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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Pomegranate Cookies

I love pomegranates.  Every Fall/Winter, I get excited when the stores start carrying them again, but I mostly only eat them (the seeds) plain.  Fortunately, my kids love to just eat the seeds by the handful, too.  I happened to have a whole tupperware full of seeds in my fridge when I stumbled on this recipe in a Parents magazine, so I figured it was some kind of divine intervention.  It was.  These cookies are amazing.  They're like little delicious chocolate chip cookies with bursts of amazing.  I changed the recipe slightly (it originally called for dark chocolate chunks, which I don't happen to have on hand right now), and I can't imagine them being any better than they turned out.  But the internet is also full of recipes with white chocolate chips (which, as much as I prefer white to other chocolate, I think might be too much), so I'd imagine the flavor of chips is pretty interchangeable.  Regardless, I used semi-sweet, and seriously, these cookies are absolutely amazing.

Edit: Oh, in case you are intimidated by pomegranates, I thought I should include some tips on how to deal with them.  They're actually not that difficult, but the red juice does stain everything, so be careful.  :)

Cut the top off the pomegranate about 1/4 - 1/2 inch down.  Set this aside.  Looking at the insides of the pomegranate, locate the membranes separating the main parts of seeds, and take your knife and make superficial cuts down the sides, about 1/8 inch into the skin of the pomegranate (you don't have to go all the way down, but cut at least a little past the mid-point).  Basically, you're making vertical cuts in the skin of the pomegranate wherever there are membranes on the inside.

Next, get a large bowl of cold water.  Take the pomegranate and gently pull it apart at the places where you've made the cuts (it should come apart fairly easily - or at least break into manageable pieces - you don't need perfect wedges, you just need to be able to get at the seeds).  Take one piece at a time, put it in the cold water, and gently rub/knock all the seeds off the membranes/skin and into the bowl (this is all done underwater, or just above the surface - this helps prevent red juice from squirting everywhere, and it makes separating the membranes from the seeds easier).  Do the same for all the pieces until all your seeds are in the water.

If there are any extra little pieces of membrane stuck to the seeds, you can gently rub them away - they'll float, and the seeds will all skin.  Skim the surface of your water with a spoon or fine mesh strainer to remove any excess floating membranes.  Drain the seeds, put them in a plastic container, and keep them in the fridge.  They'll last at least a week in the fridge.

Here's the recipe!!

Chocolate Chip Pomegranate Cookies:

1/2 cup butter-flavored crisco & 1 Tbsp water (the original recipe called for unsalted butter, softened, but I pretty much always prefer crisco in cookies.  The dough isn't ever as good by itself, but it seems to always make for better baked cookies - then again, I have had issues with cronically flat butter cookies, so I prefer the moistness/puffiness I get with crisco.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, patted dry

Preheat oven to 350.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

In a separate bowl, cream crisco, water, and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, mixing to combine after each addition.

Mix in the flour mixture until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips, then very gently fold in seeds (I used a spatula and still smashed a few of them).

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, 2 inches apart (I think I actually used a 1 1/2 tsp - they came out perfectly cute and small).

Bake 8-10 minutes or until just slightly light brown (the centers might not appear completely set).  Cool on cookie sheets 2 minutes, then remove to cooling racks.  Serve warm.

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to three days.  

Makes about 3 dozen 1 1/2 tsp sized cookies.

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