I have never, ever, ever – a thousand times never ever – liked currants. This doesn’t usually present a problem, because really, how often do you run into currants? They’re not sold in little red snack-sized boxes like their well-loved cousins, the raisins. They don’t appear in that many recipes. And frequently, when they do, you can just as easily swap them out for raisins or something else. That way, you’re not stuck with a box 7/8ths full of uneaten, unloved, currants.
When I recently made olieballen, though, the recipe called for currants, and I thought I should actually use them – just this once – since I already had plans to alter the original recipe with the addition of candied ginger and – gasp! – a coating of powdered sugar.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the currants: So much so, that I ate some right out of the box.
And then a distant memory came to me, of another time when I ate currants right out of the box. That time, the box was in my mother’s kitchen, and I’m pretty sure that same box of currants was in my mother’s kitchen for the entirety of my childhood, teen years, college years, and even the brief period in my 20’s when I moved back in. I’m pretty sure she’s only ever owned one box of currants her entire adult life.
This may explain my long-standing belief that currants taste like crusty dirt with bits of gritty gravel mixed in.
The currants I used for my olieballen, though, were delightfully chewy with a pleasant tartness to them: like raisins, but more sprightly. They paired wonderfully with the candied ginger, and I found myself wanting the combination again – but perhaps in a healthier form than deep-fried fritters.
I created this recipe for ginger currant granola to satisfy that urge, and it’s a spirited way to start the day. Chewy currants and candied ginger are a spirited combination, contrasting nicely with the pleasing, crunchy granola, which is mellow and warm from the maple syrup. The orange juice provides a nice citrus undertone. It’s perfect in a bowl of vanilla yogurt.
Note that I used uncrystallized candied ginger, which is chewier than crystallized (it’s available at Trader Joe’s). I prefer grade B maple syrup, which has a richer flavor than grade A – it’s a bit strong for pancakes, but perfect for cooking.
- 4 cups rolled oats
- ⅓ cup ground flaxseed
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup currants
- ¼ cup finely chopped candied ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, mix oats with flaxseed, almonds, coconut, currants, ginger, and salt. In another bowl, whisk maple syrup with oil, vanilla, and orange juice. Pour over oat mixture and stir until well-mixed.
- Spread out on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until oats are golden, about 20 minutes.
- Remove pan from the oven and place on a rack to cool. Granola will crisp as it cools.
- Serve over yogurt or however you like it.