If you just love the streusel part of
any dessert, then you must try this recipe for a Streusel Cookie (also known as a Crumb
Cookie). It's one of those recipes that can be mixed together and into
the oven in less than ten minutes, yet the flavor is so good that you'll
wish all cookies were this easy to make. It reminds me of a shortbread cookie,
as it has a crisp and crumbly, yet chewy
texture, with a buttery sweet flavor. What's great too is that it's loaded
with chunks of crunchy almonds. I like how you bake the cookie in a cake pan so that it's one giant
sharing cookie (or cake). And instead of cutting it into wedges, the tradition is
to leave the cookie whole so that everyone just serves themselves by
breaking off a piece as big, or as small, as they like. You will find that
after breaking the cookie into pieces, there are lots of crumbs left
behind to nibble on or to sprinkle over a bowl of ice cream or pudding.
This Streusel Cookie originated in Mantova Italy,
where it's known as Sbrisolona. The trick to this recipe is to simply combine all the ingredients together, working
them just until you have a coarse mixture that's just starting to clump
together (you don't want a cohesive dough). Then just pour the crumb mixture
into your cake pan, pat it down gently, (you don't want a smooth top, it
should be rough and rustic looking) and bake until golden. The longer you bake the cookie, the more crisp it will become.
A few notes on ingredients. I like to use whole
almonds with skins on, but you can use blanched whole almonds. Or you
could use other nuts instead of almonds, or even a combination of nuts. And I toast
the almonds first to bring out their full flavor, and once cooled, cut
them so they are still in fairly large chunks. I like the addition of
cornmel (or semolina) as it provides a slight sandiness to the texture
which is very pleasing. If using cornmeal, you can use white or yellow and
I like to use either regular or finely ground, not coarsely ground.
Cookie Recipe: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place the
almonds on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes or until lightly
browned and fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack,
and then coarsely chop.
Have ready a 9 inch (23 cm) lightly buttered springform pan
or tart pan (or spray with a non stick
Place the flour,
cornmeal, sugars, baking powder, and salt in
a large bowl and whisk or stir to combine. Add the butter and, with your fingers,
(or rub) into the flour mixture until you have coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add
the egg yolk and extracts and mix until you have a crumbly mixture (you don't
want it to be a ball of dough). Add the almonds and stir to combine.
Pour the crumbled
mixture into the prepared pan and lightly press the crumbs (you want an uneven
surface so don't compact the crumbs too much). Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes or
until the top is golden brown. (The longer you bake the cookie, the more crisp
it will become.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool
completely (at least two hours). As the cookie cools it will become more crisp.
Break into uneven pieces. Can be stored at room temperature for about 10 days or
it can be frozen.
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