Delicious enough to feel like an indulgent treat, but virtuous enough to make a satisfying breakfast, these muffins deserve a spot in your winter baking repertoire. Lightly spiced and conservatively sweetened, the delicate floral and spicy flavors of the persimmon are showcased but not overpowered in this recipe. Oats, flax, and whole wheat flour lend a heartiness to the finished product that will keep you going throughout your morning. Cranberries add a bright and tart contrast to the mellow flavors of the persimmon and spice.
I only recently discovered persimmons earlier this winter (I don't know how I went so long!) and haven't been able to get enough of them since! A persimmon challenge was just the right excuse to stock up and start playing around with different ways to make use of this fruit. Here I used several ripe Fuyu persimmons as that was what was available, but I suspect that you would have just as much (if not more) success with the Hachiya variety as well - just make sure that it is fully ripe!
There are quite a few ingredients in this recipe - but fear not if you don't have everything on hand, this recipe is quite flexible. Yogurt can stand in for buttermilk, the ratio of white to whole wheat flour can be adjusted, spices can be tweaked, and another berry could be used in place of cranberries. I can also see the addition of nuts such as pecans working brilliantly in this recipe. Share your own variations in the comments! —kangarhubarb
Preheat oven to 400 F and butter or line a 12 cup muffin pan (optional: this makes for larger muffins. If you prefer smaller to medium sized muffins butter or line an additional 6 muffin cups).
To brown the butter, melt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and continue to cook, stirring constantly, as butter foams up and begins to turn a deep amber. Butter will become very fragrant. Remove from heat and pour into a medium mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer to cool.
While the butter is cooling, puree the flesh of 2-3 very ripe persimmons and measure out 1 cup of puree (see headnote for persimmon varieties).
Combine all dry ingredients (all purpose flour through black pepper) in a medium bowl and set aside.
Once browned butter is cooled, add brown sugar and beat to combine. Add egg, beating again to combine. Add vanilla extract, buttermilk, and persimmon puree, mixing to incorporate.
Add dry ingredients in 2-3 additions, mixing just to combine and no further. Stir in cranberries.
Divide batter between 12-18 muffin cups, depending on size preferences.
Bake at 400 F for approximately 25 - 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Rotate pan halfway through baking time. Check muffins at 20 minutes if smaller muffin size was chosen.
Allow to cool slightly in pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.