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Pomegranate cookies show off seasonal red

Recipe: Pomegranate-almond thumbprints are a twist on traditional favorite

Thumbprint cookies on a green plate
Pomegranate jelly glistens in almond thumbprints.
(Photos: Debbie Arrington)

When I’m lucky enough to have a good crop of pomegranates, I make pomegranate jelly.

What do you do with pomegranate jelly? Try it in thumbprints.

Besides the usual jelly things (such as on top of toast or to glaze meat), sweet-tart pomegranate jelly has a special asset during the holidays: Its beautiful red color.

In a traditional thumbprint cookie, pomegranate jelly glistens like ruby glass. It’s also a pretty and tasty touch to other filled cookies such as Valentine’s Day hearts.

The combination of pomegranate and almonds make these thumbprints very Central Californian, too. These are both tastes of our Valley.

Got pomegranates? Here’s my jelly recipe: https://sacdigsgardening.blogspot.com/2019/12/pomegranate-jelly-colors-season.html

As for the thumbprints, use your first knuckle instead of your thumb to create a deeper well for the filling. While baking, that hole will get smaller as the cookie dough expands.

Warming the jelly makes it easier to spoon into those little holes.

Thumbprints before baking
Use a knuckle rather than thumb to indent the
cookies produces a deeper well for the jelly. The wells
shrink when the cookies are baked.
Pomegranate-almond thumbprints

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

¼ cup butter, softened

¼ cup shortening

¼ cup golden brown sugar, packed

2 eggs, separated

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup almonds, finely chopped

¼ cup pomegranate jelly

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

With a pastry blender or fork in a large bowl, blend together butter and shortening. Add brown sugar, egg yolks and vanilla.

Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture gradually to bowl, working it into the butter mixture to create a soft dough.

Roll dough into balls, 1 tablespoon of dough at a time. (Refrigerate dough if it gets too soft and sticky.) Balls will be a little over an inch wide in size.

Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper (optional). Otherwise, use an ungreased cookie sheet.

2 cookies on a plate with a jelly jar
Pomegranate jelly glistens in these cookies, which also would
be good to bake for Valentine's Day.
Beat egg whites lightly. Roll each ball in egg white, then in chopped almonds. Space balls about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. With your knuckle, gently press down in center of each ball to create a well and flatten the cookie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. (Don’t bake too long; they’ll get hard!) Cookies will be lightly browned. Remove promptly from cookie sheet. Let cool.

Warm pomegranate jelly in microwave on MEDIUM for 10 to 15 seconds. Stir. Spoon about ½ teaspoon of jelly into each cookie. Let cool.

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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