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Monday, December 20, 2010

I love me some pomegranate (also: learn from my mistakes)

I think the first time I ever tasted a pomegranate anything was when I did my juice fast and drank some pomegranate juice; a few years ago I ventured out to try the fruit itself as a topping on frozen yogurt, and OhMYGoodness, I love this Fruit O' The Season.

Imagine how thrilled I was to see a recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod for cookies in which pomegranate is a Featured Player! Add white chocolate? SOLD.

Maria is kind enough to allow me to share the recipe, so I'll give it to you, but you have to promise to read my personal notes about it following, mmmkeh?

Pomegranate & White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter - room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup white chocolate chunks
1 cup pomegranate arils

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars together until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until well-combined.

3. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to the wet ingredients; mix until just incorporated.

4. Stir in the oats and white chocolate chunks. Make dough balls-about 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie. Tuck about 6-8 pomegranate arils in each cookie dough ball. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 2 ½ dozen cookies

*Note-you can gently stir in the pomegranate arils, but I didn’t want the cookies to turn pink at all. If you don’t have white chocolate chunks, white chocolate chips will work as well. Enjoy!

I've made this recipe twice; the first time I failed, so allow me to share my experience lest you make similar mistakes to answer any questions you might have:

1. Parchment paper? Do people use that? I don't. I bake on stones, do I need to use it? (Paper covers rock?)

2. Use real butter (always) and let it soften to room temperature naturally (always). If you use a shortcut and soften the butter in the microwave, your cookies will have weird sweaty spots. (I don't know how else to describe it other than sweaty.)

3. I used white chocolate chips instead of chocolate chunks, and everything was great in that department.

4. When I made this recipe the first time, I followed the suggestion to place 8 arils (yes, they're called arils) gently into the ball of dough; I did that exactly once before I decided that I would, as the footnote of the recipe suggests, gently stir in the arils rather then place them, by hand, into each ball of dough because I wanted these cookies SoBadYouGuys, and I didn't care if they were pink. Let me tell you why this was a mistake. It's not because the cookies turned pink or because the arils lost their beauty (SIDETRACKED: On Friday, Mindy offered my son some Jewels as they opened a pomegranate together. Isn't that lovely? Jewels! Precisely!) but because when mixed, even gently, the arils burst and the juice gets everywhere, making the batch of dough wet and sloppy and then they don't cook well, so you end up making cookie slop instead of actual cookies, which you then toss into the trash...that is, all EXCEPT for the ONE COOKIE which had the arils hand-placed into the pre-baked ball of dough, which One Cookie will be the most delectable thing you have had this season and will make your tongue do a dance, thankyouverymuch. And it is because of that cookie that you decide to give this recipe another go.

5. The second time I made the recipe, I decided to double it, and I took the time to place, by hand, every single aril into the balls of dough. Eight each, please.

6. Remember what I said about the butter? Yeah. I had left enough for one batch out to soften, and then I remembered that I was doubling the batch, so I used the microwave, making the cookies a bit sweaty-looking. (They were still delicious.)

7. Another thing about pomegranates: their juice stains. Here's the video I used to learn how to cut open a pomegranate with minimal staining potential:

After you watch that video, head to Costco and pick up a pack of already-separated-from-the-fruit arils.

Thanks again to Maria for allowing me to share her recipe -- it's so wonderful, please do yourself a favor and make these cookies for yourself, your family, your neighbors . . . they're the perfect holiday cookie.


Christi said...

If I had known how passionate you are about pomegranates, I would have sent you some from our tree before we ate them all or gave them away!!

Kristina P. said...

We had a pomegranate tree, when I was growing up in California. I too saw them at Frogurt, and they are to die for.

Also, and I am thrilled about this, but at least at Walmart, they sell containers of the seeds already done for you. No mess!

Maria said...

So glad you liked the cookies! Love your tips and commentary:)

Lynn said...

We served pomegranate at our wedding, because in mythology, it is the fruit eaten by Persephone!... Actually, Hades tricks Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds and she is forced to return to the underworld every winter, and the seeds magically bind her to her husband, Hades. I liked it mainly for the symbol of binding myself to my husband, even during the dark winter... not necessarily for the forced to return to hell part...

Kemp Kuties said...

I once colored my hair with pomegranate juice. I had to open a lot of pomegranates b/c at the time I was a hippie and had ridiculously long straight hair. I still love pomegranates (and their juice). Can't wait to make this receipe. Thank you for sharing!

Emily said...

YUM! I saw those containers at Costco--good to know Walmart carries them too. On Saturday they had pomegranates for $1 a piece and mangoes for $.89!

Anonymous said...

I make raspberry/pomegranate Jell-o that's really good. (And a little easier to make.)

lisa said...

We love pomegranates here too.

Plus also, I think they're beautiful. (I don't really know why...)