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Chex, Coming to a Streusel Near You

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Peek into most pantries, or kitchen shelves, and you'll find a box of cereal. I'm not a big cereal eater in general, but even I usually have a box of some simple kind of cereal stashed away. Cereal seems like the culinary equivalent of an umbrella: Even if you don't remember buying it, there's usually one in the closet.

Whether or not you eat a morning bowl of it, I'd like you to consider a new use for cereal. Today's recipe is a mash-up from a few sources of inspiration: The base is a riff on a killer muffin recipe from Vermont Creamery, which I've transformed into a tender, vanilla bean-flecked dessert that resembles a pound cake in its meltingly dense texture. The topping is inspired by the Ovenly blueberry cornflake muffins that my local coffee shop carries.

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Cereal = culinary equivalent of an umbrella.
Cereal = culinary equivalent of an umbrella. Photo by Posie Harwood

The idea of using cereal to make a streusel isn't strange, considering many streusels already call for a breakfast staple: rolled oats. Making a cereal streusel is faster and easier than most though. Just crunch up cereal with some sugar, flaky salt, and softened butter. Spread it over your batter and ta-da!, you've got an addictively crunchy golden topping.

Corn Chex is my cereal of choice for streusel toppings. I love the nutty flavor the corn adds, plus the waffled texture of Chex gives extra crunch to the streusel, especially if you don't fully crush the cereal. That being said, you can certainly try this technique with anything from crisped rice cereal to any sort of flaked cereal to even Shredded Wheat.

On the left is vanilla, on the right is chocolate, everywhere is streusel. Photos by Posie Harwood

While I highly recommend trying this vanilla-crème fraîche cake recipe, you can also use this streusel recipe on top of muffins (I like it on chocolate muffins!), other simple cakes, or quick breads (a banana bread would be a good partner). You can also opt to spread the streusel on a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake it until golden, and then use it to top anything from a bowl of yogurt to vanilla ice cream.

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6c2ebb54 f983 442d 994a e495a9fd4820  chex cake

Vanilla Crème Fraîche Cakes with Chex Streusel

1e4d7b52 fd4f 4798 ae19 d0f715768358  ry 400 Posie Harwood
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Makes 12 small cakes
  • FOR STREUSEL:
  • 1 cup corn Chex cereal
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • FOR CAKE:
  • 8 ounces crème fraîche
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract) -- this seems like A LOT and you can use less, but trust me!
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Try swapping the streusel in the chocolate muffin recipe below (or any chocolate muffin recipe) for Chex streusel above.

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Chocolate Raspberry Streusel Muffins

0fecd8f8 6ef1 4649 9f57 83bf4668f3d0  3572 Erin McDowell
21 Save Go To Recipe
Makes 8 large muffins

Struesel

  • 1/2 cup (60 g) all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (33 g) old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup (53 g) dark brown sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 5 tablespoons (70 g) cold unsalted butter, but into 1/2 inch cubes

Muffins

  • 2 cups (340 g) raspberries
  • 2 1/4 cups (269 g) all purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup (22 g) good qaulity cocoa powder (such as Valrhona)
  • 1 tablespoon (12 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large (113 g) eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (226 g) buttermilk, at room temperature
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How do you like to repurpose cereal? Did you know our Baking Club is too? Let us know in the comments! For more info on our Baking Club, head here.

Tags: muffins, vanilla cake