Prepare garnish: score 1-2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water.
Break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top.
Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)
Prepare fresh pomegranate juice.*
Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C with rack in the centre.
Place a paper baking cup in each of 24 regular sized muffin cups.
Whisk together the dry ingredients to combine well.
In a large measuring cup, combine pomegranate juice and boiling water. Add oil, vinegar and vanilla to the pomegranate juice mixture. Add to the flour mixture all at once and whisk to combine (batter will be lumpy).
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups (about half full).
Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and free of crumbs. Let cool.
Frost with pomegranate chocolate or vanilla cream cheese frosting and decorate with arils.