup toasted and skinned hazlenuts coarsely chopped

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice approximately

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two sheet pans with parchment papers. To toast the nuts, spread them on a sheet pan and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Let cool just until safe to handle. Using a folded towel, rub the nuts to remove the skins. If any nuts refuse to give up their skins, put them back in the oven for 5 minutes longer and try again. Rub off the skins, the coarsely chop. Discard the skins.

  2. In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking soda and salt. In a cup, stir the non-dairy milk and flax seeds and let stand for five minutes to thicken. In a medium bowl, stir the persimmon pulp, maple, sugar, coconut oil and vanilla. Stir the flax mixture into the persimmon mixture, then stir into the flour mixture.

  3. Fold in the hazelnuts.

  4. Use a tablespoon to scoop heaping two tablespoon-sized portions of dough and place them an inch apart on the pans. Flatten slightly to make thick disks. They will not spread. Bake 10 minutes, then reverse the position of the pans and bake for 6 minutes more. The cookies will look dry and the bottoms will be golden. 
  5. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely.
  6. Once the cookies are cool, stir the organic powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of pomegranate juice. You'll need a few more teaspoons to make the glaze fluid enough to drizzle. Drizzle the cookies and let them dry on the rack, then transfer to an airtight container. Keeps at room temperature for a week.

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