Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Let Them Eat Streusel!

There are those days when you just don’t have the time or inclination to do more than put your hair in a ponytail, slide on yesterday’s jeans and skip the makeup.  Or if you are a guy, you forgo the shave and put on that decade old tee shirt and baseball hat.  This is you in your most basic form.  A plain muffin is like this, good, but basic.

Then there are the days we spend a little extra time on ourselves.  Maybe be we style our hair, swipe on some eye shadow, or put on the dreaded pantyhose.   We spiff ourselves up.   So when a muffin (or tea cake, or quick bread) needs to be spiffed up its the streusel or crumb topping that is called for!  Heck, if I could just sprinkle myself with streusel to take me from plain to stylish I would.  Much more preferable to the dreaded pantyhose.

Streusel toppings are a fun way to tinker with a basic recipe.  Recipes can be found in many cookbooks.  Here are a few to look at:

Streusel recipe page 395 
Crumb Topping recipe page 394
Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake page 55
Classic Crumb Cake page 56
Blueberry-Lemon Curd Streusel Muffins page 102
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
All-Spice Crumb Muffins page 16
Apple Streusel Muffin Tops
Blueberry Buckle with Lemon Scented Streusel page 132

Pumpkin muffin with Streusel
In my favorite version, gathered from various recipes, I use cereal flakes to provide a little more texture and crunch.  I use a whole grain one, but I bet any type will work.  Also I use almond meal instead of chopped nuts.  This topping can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge and when needed just add the melted butter to finish the recipe.

1 ½ cup cereal flakes
½ cup almond meal (I use Trader Joe’s)
½ cup shredded coconut (I use unsweetened)
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
melted butter

Pulse the cereal flakes in a food processor until you have fine crumbs. Next add the rest of the ingredients except for the melted butter and lightly pulse until everything is well mixed.  

For a dozen muffins I will take a cup of the streusel mix and add 3 tablespoons of the melted butter.  Mix well until the butter has saturated the dry ingredients. Sprinkle your muffins (or cake or bread) with the crumb mixture.  

Lightly press the streusel into the batter to help it adhere while baking.  Another way to use streusel is to put it between layers of batter, to create a filling.


  1. What a beautiful, saliva-inducing blog post! I'm running to my library this instant to make my own streusel-topped muffins...

  2. Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm! I am so craving streusel muffins now and thank you for these wonderful tastebud tantalizing ideas. Also grateful for the childhood memories this post evoked of the sweet aromas of brown sugar, cinnamon and butter coming from the kitchen when my Mother baked breakfast muffins. Best mornings (and memories) ever!

  3. I think life in general would be great enhanced by a little streusel on EVERYTHING. Kind of like glitter. Love your photo. Katheen

  4. The photos & descriptions make me want to sit down right with a cup of tea (And maybe share with a friend).

  5. I LOVE streusel on anything, and now I am motivated to make my own! Thanks for the tip about making it all ahead except for the butter.