Pomegranate seeds truly shine in these unique chocolate chip pomegranate cookies. Chocolate, pomegranate, and orange zest are the perfect combination!
Next week is Tu B’Shvat and I am so excited! If you haven’t heard of Tu B’Shvat before, it probably looks like I accidentally had my fingers in the wrong place on the keyboard and typed a bunch of random letters. Let me explain. Tu B’Shvat is a minor Jewish holiday (yes, another holiday) that celebrates the beginning of a “new year” for trees, when trees will emerge from their winter slumber and start to blossom. Isn’t that nice?
To celebrate, we eat fruits that the Torah singles out as the fruits of the Holy Land: dates, olives, wheat, barley, grapes, figs, and pomegranates. Yum! Basically all Jewish holidays are celebrated by eating lots of delicious food (although I wouldn’t really consider matzoh that we eat on Passover delicious), but Tu B’Shvat is the one holiday that is literally about food. Now that’s my kind of holiday.
Last year I was studying in Israel during Tu B’Shvat, so we had a big feast full of so many different kinds of fruit. I personally made a super colorful and beautiful fruit trifle filled with layers of pomegranates, kiwi, apples, oranges, pineapple, strawberries, (and I’m sure even more fruits that I’m forgetting), all between layers of cake and whipped cream. Mmmm that was delicious.
But this year I wanted to try a new recipe because…well, I’m always wanting to try new recipes. Story of my life. Instead of squeezing in all the Tu B’Shvat fruits, I decided to highlight just one—pomegranate. The pomegranate is the shining star in these chocolate chip pomegranate cookies, and boy does it shine! Rich chocolate and bright, slightly tart pomegranate is a perfect match. I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe as the base because it’s my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Duh. And a couple of teaspoons of orange zest really bring these flavors over the top!
Orange and chocolate is amazing. Orange and pomegranate is amazing. Basically the orange, chocolate, and pomegranate combination is pure heaven. You’re going to love the rich sweetness of the chocolate and the cookie balanced with the bright fruitiness of the orange and the pomegranate.
Although these pomegranate cookies are so so so delicious, I do wish that pomegranates here could begin to compare to the unreal deliciousness of pomegranates in Israel. I used to eat Israeli pomegranate seeds by the spoonful (or more realistically the handful). Maybe next year I can spend Tu B’Shvat in Israel again. In the meantime, I’ll be here in Texas eating way too many chocolate chip pomegranate cookies. Happy Tu B’Shvat! Enjoy!
- 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar (dark or light)
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup pomegranate seeds, patted dry
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar with an electric hand mixer until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the instant pudding mix and beat until combined.
- Add the eggs, vanilla, and orange zest and beat until combined. Finally, add the flour mixture and beat until combined and a uniform batter forms. Stir or beat in the chocolate chips.
- Add the patted dry pomegranate seeds and gently fold into batter.
- Let the cookie dough chill in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.
- To form cookies, roll one inch balls of dough with your hands and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. You could also use a cookie scoop. Between batches, place remaining cookie dough in the fridge and take out when it’s time to roll the next batch.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the edges are a light golden brown. The cookies will not look done in the middle when you take them out of the oven (they will look pale and puffy), but trust the golden edges! They will continue to bake as they sit and cool. For a beautiful presentation, press a couple of chocolate chips and pomegranate seeds onto the tops of the cookies when they come out of the oven.
- Cool on the cookie sheet for as long as you can last without eating one. Enjoy!
Another recipe with pomegranate seeds: Fall Fruit Salad