Sometimes, I just want to streusel-top everything I bake and then pick the bits of streusel off the top and leave the remnants for my husband to scavenge.
Sometimes, I do this exact thing, and, for the record, Sean is not amused.
Lately, I’ve been in a battle with a snack cake that won’t turn out right…partly because of my penchant for distraction, partly because I’m pretty sure the recipe wants to torture me. I’ve had plans to pick that streusel off the top of said snack cake, but it just keeps sinking and nestling into the batter, causing me to have tears and sadness. So, in an effort to keep feelings of failure and frustration at bay, I decided to make an old favorite, the humble brownie, and sprinkle some STREUSEL all up over it.
When sugary, crunchy, cocoa laden streusel meets dark, fudgy brownie….it makes me want to add cocoa to all kinds of crumbl-y topped goods–cocoa berry crumble? hello! The streusel is a delightful texture with the brownie and it really took most of my will-power to not scrape it off of all the brownies, I only left one brownie top-less…instead of the whole heap. Now, my love of streusel is just magnified and I want to sprinkle it over everything I love. Streusel for everyone!
For the streusel:
3 Tablespoons melted, unsalted, butter
6 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
tiny pinch of cinnamon
In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until combined well. Refrigerate while you make the brownie batter.
For the brownies:
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa (plus more for dusting, optional)
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 large, cold eggs
1/2 cup flour
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and line a 8×8 pan, set aside.
Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and combine butter, sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, and salt. Stir from time to time until butter is melted and mixture is smooth and hot to the touch. Remove bowl from pan of water and set aside to cool to warm.
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon, then add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter is thick, shiny, and well combined, add the flour, stirring just until it is incorporated. Then continue to beat vigorously for about 40 strokes. Scrape the batter into the pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula and sprinkle evenly with streusel. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.