Pomegranates really are one of the most beautiful fruits. They're sweet, tart, juicy, and those little jewel-like arils are truly stunning. One of the reasons I think this fruit is really beautiful is because you have to work hard to actually enjoy it which makes you appreciate it even more.Pomegranates are one of the symbolic foods of Rosh Hashana.
I remember when I was first grade, my teacher split us into groups and gave us pieces of pomegranate and we had to count the seeds. I'm pretty sure we didn't get the exact number because if I remember correctly some of us couldn't resist the delicious fruit and ate some of this math project. The reason my teacher had us count the seeds is that many people think that the pomegranate has 613 seeds to symbolize the 613 mitzvot/commandments. While this is not the case and every pomegranate does not have the same amount of seeds there are still hundreds of arils inside the pomegranate. We eat this fruit on Rosh Hashana in the hopes that we are blessed in abundance like the abundant amount of seeds in a pomegranate.
During Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we reflect on our lives and our relationship with G-d. If we look at the pomegranate we can find some inspiration as to how we can improve both. Before you can enjoy a pomegranate you have to cut through the thick outer skin and then you have to remove the arils by peeling away the membranes. You really have to put in some work before you are able to enjoy the fruit. Sometimes in life, you want to take the easy route, but that might not always be the best thing for you. If you work hard towards fulfilling your goals you will appreciate those sweet hard-earned results even more. When it comes to our relationship with G-d, sometimes you might think that He isn't there and that He isn't listening to you. G-d is always there if you just look past the hardships you're going through you will see that He has been there all along. Even during difficult times, He is there caring for and watching over each and every one of us.
I've never baked with pomegranate seeds before, but the results really are beautiful. Pair the sweet-tart crunchy seeds with some bittersweet chocolate and orange zest and you've got yourself a flavorful and well-balanced muffin as a delicious treat to bring in the new year.
Pomegranate Chocolate Muffins
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp orange zest
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup oil
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup pomegranate seeds plus a few more to sprinkle on top
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Line a standard-size muffin pan with paper liners
Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. Add the eggs, oil, pomegranate juice, and sugar. Mix until just combined making sure not to overmix as this will result in a tough muffin. Fold in the pomegranate seeds and chocolate chips. Scoop into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 18-22 minutes.
Yield: 12 standard-size muffins