Chocolate chunk cookies with pomegranate seeds

This is the second part of my earlier post about pomegranates, that wonderful, magical, ruby red fruit. As I mentioned, I used half of the pomegranates that I bought to make this delectable spicy pork loin with pomegranate and red wine reduction. Yum. You should definitely bookmark this one, because it was simple, easy and rewarding. But that was another post. Let me get back on track and tell you about the other pomegranate revelation that I had recently: pomegranate with chocolate. More specifically, these chocolate chunk cookies with pomegranate seeds.

I discovered not long ago a quick, easy and fail-proofly chewy chocolate cookie recipe that included one of my favorite spices, cinnamon, with a little cayenne pepper to turn up the heat. I decided to steal the idea I’d found online of adding pomegranate arils to chocolate cookies, and use it with this recipe that I already knew was fail safe. The result was ooey, gooey, chocolate perfection, with fun little bursts of pomegranate juice sprinkled throughout. Awesome. And I bet they’ll be even better the next time I make them, knowing that my pomegranates were not at the height of their juicy glory.

This is a very easy recipe, and you probably already have everything you need in your cupboard (no eggs or butter required). The only part that is a bit labor-intensive is the preparation of the pomegranates. I’ve heard of several different ways to extract the seeds from the fruits, and the one I settled on was scoring the outer rind and gently peeling off the layers of skin. Simply score your pomegranate all around (from top to bottom) in increments of about 3/4 of an inch. Cut the top off of the fruit, and starting from there, peel off the outer skin, one section at a time. Soon, you’ll be able to gently pry it apart, using your fingers to dislodge each seed from the membranes and pulp, deposing it into a bowl of water (the water will help you separate the seeds from the membranes later). Once all the seeds are out, wait for them to settle in the bottom of your bowl and skim off any remaining membrane.

Now you’re ready to make your cookies (while munching on a few pomegranate seeds along the way, who could resist)!

Chewy chocolate chunk cookies with pomegranate seeds

Ingredients:
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/4 C karo syrup
3 T milk
2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
1 2/3 C flour
1/2 C cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1 bar of high quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa at least)
1/3 C pomegranate seeds

Preheat your oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugars, syrup, vanilla and milk until well combined. Sift in the flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder, stirring all along the way until dough forms. Break the chocolate bar up into bite-sized pieces, and add with the pomegranate seeds to your dough. Adjust the amount of flour if necessary (dough should be slightly sticky and greasy, but you should be able to form it into balls without too much of it sticking to your hands).

Place the cookie dough, made into small, 1 inch balls, flattening just slightly (for a good, thick cookie, or more if you prefer them crisp), on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil. Bake for about 10 minutes. The cookies will continue to cook once removed from the oven, and the dough will seem undercooked after 10 minutes, but believe me, they’ll be just right once they come out and have time to set up. Let them cool completely before eating. I totally didn’t do this, but these cookies really were way better the next day. Another tip: don’t store these cookies in an airtight container. The pomegranate seeds add a lot of extra moisture, and they can tend to get a bit soggy if they’re closed up.

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