Sweet Persimmon Bars with Brown Butter Orange Frosting

Sweet Persimmon Bars with Brown Butter Orange Frosting are super moist, lightened up bars made indulgent with a flavorful brown butter orange frosting.  These versatile bars are great for breakfast, snacks, or dessert!

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How did the holiday weekend treat you?  I hope you had a wonderful time filled with food and fun…and bargains? 🙂  Thanksgiving got so hectic for me that I ended up pretty much taking the week off from the blog.  I never intended to, but it became clear to me that I needed to let something go if I wanted to keep my sanity.  I did just that, and focused on my turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato casserole, cranberries, salad, and 3 pies (key lime, banana cream, and pumpkin).  It was exhausting, but Thanksgiving turned out great, and I had a nice relaxing time with my family this weekend.  I definitely can’t complain. 🙂

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Now, some time back I posted a picture on Instagram of the persimmons I’d bought.  Maybe you saw it?  I scooped up plenty of fuyu and hyacinth persimmons, and blew through them in no time.  In fact, I’ve been buying both varieties like crazy ever since.   If you’re a persimmon fan, you know they’re not cheap, but when you love something enough, you’ll pay any price for them.  Even a hefty price tag of $2.50 each (wince!).  I did that once, and luckily found them cheaper or that addiction would have come to an abrupt halt. 😉

A halt would’ve been terrible, because my family and I have become so addicted to these bars, probably since I made them in one form or another 4 times in the past month.  Yes — four.  Once in a loaf pan with no frosting.  Once in bar form with no frosting.  Then 2 more times in bar form with frosting just to make sure they were up to snuff for you.  I know without a shadow of a doubt they’re up to snuff, because even after all of that, I could make another batch right here, right now.  Because these bars are ah-mazing. 🙂

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In case you no nothing about persimmons, I’m going to give you a little background.  The thing is, there’s a big difference between fuyu and hachiya, and they cannot be used interchangeably.

 

fuyu persimmons

Fuyu persimmons are tomato shaped.  They can be eaten raw, peeled or unpeeled, and are even ripe when they’re hard.  Add them raw to your salads, salsas, sangria, appetizers, oatmeal, or slice and use them to top a fruit tart filled with pastry cream.  They’re a bit crunchy, which I love, and they remind me of a less crispy apple, only they’re sweeter.  You just have to try them for yourself to understand!

 

hyacinth persimmons

Hachiya persimmons, which were used here in these bars, are much different.   This variety must be completely ripe before using because they’re so astringent even when they’re even slightly underripe.  I accidentally tried one when it was underripe, and my mouth dried out instantly and just puckered!  I had no idea back then.  Make sure they’re nice and squishy — the squishier the better!  Just halve them, scoop out the pulp, and puree it in a blender.

 

hycinth persimmon puree

Is this puree gorgeous or what?  It’s now ready to be used in your baking, and produces baked goods similar to pumpkin, only moister.  🙂

 

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So these bars….they’re really just a lightened up quick bread, which I adapted from my Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Muffins.  Why not just use pumpkin if they’re so similar?  They’re similar, but they’re very different, too.  Persimmons are so sweet, and they make these bars dense like pumpkin, but they’re slightly gooey as well.  They’re like a super moist, dense cake.  I added raisins for some texture and more sweetness, too, or you can use chopped dates as well.

If you’re trying to eat healthier, you can make these bars with no frosting at all, but I figure since they’re lighter, we have some room for a little frosting!  This frosting is beyond incredible, too.  The brown butter and orange flavor goes hand in hand with the sweet persimmon…I just cannot say enough about this combination.  The best part is, you decide when you want to eat these bars, because they’re great for breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert.  You’ve got to get out there and scoop up some hyacinth persimmons quick…and make sure they’re squishy!  You’re just going to love these bars. 🙂

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Sweet Persimmon Bars with Brown Butter Orange Frosting
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Sweet Persimmon Bars with Brown Butter Orange Frosting are super moist, lightened up bars made indulgent with a flavorful brown butter orange frosting. These versatile bars are great for breakfast, snacks, or dessert!
Serves: 16 bars
Ingredients
For the bars:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour*
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar*
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup hachiya persimmon pulp, pureed (2 large or 3-4 small to medium)
  • ½ cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt (I used Chobani 0% plain)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins or chopped dates
For the brown butter frosting:
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions
Prepare the bars:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8" square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Place the flours, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, and oil vigorously until frothy, about 1 minute. Whisk in the persimmon puree, milk, Greek yogurt, and vanilla until well combined. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until incorporated, then fold in the raisins. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until puffed in the middle and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, or until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 190 degrees. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from the pan and cool completely.
Prepare the frosting:
  1. While the bars cook, brown the butter. Place the butter in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the butter melts. Increase the heat to medium, and cook until the butter has browned and has a nutty aroma, about 5-10 minutes. Pour the butter into a medium bowl and allow to solidify to the consistency of softened butter before preparing the frosting.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, orange, zest, orange juice, milk or cream, and vanilla to the browned butter and beat on medium speed with a hand mixer until smooth. When the bars have cooled, spread the frosting evenly over the bars and cut into 16 squares. Store at room temperature in an airtight container and enjoy!
Notes
Total time above includes 30 minutes for the bars to cool before frosting.

*Whole wheat pastry flour may be substituted for whole wheat flour or all purpose flour.

*Coconut sugar may be substituted for granulated sugar or brown sugar. I like to use a combination of both -- ½ cup of brown sugar and ¼ cup granulated.

*Hyacinth persimmons much be completely ripe, meaning very squishy to the point of almost oozing liquid. The squishier the better!

Recipe by Flavor the Moments.