Monster Oreo Truffles

One of my fiancé’s favorite foods, after pasta, seafood, and cheese, are Oreo’s. When I ask him what kind of trifle I should make for when his family comes over, the answer is ‘Oreo’. When I ask him what kind of birthday cupcakes he wants, the answer is ‘Oreo’. When we go to breakfast at Good Friends Cafe, and he could choose between ten kinds of french toast, the answer is always ‘Oreo’ (but seriously, you’ve got to try this stuff). So when I make these Oreo truffles, it’s more than a battle to get him to not eat them all before I can even start decorating!

Dennis, MA Good Friend’s Cafe Oreo French Toast

These truffles, just like my Halloween cupcakes and chocolate bark, are a great staple to easily diversify between holidays with some simple decorations. You could make them into ornaments for Christmas, you could pipe green shamrocks on them for St. Patrick’s Day, or you could roll them in red, white, and blue sprinkles for the Independence Day – the possibilities truly are endless.

Halloween Oreo Truffle White

For Halloween, I decided to get different color Candy Melts (see my handling note on Candy Melts in my chocolate bark post) to make brown bats, white mummies, black monsters with purple and green sprinkle hair, and a little blue scarer family. You can of course go any direction you’d like, with as many colors and decorations as you can imagine.

Halloween Oreo Truffle Monster

1 package Oreo cookies
1-8 ounce package cream cheese
3 cups Candy Melts*, melted (I used brown, white, black, and blue**)
Options decorations (I used candy eyes, Oreo pieces and sprinkles)

*If you’ve never worked with candy melts please see my note in this post
**Colors can be different but it will take about 3 cups of melted Candy Melts to cover all the truffles

In a blender, pulverize the package of Oreo’s, cream and cookie together. Then in a mixer, combine crushed Oreo’s and package of cream cheese mixing until it forms a paste.

With your hands, roll the mixture into small balls, about the size of a peach pit, and place on parchment paper. Chill them in the fridge for at least an hour.

Once the truffles are chilled, place a ball on a fork over the bowl of melted Candy Melts. Using a spoon, cover the ball with the melted chocolate. After coating each one, work quickly to decorate as the melted chocolate will dry very fast and you need those decorations to stick!

Note: if your Candy Melts are still too thick, after microwaving according to my instructions, you can use a small amount of vegetable oil to loosen them up. In the end, I liked mine a tad thicker so the truffles looked more like monsters when coated.

Yield: 18 Oreo Truffles (I like making them larger so they’re easier to decorate, but you could make them smaller to feed more people)

EmBARK-ing on Halloween

Trust me when I say that it doesn’t get much easier than this. Chocolate bark is an easy treat or gift to make in big batches with festive colors and (maybe leftover?) candy.

Halloween Candy Bark Tray

Last year, I found these candy eyes and I bought four packs, which I pretty much insist on using for all of my Halloween recipes. Similar to the cupcakes and Oreo truffles, this candy is super versatile and once you have the first layer of chocolate down, it can be made for any holiday you can find decorations for (and if you shop at CVS, that means…all of them).

Halloween Candy Bark Close up

Now, for this particular batch I chose to use black and yellow candy melts to weave through the base layer of almond bark (don’t ask me why it’s called almond bark – it tastes like plain white chocolate), but you could also use orange and black candy melts with the white. I just happened to pick up lots of orange Halloween candy and really wanted to make sure it wasn’t too much of one color.

The candy turns out creamy because of the white chocolate then with pops of the different candies you bite into.

Candy Melts
Melted white chocolate almond bark, yellow melted Candy Melts, black melted Candy Melts

A note on candy melts: candy melts can be slightly intimidating. They’re small chocolate wafers that are used for candy making and candy coating (think chocolate-covered strawberries) and are the best way to get color into a dish. When melting the chocolate, start in a microwave-safe bowl first on 30-seconds, then give it a stir, then if it’s not melted, follow with an additional 15-seconds, then stir, repeating until the chocolate is melted. If you do it for any longer or not incrementally at all, the chocolate will seize and turn hard and unworkable (I learned this the hard way when I wasted a whole bag of purple candy melts I was so excited to use).


1 package white chocolate almond bark, melted
1/4 cup black candy melts, melted (or color of your choice)
1/4 cup yellow candy melts, melted (or color of your choice)
Optional candy of your choice! For this bark, I used Reese’s Pieces, candy corn, Junior Mints (my fave), candy eyeballs, and lots of Halloween-themed sprinkles


Lay out all of the candy toppings you’ll use because the chocolate will dry very, very quickly.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie tray, just to steady everything and have a place for it.

Once the chocolate is all melted, pour the white chocolate onto the parchment paper and with a spatula, spread it towards the four corners, in a rectangle shape, creating a thin layer, which will be the canvas. Then take the black and yellow candy melts and, with a spoon, spoon small dollops around the layer of white chocolate. Take a butter knife and drag it through the black and yellow chocolate to create a swirl affect.

Very quickly, sprinkle your candy toppings over the top and gently press in to so it holds as it hardens.

Once hard (it should take less than five minutes), gently use your hands to break off bite-size pieces of the chocolate.

Yield: The chocolate bark will easily feed 10 people

Trick or Sweet Halloween (or anytime!) Cupcakes

This is a strong statement so prepare yourself: I *think* I love Halloween baking more than Christmas baking. It’s so fun, there’s a great theme that can go a number of ways, lots of awesome colors to use (hence the colors of this frosting), an amazing array of decorations, and there’s so much less pressure!

Halloween Cupcakes Unfrosted

As you’ll see, I don’t go the scary, grotesque route of Halloween, but instead I’m more kitchy with bright colors and all the accessories (i.e. sprinkles) that I can get my hands on.

Halloween Cupcakes Overview

When I was planning what to make for this week (everyone does that, right?…right?), I really wanted a stellar cupcake. So I googled “best cupcakes” and New York City’s Magnolia Bakery recipe popped up. Instantly I was taken back to the first time I went there (when Barack Obama was a twinkle in America’s eye) to get some celebratory cupcakes for a work conference we had just finished. As soon as I walked in, I bee-lined to the display cases to ooo and ahh over the little puffy cakes in so many flavors and colors (reminder that this is before the cupcake fad really caught on).

Halloween Cupcakes with Beer
These cupcakes also pair excellently with Shipyard Pumpkinhead

So when I made this recipe, I found it to be nothing short of perfect and undoubtedly the “best cupcakes” I’ve ever made. It’s easy and you probably have all the ingredients on hand. I also found the cupcakes to be light and airy, but still moist and cakey. The frosting is the kind that coats your mouth in deliciousness, but is easy to work with and not overly sweet. Together it’s an incredibly balanced Halloween or anytime treat!


For the Cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing pans
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups self-rising flour (I used only all-purpose flour and added baking powder and salt)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Food coloring (optional)


To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. Mix the flours together in a bowl. In a glass measure, mix the milk and vanilla.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk and the vanilla, beating well after each addition. Spoon the batter into muffin cups about 3/4 full.

Bake until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched, 20 to 22 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pans and cool on a rack before frosting.

To make the frosting, place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the icing is thick enough to spread. Add a few drops of food coloring if desired. Frost cupcakes. Eat in excess.

Yield: 24 cupcakes (and frosting for 24 cupcakes)

Squash Hunger with My Butternut Squash Soup!

I have a love-hate relationship with butternut squash. I LOVE the way it tastes. I HATE peeling it.

But when I see the heavy Fall squashes at the farmers market, I just can’t resist. Home they come and on the counter they sit until I work up enough will to peel those suckers. But in the meantime, I can imagine all the cinnamony soup I’ll make and how I’ll coat the seeds with sea salt and toast them until they’re crunchy.

Butternut Squash Soup Pan

So how to prepare the squash for soup? Here’s some tips:

  • Trim the tops and bottoms off and separate the necks from the rounder bottom part.
  • Take the rounder bottom part and cut it in half. Scoop the seeds and pulp out (you can save the seeds for soup garnish or just to snack on like pumpkin seeds!)
  • Poke each piece with a fork (like you mean it!) and microwave for 8 minutes. Cool enough to handle.
  • Either with your peeler or knife, peel the skin off.
  • Dice into pieces.


Butternut Squash Soup Pot

I’ve made this soup several times and have perfected this recipe to exactly how I like it: it’s a little thicker than an average soup (if you like thinner, just add more stock), it has a creamy texture, and the cinnamon flavor screams Fall. I like adding a little sour cream on top which cools down the hot soup, as well as some of the roasted, salted squash seeds to add some another layer of texture.

2 peeled butternut squash, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 granny smith apple, chopped
4 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Divide the butternut squash, onion, apple and cinnamon between two sheet pans, spray thoroughly with non-stick spray (I like coconut oil spray), and sprinkle with the cinnamon and salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until fork-soft.

Transfer the roasted fruit and vegetables into a large heavy bottom soup pan for with the chicken stock and black pepper and simmer on low-medium heat for one hour (this can also be done in the crock pot).

Using an immersion blender, blend together the contents of the pan. Simmer on low for an additional hour.

Yield: 6 servings

This will make you Fall in love

On Monday, my fiancé was going to a local community meeting and so I got to try out this month’s Food and Wine Baking Bucket List Challenge (month 7, wooo): Maple Pumpkin Pecan Snacking Cake. Unfortunately, I had work to do so I couldn’t make it, but he came back with an empty box with the reviews came back and they were two thumbs way up.

I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin flavors but Fall does call for it, and thankfully for me and other iffy-pumpkin eaters, these didn’t end up super pumpkinny. I was pleasantly surprised at how soft,  moist, and with a nice crunch of the pecans these turned out to be. The texture of this snacking cake is similar to a coffee cake, but softer, with notes of pumpkin and maple to balance the flavor profile.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 ounces pecans (a little over a cup)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons demerara sugar for sprinkling (can substitute brown sugar)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8-inch square cake pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and salt and set aside.

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, toast the pecans until fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Transfer half of the nuts to a small food processor and pulse until a coarsely ground flour forms. Roughly chop the remaining pecans over a cutting board into small sized pieces. Add both the pecan meal and loosely chopped pieces to the bowl of dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until very smooth. Gently fold in the dry ingredients until incorporated. Using a spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out the surface of the cake batter with the spatula and sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be crispy from the scattered sugar coating. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Yield: 8 servings

You Won’t Fumble with These: Cheeseball and Homemade Crackers

Last weekend was my future nephew’s ninth birthday – which is completely crazy given I met him when he was five! He’s grown into an actual person, someone who you can have a conversation with, and is a little boy who’s very into the Patriots.

Given that, he decided that his birthday party was going to be tailgating themed during the Patriot’s game and everyone had to wear their Patriots gear. Now I have no Patriot’s “gear.” But I knew I would be teased (all in good fun, of course) by my fiancé’s Massachusetts-residing, Patriots-loving, “gear”-wearing family (particularly by the newly-minted nine year old or the recently-turned six year-old nephews). A Pats t-shirt over a dress and a red necklace from Paris and Patriots-tailgating-birthday party here I come.

Homemade Crackers Rolling Dough

For the actual party, when I offered to make something, the now nine-year-old’s mom asked for a savory appetizer. Savory is something I struggle with and football is something I struggle with even more. However a theme and baking – that I’ve got. Therefore: a football-shaped cheeseball and homemade crackers!

Cracker Dough w Season

Both the cheeseball and the crackers are completely customizable which also makes this so fun. For the cheeseball, you could fold in any kind of white cheese (pepper jack, american, LIMITLESS!), different spices (cumin, rosemary, ANYTHING!), endless kinds of coatings (pecans, tortilla chips, Doritos for extra cheesiness, THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER!).

And the crackers – don’t get me started. I like this recipe for two reasons: first because it has olive oil and no butter which makes me feel better about eating it because it’s not as caloric (right?), and second because it’s so versatile. I ended up making three kinds: one with chia seeds for crunch, thyme, and fresh cracked black pepper; one with garlic powder and salt; and one with just kosher sea salt.

The cheeseball is creamy and cheesy with a kick of the sharp cheddar, it’s the perfect spread. The buttered nuts on top complement the smoothness of the cheese adding a crunchy element to give it texture. And the crackers – man oh man. They couldn’t be easier to make and the crunch when you bite into this classic appetizer is elevated because everything is made from scratch. Trust me, this appetizer is no field goal — it’s without a doubt a TOUCHDOWN!

Football Cheeseball and Crackers Closeup

Homemade Crackers
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water
Optional toppings: chia seeds, sea salt, thyme, garlic powder, cayenne, anything!

Football Cheeseball
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
8 ounces of white shredded cheddar
3/4 teaspoon hot sauce
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 1/4 cup walnuts
1 piece white string cheese

To Make the Homemade Crackers: 
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Then fold in and stir until it forms a soft (very sticky) dough. Divide the dough into three balls.

Shape the first ball into a rectangle with your fingers and place it on a floured sheet of parchment paper (this step is critical!). Using a rolling pin, roll the rectangle into 1/8-inch or less. Any thicker and crackers will turn out to be more chewy than crispy.

Once it’s been rolled out, using a pastry brush, brush the top with water and then sprinkle the toppings evenly across (the water will help the toppings stick!). Then take a pizza cutter, or very sharp knife, and cut squares. Last, take a fork and prick each square once, which will prevent them from puffing up like pillows.

Carefully slide the parchment paper with the dough onto a baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Once they come out of the oven, cool for five minutes, and break the crackers apart. As they cool, they’ll crisp up.

Repeat for other two balls of dough.

Yield: 70 crackers

To Make the Football Cheeseball:
Combine the cream cheese, cheddar, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and shallots in a large bowl and mix until thoroughly blended. Transfer the cheese mixture to a large sheet of plastic wrap and cover with a second sheet of plastic wrap. Form the cheese into a football shape. Wrap in the plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the butter thyme in a small bowl.

Toss the walnuts with thyme butter and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cool completely, then finely chop.

Unwrap the cheese ball and cover completely with the walnuts. Transfer to a serving dish. Separate the string cheese into strands and arrange them to look like the laces on a football.

Yield: feeds 12 people

How ’bout them apples? Honey Baked Apples that is!

There is a lovely woman in DC that I worked with, what seems like a lifetime ago, who has been a great supporter of this blog (she’s a writer for a living so huge compliment).

In addition to supporting and writing, she’s also a beekeeper! I’ve really enjoyed watching her grow beekeeping into such a passion and I’ve actually gotten to learn so much about her, bees, and of course honey!

She actually harvests the honey and jars it, along with a few other DC beekeepers, to sell in local places around DC like Bread Furst Bakery (side note: if you’re in DC and haven’t had a Bread Furst croissant: go immediately). Her Facebook page is called DC Bee and you can follow it too!

So this DC beekeeper was the inspo for this recipe, which unfortunately wasn’t made with her honey (read: SOS), but was made with some honey I got at the Love.Live.Local festival in Hyannis a couple weeks ago from Little River Bee Works.

Now this recipe isn’t anything if not simple. The hardest part is coring the apples but after that, some drizzling, ~30 minutes in the oven (depending on the apples you’re using) and you’ve got warm, sweet, cinnamony apples that you can cut into with a spoon!

Note that this recipe isn’t meant to be overly complicated and substitutions can be easily made! Adding some nutmeg? Great! Don’t want nuts but have steel-cut oats? No problem! Definitely a great way to be easily creative. This is also a great recipe if you need a dessert on the fly.

6 apples, cored (make sure not to go through the bottom to hold in the juice!)
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
3 tablespoons of honey
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
Vanilla ice cream (optional, unless you’re my fiancé who is obsessed with Halo Top).

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Spray a cake pan with cooking spray and place in the six, cored apples.

Sprinkle each apple evenly with the cinnamon and pecans and drizzle with honey (don’t forget the inside!)

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a fork can easily puncture the skin. Let cool for a couple minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream.

Yield: 6 apples

Bobbing for Apple Recipes? Here you go!

Life over the past couple of days has been busy for my fiancé and me. This mild Fall weather has been beautiful, allowing us to travel throughout New England and close to home. Some recent highlights include a nearby brewery to meet my fiance’s high school friends, then to a hardware store to look at paint samples for a condo we’ll soon close on as a rental property, then to a new Thai restaurant, and in between: lots and lots of driving.

Such a busy few days meant that on Sunday, my fiancé spent his day doing school work to finish up his master’s degree (only a few more weeks!) and I spent most of the day watching The Food Network. After I won’t tell how many hours, I felt inspired to bake – apple bread!

Banana bread is one of my favorites, but of course, I still have a peck (technical term) of apples in the fridge that we picked, so apple bread it was. It’s actually a very simple recipe, with not meany steps and easy to follow. So a few crispy apples, extra dashes of earthy cinnamon, and a handful of crunchy pecans and we were in business!

Sometimes the simpler the recipe, the more delicious your baking will turn out. I am obsessed with how soft the bread is, the crunchiness from the outer layers, and moistness of the inside makes it a great blend of Fall flavors.

2 1/2 cups of peeled, diced apples (about three large apples)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl; add apples.

Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon in a separate bowl; add to apple mixture and stir just until evenly combined into a thick batter. Pour batter into a greased (I like coconut oil spray) loaf pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Cover loaf pan with aluminum foil; continue baking until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes more. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 slices of apple bread

Pecan Pie Cheesecake: A Thanksgiving dessert that will make you give thanks

Before you give me the eye-roll, don’t worry – I’m not going all CVS on you. Thanksgiving has not come early and I’m not looking to start turkey-day planning. I entered a cooking competition through the local paper, Cape Cod Times, and I needed a dessert when we went to Danbury, New Hampshire to see a friend (1. yay, my 24th state visited! 2. being from Texas, it’s still mind-boggling to me how close the New England states are up here. We’re an hour away from RI, CT, and NH!).

This IS however, a great recipe to consider if you’re looking for something that’s a little different with a classic twist. It IS a little time-consuming, though not much more than any other cheesecake. You need to bake the crust, but then the pecan pie filling sets while you’re making the cheesecake topping.

With a buttery, crumbly crust on the bottom, velvety gooey and nutty pecan pie in the middle, and a lusciously creamy cheesecake on top, this is THE dessert that will take care of every post-turkey sweets craving. I love this dessert because of the crunch of the pecans, the smoothness of the cheesecake, and the decadence of the pecan syrup at the bottom. You, your family, and friends will all give thanks for this dessert!

1 ¾ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
⅓ cup butter, melted

Pecan Pie Filling:
1 cup sugar
⅔ cup dark corn syrup
⅓ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 eggs
⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.

To make the crust, combine wafer crumbs and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9″ spring form pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the pecan pie filling, combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into crust and set aside.

To make the cheesecake filling, reduce oven to 325°. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add brown sugar and flour and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir in cream and vanilla. Pour over pecan filling. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven with the door closed for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and run a knife along the outside edges to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Let cool. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Yield: 8 slices

Apples (Crumb Cakes) for Dayyyyssss

In honor of Fall, last weekend, we made the trek “off Cape” to C.N. Smith Farm to pick apples and get pumpkins! It’s a tradition that my fiancé and I have done four Falls running now and I LOVE IT. The fresh air, the smell of apples, getting a warm cup of apple cider afterwards  (did I mention it was 70 degrees that day? Ugh, global warming).

Fortunately (unfortunately?) apple picking means lots and lots and LOTS of apples. Therefore, my next few recipes will be apple-centric as I try to get through all these babies.

Apple Trees

For my first apple recipe, I went with this month’s Food and Wine Baking Bucket List Challenge, which is Apple Crumb Coffee Cakes and is the 6th month I’ve been in it. I made a few modifications, like adding more cinnamon and more apples, which overall made the crumb cakes softer and more moist, which is perfect with my favorite kind of topping: streusel (butter and sugar that gets a tinsy bit crispy and crunchy while remaining soft and crumbly – YUM).

Apple Crumb Cakes tin
1. Batter in the prepared muffin tins and 2. Streusel topping before being baked.

For the Streusel:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the Crumb Cakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup peeled, small-diced apples (I used Cortland apples, which is what we picked)

Preheat the oven to 350°.

To make the streusel, in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the flour with the brown sugar and salt. Add the butter pieces and mix at medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal; continue mixing the streusel until very small clumps form. Transfer the streusel to a large plate and refrigerate until it is well chilled, about 10 minutes.

To make the crumb cakes, line 18 standard-size muffin cups with paper liners. Spray the liners with cooking spray. In the mixer bowl, combine the flour with the granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add the butter pieces and beat at low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the sour cream and beaten egg and beat until the batter is smooth. Add the diced apple and beat just until incorporated.

Fill the muffin cups halfway with the crumb cake batter. Press the streusel into clumps and sprinkle on top. Bake the crumb cakes in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until risen, golden and springy to the touch; rotate the pans halfway through baking. Let the crumb cakes cool slightly before serving.

Yield: 18 crumb cakes