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Pomegranate cookies show off seasonal red

Recipe: These thumbprints are a twist on a 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.californialocal.com/article/11079-pomegranate-jelly-colors-the-season/ 

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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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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