Just put streusel on it. Seriously, thats the secret. Doesn’t sound complicated does it? That’s because it’s not. Streusel is one of those amazing “quick fix” ingredients that I always have on hand for occasions where a little but of nutty crunch is just the gilding that lily needs. Plus, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love streusel?
Making your own streusel is a no-brainier and it keeps for months in the freezer. Just combine 1/4 cup each of flour, light brown sugar, rolled oats, and chopped nuts (I like hazelnuts but you can use whatever you like). Toss in a dash of cinnamon and 1/2 stick of cubed cold butter and “rub” the ingredients between your fingers to break the butter up into pea-sized pieces. Less than five minutes later, the crumbly streusel is ready to be baked off or stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months (makes about 2 cups).
“So I’ve got this streusel – now what?” you may be asking. Use these easy ideas to put some rockstar shine onto your next brunch spread:
BAKED FRUIT CRISP
Hearty enough for dessert or light enough for a brunch side, a baked fruit crisp is quite possibly one of the most stunning, low maintenance sweets you could dream up. With fall’s bounty filling our markets with fresh peaches, nectarines, pears, and apples, toss some of these fruits with a little sugar, flour, and lemon juice and spread them out into a baking dish. Top the dish with streusel (right from the freezer) and bake at 375ºF for about 30 minutes until the fruit is tender and streusl is golden brown. I’d also be hard pressed to say “no” if you topped it with a little whipped cream or ice cream…just saying.
I think this name speaks for itself. Who doesn’t want “crunchy topping” on absolutely everything they eat? Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spread on a layer of streusel; bake at 375ºF for about 15 minutes until golden brown and let it cool completely. Crumble the resulting crunchy topping over yogurt parfaits and no one will miss the granola – guaranteed.
Not only is this trick delicious, it makes your muffins look “bakery shop beautiful”. Prepare your favorite muffin batter (I’m a sucker for classic blueberry) and sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of streusel (you guessed it – right out from the freezer) over each muffin before baking. An artful display in a napkin-lined basket later and you’ll be giving that fancy French bakery down the street a run for their money.
Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has. Probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary team on Rachael’s daytime talk show, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day, and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following his latest twEATs on Twitter at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.