The most common dark raisin is the seedless Thompson, and it will certainly do. But for special-occasion baking, look for especially plump and flavorful Monukka raisins, available at many natural food stores or in the self-service bins at large supermarkets. Both raisins are processed from green grapes, which darken during the drying process. Dark raisins can pose a problem in batters—if they touch the cake’s hot metal pan during baking, they have a tendency to burn. For this reason (as well as for their availability and a simple preference for their color), golden raisins are often preferred by many central European bakers. American golden raisins are also Thompson grapes, treated with sulfites to retain their color during drying. While some bakers generically refer to all golden raisins as Sultanas, these are made from a particular Turkish grape, and are usually imported. Dried currants are a misnomer; they are not dried fresh currants, but tiny Corinth grapes, from whence they get their name (they are also called Zante currants).
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