Archive for: streusel
Strawberries are not always an easy fruit to bake with because they lose some of their texture when they’re in the oven. One way around this is to puree your strawberries and then incorporate the puree into whatever you’re baking – just as I did in these Strawberry Coffee Cake Muffins. The light pink muffins are packed with fresh strawberry and topped off with a generous layer of streusel topping. They’re the perfect coffee cake to enjoy on a spring or summer morning.
The muffins pack a lot of strawberry flavor into a little package, with a whole cup of strawberry puree right in the batter. They’re soft and moist, with a tight crumb that is strong enough to support the buttery brown sugar and vanilla streusel that tops them off. The fresh strawberries naturally color these muffins. I used egg whites rather than whole eggs in this recipe because the yellow of the yolks will actually give the muffins an orangey, rather than a pink, hue and I wanted that natural color to come through as much as possible. I’ve had a lot of strawberry baked goods, but the combination of strawberry and streusel topping has got to be near the top of my list of favorites because it is absolutely delicious.
I used a generous amount of streusel to finish these off. It is sweet from all the brown sugar, but I added a pinch of salt that balances that sweetness and makes it “pop” next to the tender muffin. If you find that you have extra streusel, just pile it even higher and do your best to get it all on top of the muffin. If any streusel tumbles off while baking, you can just consider the crispy crumbs to be an edible bonus for the baker!
I used fresh strawberries to make my puree and highly recommend that you do the same. If you only have frozen berries, you need to defrost them completely and drain them well before pureeing them. The frozen berries likely contain extra water (at least from being defrosted) and that can water down the strawberry flavor of your muffins. These muffins will keep well in an airtight container for at least a day or two, so you could easily make them the day before you want to serve them if you want to bake ahead.
Marmalade is a popular fruit preserve typically made from sugar and orange juice that has pieces of orange or orange rind suspended it it. Seville oranges, also known as bitter oranges, are the standard citrus used in marmalade, but you can actually make it with any kind of citrus and I’ve had some lovely marmalades made with blood oranges and grapefruits before. Marmalade has a very strong flavor and while it makes a lovely topping for scones and toast, it is also a great ingredient to bake with because it can add a ton of flavor to a dessert.
These Marmalade Crumble Bars showcase marmalade in between two layers of buttery shortbread. The same shortbread mixture makes up the top and bottom of the bars, so it is very easy to put these bars together. You simply pack down a portion of the shortbread mix into the bottom of the pan, add a layer of marmalade and top it off with the reserved crust. The finished bars have a wonderful sweet-bitter flavor from the marmalade that contrasts very well with the slightly sweet, buttery shortbread. The shortbread topping is slightly crispy after baking, but these bars are more tender and slightly chewy thanks to the filling. Any kind of marmalade will work (I used blood orange for these bars), but be sure to choose one that you like the flavor of, since it will only intensify during baking.
Since the bottom crust is very crumbly before baking, it can be difficult to spread the marmalade out – especially if you have a fairly thick marmalade. I like to drop small dollops of marmalade all over the bottom crust (think polka dots), then use a knife to gently spread the marmalade from one dollop to another. This makes it very easy to cover the whole crust without pulling up many crumbs. The same technique also comes in handy when working with other crumbly things, such as graham cracker crusts.
Allow the bars to set and cool completely before slicing and use a sharp knife to get clean slices. I like to cut these bars into small rectangles, making about 24 bars from each batch. Feel free to cut them into large (16) squares for larger servings or bite sized pieces (36) for smaller snacks. The bars should be kept stored in an airtight container if you’re not going to eat them all right away.
Apples are a popular choice for crisps and cobblers, but pears are also an excellent fruit for making this type of dessert. Pears tend to be juicier and more tender than apples, especially once they’ve been baked. That means that when they’re put into a fruit dessert like a crisp, they bake up very quickly and produce a fruit filling that has a lot of moisture to contrast with a streusel topping.
These Individual Pear Crisps with Oatmeal Streusel are easy to make and even easier to eat. The filling is made with fresh pears, a little bit of sugar and just a touch of flour to help thicken all of the pear juices. The topping is made with flour, oatmeal and brown sugar. I prefer to use quick cooking oatmeal, which is made of regular rolled oats that have been coarsely chopped because I think that it gives the best texture. You will still get good results with regular rolled oats if that’s what you have in your pantry. The streusel topping turns golden brown in the oven and has a nice crunch to it. It is buttery, with just the right amount of sweetness, and has a lot of flavor in spite of its short ingredient list, and is an amazing flavor match for the tender, juicy pears.
As with most cobblers, the amount of fruit that you use is not critical and you can use a bit more or a bit less than I’ve suggested in the recipe (which is why I simply suggested the number of pears that you might want to use, rather than the weight). Sometimes I’ll stretch the streusel topping by using more pears and turning six servings into eight. Other times, I’ll just make four and save the remaining streusel in a baggie in the fridge for a few days for another batch.
These crisps are the best when they’re still slightly warm from the oven and served with vanilla ice cream. Leftovers also make a very good breakfast dish if they’re warmed in the microwave (they should be stored in the fridge, covered) and topped with a bit of milk or cream before serving.
A basic cinnamon streusel is a classic topping for coffee cake, but coffee cakes, like muffins, are things that can easily be transformed by the addition of a few flavorful extra ingredients. There is no cinnamon in sight in this Cranberry Nut Coffee Cake, but there are lots of crunchy pecans, sweet-tart dried cranberries and a brown sugar streusel – all of which will make you reach for seconds even before you’ve finished your first piece.
The cake has a soft, buttery crumb and a texture that is almost like pound cake. It is dense enough to hold up the streusel layer and support all the dried cranberries packed into the batter, but it is still very tender. Instead of using buttermilk or milk as the liquid in this cake, I used sour cream to enrich it. Both full fat and low fat sour cream will give you good results, and having the lower fat option allows you to lighten up the coffee cake a little bit if you want to.
I like dried cranberries for this coffee cake. They’re sweet, tart and available year round, while fresh and even frozen cranberries can be very difficult to find if you want to bake this cake in the spring. Fresh and frozen cranberries can be chopped up and added to the coffee cake batter to add an even brighter cranberry flavor. Another flavor variation I like to use in this cake is to add some orange zest to the batter, as oranges and cranberries are an excellent pairing.
I always liked Fig Newtons, but I find that many people like the filling and are a bit bored by the plain cake that surrounds it. I can see this because the cake doesn’t have a strong flavor to it and serves, primarily, to make the Newton easier to hold and eat. I was inspired by my last batch of Fig Newtons to make a fig bar that had a little more personality to it and the result was this recipe for Fig Crumble Bars.
The bars taste similar to Fig Newton, only much better. The crumble mixture is crisp, buttery and has an addictive salty-sweet quality to it. I actually added a bit more salt than I might usually add to the crumble mixture because of how intensely sweet figs are; having a pinch of extra salt lets the fruit stand out without the bars becoming overly sweet and cloying. The same crumble mixture is also pressed into the bottom of the pan to make a crust for the bars. In between, there is a rich fig layer that adds a tremendous amount of flavor and creates a nice contrast with the crisp, buttery top and bottom layers of this bar.
I would usually use jam or preserves as the filling for a bar cookie like these because they are easy to find, sweet and have a good fruit flavor. This time, I had a jar of Fig Butter from Trader Joe’s and I used that. Fruit butters are a lot like jams, but typically do not have much (or any) extra sugar added to them and they’re cooked to have a very, very smooth consistency. Some fruit butters tend to be a little watery (and would make the crust soggy), but this one was thick and rich with a great fresh fig flavor. If you have a Trader Joe’s, definitely try the fig butter. Otherwise, any good quality fig preserves will work beautifully here. I suggested a range for the filling so that, just in case you’re not a huge fig fan, you can put a slightly thinner layer of filling in your bars and still know that they’ll turn out.