Cinnamon-Apple Almond Streusel Squares

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: one 8-inch square pan, about 20 squares
Recipe: 85/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 72

Cinnamon Apple Streusel Bars

     Surplus of both apples and free time has led me to make these cinnamon-apple almond streusel squares. As Anna writes in her cookbook, this dessert does indeed smell like apple pie in the making, but it takes considerable less effort to make! The taste is as expected: the deliciousness of apples merged with cinnamon and butter. The format of these squares makes them easy to eat and to share!

Ingredients for base:

  • ¾ cup ground almonds
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup icing sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces

Ingredients for streusel:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons (90 mL) cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 1 ½ cups peeled ad coarsely grated tart apple such as Granny Smith
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper so that the paper comes up the sides.
  2. For the base, mix together in a food processor the ground almonds, flour and icing sugar. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture is a rough and crumbly texture. Alternatively, you can mix all the ingredients but the butter in a bowl, then cut in the butter using your hands or a fork. Press this mixture into the prepared pan and chill it while preparing the streusel.
  3. For the streusel, stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder. Cut in the butter by hand until a rough and crumbly mixture is obtained.
  4. Stir in the grated apple until it is coated with the flour and sugar mixture. Gently press this onto the chilled base.
  5. Bake for about 35 minutes, until it just begins to turn golden. Cool completely before slicing, and dust with icing sugar to garnish.

Valerie

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

Cakes and Cupcakes

Yield: about 16 bars
Recipe: 70/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 216

DSC_4865

     Due to the appealing photograph represented in Anna’s cookbook for this streusel coffee cake, I have wanted to try this recipe for the longest time. Fortunately I did not long ago and was very pleased with the result. Be warned, this cake does not contain coffee, but its name rather refers to the fact that it is a prime candidate to go along with a coffee enjoyed at any time of the day. This cake is moist and flavourful without being overwhelmingly so. It is the perfect  late-night snack to go along with any warm drink. Enjoy! 

Ingredients for topping:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for cake:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1  1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
  2. For the streusel topping, stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl with a fork. Add the melted butter and stir well until the mixture is evenly moistened.
  3. For the cake, using a hand or stand mixer beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the whole egg and the egg yolk. Beat well after each addition.
  5. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla extract.
  6. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
  7. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until just blended.
  8. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the streusel topping overtop. Bake the cake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Cut into squares when the cake is cooled completely and enjoy!

Valerie

Fresh Apple Streusel Pie

Pies and Tarts

Yield: One 9-inch pie, about 8 servings
Recipe: 2/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 84

   As I mentioned in my previous post, the first dessert that I wanted to attempt was the classic apple pie. After having successfully made my own pie dough (thanks Anna!), I was ready for the next step. This recipe was twice as tempting because it is a mixture of an apple crumble and an apple pie. What more could I ask for? As I was moving along with this recipe I realized that it is in fact not difficult to do. The smell coming from my oven and thereafter invading the entire apartment was heavenly and sweet. It was a smell that I correlated directly with the eminent success of my first ever apple pie. As I took it out of the oven, I observed the “apple filling bubbling at the edges” phenomenon to be observed to ensure the doneness of the apple pie. I could not wait to taste it. After the dreaded waiting period, it was time to taste. My roommate/best friend and I could not agree more: it was delicious! Albeit one small problem arose when the pie dough that I rolled was not quite large enough to obtain overhangs and form a pretty crust, everything went along perfectly. At least I’ll know for next time to roll the dough a bit thinner.

   In fact, I loved this pie so much that I made a second one in the same week for a family gathering. It’s a good think that it’s apple picking season! I don’t think anyone, given that they like apples, can go wrong with this recipe.

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 6 cups peeled and thinly sliced apples such as Cortland, Spartan, Honey Crisp, etc.
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cool and cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Streusel:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cool and cut into pieces

Directions:

  1. Pull the chilled dough out of the fridge 30 minutes before rolling. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly dust the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate with flour and place it on a baking tray.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to just under 1/4 inch in thickness, ensuring that the diameter of the rolled dough is about 15 inches to allow for overhangs to form the pie crust. Lift the rolled dough and place on the pie plate. Trim away any excess dough that hangs over the edge of the plate. For aesthetics, pinch the crust at intervals to form a decorative pattern.
  3. Sprinkle the oats over the pie pastry. Chill the pie in the refrigerator while preparing the filling and streusel.
  4. To prepare the apples, first toss them with lemon juice. Stir in the butter pieces, flour and cinnamon and coat the apple slices evenly.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and cut in with fingers or a fork until the mixture is a crumbly texture.
  6. Spoon the apples into the chilled pie shell and pat down so they are arranged loosely but evenly. Sprinkle the streusel over the apples.
  7. Bake the pie for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to cook the pie for 40-45 minutes, until the crust is evenly browned and the apple filling is bubbling at the edges.
  8. This is the difficult part: resist eating the pie immediately and cool it for several hours (ideally a minimum of 3) before slicing.

Notes from Anna:

  • If using dough that was made in advance and stored in the freezer, simply take it out of the freezer the morning of the day it is to be used and place in the fridge to thaw.
  • The oats sprinkled on the pie pastry serves to absorb the excess liquid and thus helps to keep the bottom crust crisp.
  • The lemon juice serves to render the pastry tender and flaky due to its acidity.

Note: The quality of this photograph is quite inferior to those that I usually post. However, I did not have my camera on hand so this will have to do for now. 

Valerie