This streusel topping (or crumb topping, as it's sometimes called) will really spruce up your homemade muffins, pies, coffee cakes and quick breads. It takes just seconds to mix up in a food processor, or you can just mix it up in a bowl using a fork. Then just sprinkle it over your muffins or pie right before baking for a traditional crispy, crumbly topping.
The recipe below is enough streusel topping for a single batch of muffins, and to make enough to top a 9-inch pie, you'd just double the recipe.
You can also mix in some oats, or some finely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts), or you could even crumble up some cookies (any flavor you like—chocolate, vanilla, gingersnap, amaretto, you name it) and add those. As long as you combine them in the same ratio and smoosh it all together with butter and brown sugar, it'll work.
Speaking of which, did you ever wonder why recipes always call for a certain amount of "packed" brown sugar? It has to do with the way the sticky granules form air pockets in the sugar. Packing helps eliminate the air so you get a proper measurement, and it's absurdly inaccurate. For this recipe, instead of packing, use 50 grams of brown sugar, which is equivalent to 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar.
- 65 grams all-purpose flour (1/2 cup)
- 50 grams brown sugar (about 1/4 cup packed)
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Alternately, you can mash the ingredients together in a bowl using a fork, or just smoosh everything together with a fork. Don't use your fingers, since the warmth of your fingers will soften the butter and cause the crumb texture to be too mealy.
- Sprinkle the topping over muffins, pies or coffee cake immediately before baking.