Baking is a very humbling experience for me. (Insert your own joke about Humble Pie) I feel completely confident in the kitchen with any recipe dealing with the courses that come before dessert. But when it comes to the sweetness at the end of the meal I shrivel up into a little ball of dough. I just don’t like baking that much. It’s probably because I don’t like desserts that much. I’ve remarked on several occasions that I’d rather have French fries than chocolate cake for dessert but no one has yet held me to that claim.
But in early November, the beautiful firm orange persimmon fruit starts to appear on almost every sidewalk produce stand and I really can’t resist. Of course I could cook with persimmons…perhaps a roasted persimmons and pork dish, but persimmons just yearn to be baked with sugar and flour. I’ve made persimmon bread before which was a huge hit. This year I contemplated making cupcakes, a tart and even repeating my glorious persimmon ice cream. But when I finally had persimmons in hand I had recently eaten a giant cheeseburger with fries. Needless to say, I was in the mood for something healthy.
As I mentioned….I don’t really like baking. The first time I made these I used a combination of recipes and accidentally bought steel cut oats instead of old fashioned oats. I’ve learned my lesson about combining recipes for baking and the verdict is that it doesn’t work. My first attempt yielded rock solid bricks with a slight sweet persimmon flavor which my kind colleagues said were “good.” So this time I ignored recipes all together and went with my gut. I kept some steel cut oats because I have no idea what to do with the giant container I bought.
These are definitely not a dessert. I promise that your guests will be sad if you present this as dessert. They have a very distinct, but pleasant flavor and are perfect for breakfast on the go. Maybe, I’ll have to do a Take Your Breakfast to Work Week segment modeled after Take Your Lunch to Work Week? BUT they are very healthy and protein-packed…and unintentionally VEGAN!
Persimmon Breakfast Bars
Makes 12-15 bars
You will need:
3 Fuyu persimmons, 2 peeled and roughly chopped, 1 whole
1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup neutral oil such as coconut or canola
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a small loaf pan or 9×9 glass dish with a large sheet of parchment paper that rides at least 6 inches up the sides so you can pull out the bars when finished.
2. In a food processor or blender, puree the 2 chopped persimmons and the almond milk.
3. Slice the leaves off the top of the whole persimmon, then slice two thin rounds to set aside for garnish. Peel and finely chop the remaining fruit and add it to a large mixing bowl.
4. Add all the other ingredients to the bowl and mix with your hands (don’t forget the blended persimmon and almond milk).
5. Pour the mixture (should be very gloppy and wet) into the baking dish and flatten with your hands so the mixture stands about 2 inches high. I suppose for crispy bars, you could spread the mixture very thin.
6. Slice the persimmon disks into triangles and space evenly across the top of the mixture in the loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes and then remove form the over and cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Then remove the whole paper and set on a wire rack or counter to cool completely.