spiced persimmon muffins


At this time of year, the vegetation along the nearby vineyard roads is sparse save for gnarly vines and knobby persimmon trees with bright orange globes dangling from the limbs. My neighbor graciously gifted me with a basket of Hachiya persimmons, and I jumped at the chance to experiment with a new ingredient, using the creamy flesh in these spiced persimmon muffins. Chewy dried cherries and toasted pecans add texture, and the persimmon puree gives the muffins a subtle depth that enlivens a warming spice medley.

On persimmons – Hachiya persimmons are shaped like acorns and must be completely ripe before use. When ripe, the fruit will feel extremely soft and the skin will appear transluscent. Strain the flesh, then use immediately or store up to 5 days in the refrigerator; freeze for longer storage.

Spiced Persimmon Muffins
Adapted from Cooking Light
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp ginger
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp plain fat-free yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup ripe mashed Hachiya persimmon
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup dried tart cherries

Preheat oven to 375Β°F and line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with baking cups; coat baking cups with cooking spray. Toast pecans in a single layer until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes; set aside. Whisk together flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture.

Combine yogurt, eggs, persimmon, honey, vegetable oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl; add to flour mixture and stir just until combined. Gently fold in cherries and fill each baking cup 3/4 full of batter; sprinkle toasted pecans evenly over muffins. Bake for 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let muffins cool in pan on a wire rack for 2 minutes before removing from pan to serve warm or cool completely. Store muffins in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.

Yield – 18 muffins (serving size: 1 muffin)
Calories – 150
Carbs – 25

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