My mother in law and I have a great relationship! We have become close friends over the last year of living near each other. I count on her for help with Lily and to just hang out many times. I believe she counts on me for the same type of friendship I've grown to cherish from her. We go shopping together, we watch movies together, we make menus together, we have even been known to go on morning walks together. I am so lucky to have this woman in my life. She seems to feel the same about me. Until I step into her kitchen that is...
My dear mother in law is what I call a "clean freak." Some call her "anal." Others call her obsessive. Whatever description or adjective she is given, it doesn't change the fact that she loves her house clean, neat, and orderly at all times. This is why, when I (the infernal clutz that I am) walk into her kitchen, I hear the sharp intake of breath coming from her because she knows what is coming....a mess.
I am by no means a clean, neat, or orderly cook. In general I tend to leave things lying about the house because I forget about them. However, I take my mess making skills seriously when I'm in the kitchen. I will stir sauce in a pot and slop some over the side. I drop cheese on the floor when making an omelet. And don't get me started on bread crumbs! It takes sheer talent to make the type of kitchen messes I am able to produce.
So naturally, when I told her about this "treat" I wanted to make for the family, I heard the weariness in her voice when she slowly said "oookkkkaaaayyy." I saw the look of pure horror in her eyes when she glanced from me, to her immaculate kitchen, then back to me.
Fortunately for me, the things I make are always delicious. So she ends up forgiving me and my disorderly technique of culinary artistry when she takes that first heavenly bite of whatever it is I've prepared that day...of course, she can't take that bite until she has successfully decontaminated her kitchen. (The poor thing literally follows me around with a rag in one hand and a towel in the other).
Well, my luck did not fail me when I prepared this amazing strawberry almond streudel. Looking at the blogs it was derived from, I've seen it called a coffee cake and a braid. But I find it to be more like a streudel. This recipe can be either a brunch/breakfast treat or a sweet ending to a great meal. Many options are available to modify this recipe to your own taste buds, just look in the jelly/preserve aisle at your favorite grocery store. I enjoy strawberry (of course) so that's the direction I took. Enjoy!
Strawberry Almond Streudel
Recipe adapted from Willow Bird Baking
- 2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3 ounces best quality cream cheese
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup strawberry preserves (or your favorite flavor)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In large bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until thoroughly mixed.
- Cut butter and cream cheese into flour mixture using a pastry blender, knife.
- Gently blend in the milk and almond extract.
- Turn dough onto slightly floured surface and knead VERY LIGHTLY, about 4 or 5 strokes. (NOTE: Do not overwork the dough or things will go terribly wrong. The dough will still look a bit rough but that's the way it's supposed to be.)
- On a sheet of waxed paper, roll dough into an 8-inch by 12-inch rectangle.
- Turn dough onto lightly greased baking sheet and remove waxed paper.
- Lengthwise, mark dough into thirds. Spread preserves down center of dough, leaving about a 1/2 inch between the marks on each side and the preserves.
- Make 2 3/4 inch diagonal marks about 1 inch apart along both of the long sides of the dough. (Do not cut into the jam filled center.) Fold the diagonal strips of dough from one side, then the other, in a rotating manner, over the preserves.
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes until dough is cooked through and top is a golden brown.
- Mix the icing by sifting the powdered sugar into a small glass bowl, add the milk, vanilla, and almond extract and mix until icing is smooth and runny. Drizzle over the top of the streudel and top with almond slices before icing sets. Serve and enjoy.