Monday, January 24, 2011

Week 4: Pomegranate Pillows

I'm not going to lie--these were a huge pain in the butt. I was excited to work with something new, and something a bit challenging. In order to make these I had to create my own jam from scratch, roll out cookies, assemble, bake, and drizzle. I feel like everything that could have went wrong did go wrong. I was distracted while making the jam and ended up re-boiling it a few hours later; The dough kept crumbling when rolling it out; and the cookies would fall apart as I took them off the pan! I know that I can't always have great batches of cookies, but I have high expectations for myself, especially because I guarantee cookies at work every week. So I tried my best to keep them decent-looking, packed them up, and brought them to work.

Thankfully, the reviews from my co-workers were rather positive. They are a very flaky cookie, so I would suggest drinking something with them (milk, tea, coffee, etc...). The dough is very reminiscent of shortbread, so the filling gives it a little bit of a pop. After trying one of the cookies the day after I made them, I thought that they turned out better than I originally believed. I must say, though, I don't think this is a recipe that I would ever voluntarily make again. It was worth the experience, but not worth the stress. Because of this, I actually have to tweak my plan for my cookies for next week; they use the same dough recipe, and it will be over my dead body before I use that recipe again!

If you try this recipe, I hope it works out for you. I guess the final word is that they are challenging to make, delicious to taste, but not worth the hassle. Hopefully someone out there can prove me wrong. If anyone reading this decides to try this recipe, let me know how it goes. I'd be interested in hearing your story.

Pomegranate Pillows
Makes 30 cookies

Pomegranate Filling
2 cups pomegranate juice
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1-1/2 cups pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped
1 teaspoon orange juice

Crust Dough
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Pomegranate Icing
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon orange juice
1/4 cup pomegranate juice

1. Make the filling. Combine the pomegranate juice and sugar in a saucepan over high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Sift in the cornstarch and continue stirring until the mixture has thickened slightly. Add the pomegranate seeds, raisins, and orange juice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes until very thick. Chill the jam in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

2. Make the crust dough. Cream the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolks, vanilla, and orange zest. Gradually add the flour and ginger. Form the dough into two flattened disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter 2 cookie sheets (I used silpat mats. If you don't have silpat mats, use parchment paper. I found that buttering the cookie sheets DID NOT work).

4. Remove the doughs from the refrigerator and roll one disk out on a floured work surface and cut out 2 inch squares with a cookie cutter. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon filling onto half the squares. Top with remaining squares and pinch all edges together tightly with your fingers or the times of a fork. Place on the cookie sheets 1-1/2 inches apart and repeat with remaining disk.

5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Let cool on the cookie sheets for 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

6. Make the pomegranate icing. Put the confectioners' sugar in a small bowl. Gradually add the orange and pomegranate juices, stirring until the icing is the desired consistency. Drizzle the icing on the cooled cookies.

That's just about it. Again, if you do try this, good luck--and let me know how it goes!

Until next time...happy baking!

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