Monday, March 31, 2008
The magic of streusel AKA crumb toppings.
I don't really plan to make things that have similar attributes at the same time, it just happens. For instance this past week I received the book Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More by Carole Walter from Amazon so that I would never run out of ideas for brunch on Sundays. I decided early Saturday to make one of the first recipes in the book, Butter Crumb Coffee Cake. Looked easy, sounded delicious, and the streusel recipe was intense. I mean, there was a TON of it. And I LOVE streusel, any crumb topping.
Then I remembered about these apples that have been sitting on my counter for a week and a half. I promised myself I'd use them for Easter and never got around to it, so I knew they were almost past their prime, and I'd better use them sooner rather than later. Looked in the fridge, saw a couple packages of cream cheese and then thought "apple cheesecake!" A bit of Googling and I found myself a nice recipe for apple cheesecake bars - that just happened to include a nice recipe for streusel on top. I followed the recipe to a T, except I substituted Tom Sawyer's Gluten-Free Flour for the all-purpose flour called for in the recipe and omitted the oats in the topping (my brother's fiance is a Celiac, her mother wanted me to try this flour. IT IS GREAT! For anyone with wheat intolerance. Try it out for sure.)
Anyhoo, blah blah. Here are the recipes!
Butter Crumb Coffee Cake adapted from Carole Walter's Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups AP flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Put the butter in a heavy saucepan and heat until almost melted. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, and add this to the butter and stir until the mixture forms large crumbs. At this point I put the whole pot in the fridge until the batter was ready.
2 cups AP flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes and softened
1 large egg
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and spray a 10-inch springform pan with baking spray or line the bottom with parchment paper and generously butter the sides and bottom.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and cut it in until the mixture has a very fine crumb texture. In a small bowl combine the egg, milk and vanilla and then add this to the butter/flour mixture, and stir until it is thick and well combined, about 1 minute.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top out. Then take your streusel out of the fridge and make big clumps of it in your hand, then crumble it on top of the batter, scattering it evenly over the entire thing.
Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely, then take the ring off the springform pan and serve! I like to keep this under a cake dome, seems to stay fresher that way.
Apple Cheesecake Bars found on this blog and modified slightly.
2 cups AP (or gluten-free) flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I used dark brown mm)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.
Combine the flour and sugar until there are no more lumps of sugar left. Add the butter and mix until the butter is nicely distributed throughout. Press this into the bottom of the pan. Bake until it is golden, about 15 minutes.
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (again I used dark brown)
1 cup AP (or gluten-free) flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
Combine the sugar and flour, and then cut in the butter until coarse crumbs form. Set aside.
4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger (I added this)
Stir the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger together, then pour over the apples and stir well to combine.
2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons Amaretto (or 1 teaspoon vanilla)
Beat the cream cheese and sugar until lump-free. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the Amaretto or extract and beat on low speed until everything is incorporated.
When the crust is out of the oven, pour the cheesecake batter on top, smoothing to the edges. Then top with the apples, and then finally, the streusel. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cheesecake batter looks set. Chill thoroughly, cut into bars, and enjoy!