If you have read Love & Flour for a while, you have probably picked up on the theme that I like to substitute little-used ingredients called for in a recipe for ingredients I have on hand. There are few things I resist more than the need to purchase one ingredient for one recipe when I can make something else work in its place. Time and time again, I come across blog posts where the cook/baker/writer laments purchasing an ingredient that ended up in the trash instead of an intended dish – the ingredient the victim of procrastination or a forgetful mind.
I just threw away a package of decaying herbs that I bought with every intent of baking into something delicious. But my recipe got buried at the bottom of my to-do list and the herbs went MIA in the refrigerator until it was too late. If someone told me to take $2.99 out of my wallet and put it in the trash can, I would tell them to get their head checked. Yet when I transfer that $2.99 to a package of herbs that ends up in the trash can, I simply sigh and move on. Sounds like I’m the one who might need to get my head checked.
While making a point, a friend recently argued one dollar one hundred years ago meant something a lot different than what one dollar means today. On the other hand, a bowl of oatmeal one thousand years ago nourished a human body the same way it does today. Makes you think about value in a different light, doesn’t it?
The point to this long story is I did not want to purchase a box of currants for Traditional Easter Cookies and let the remaining baby raisins sit orphaned in my pantry until I found them months later rock hard, coated in mold, or otherwise unusable. So I set out to find another recipe making use of currants, and that is where the Soft Currant Drops come in.
I was pleased when I found a Soft Currant Drops recipe in my King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook. I was less pleased when I found it called for spelt flour. Was it worth buying a new ingredient (spelt flour) to make us of the existing ingredient (currants)? I decided it would be worth it provided I could bake other desserts with the spelt flour. Be sure to check back early next week for another delicious recipe that makes use of spelt flour.
The recipe included a note to rest the dough overnight to avoid baking overly flat cookies. Spelt has a higher water solubility than other grains, so without proper rest, the dough flattens too quickly when baked. A few hours after I had mixed the soft currant cookie dough, it dawned on me to compare cookies baked with the unrested and the rested dough. Since this did not occur to me right away, the dough without rest actually rested about four hours before baking. Can you tell the cookie on the left is slightly more flat?
I shared these soft currant drops with a few of my co-workers, and I am pleased to report they were met with good reviews. Though the “mmms” coming from them as they chewed clued me in I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the cookies, any lingering doubts of deliciousness were eradicated near the end of the day they asked for seconds. Success!
The original recipe also called for two cups of currants, where I used only one. Since I used only one cup of currants in the cookies, I still have some currants left in my box. I have no doubt the few left over will find good use sprinkled on a bowl of oatmeal to nourish me.
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
- 1½ cups spelt flour
- 1-2 cups dried currants
- Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.
- Sprinkle in the baking powder, then beat in the egg and the vinegar.
- Mix in the spelt flour.
- Fold in the currants.
- Cover and refrigerate the dough overnight.
- The following day, drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined baking sheets.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes until the centers appear firm.