In my opinion (I’m sure I’m not alone here), the best part of these streusel cakes is the streusel topping itself. Can you imaging a goodie entirely consisting of the delectable buttery and nutty crumbs? And that is exactly what the sbrisolona is – a gigantic (12-inch in diameter) crunchy cookie. Italians never cease to amaze me with their delicious creativity.
The recipe below is adapted from Nancy Silverton. I couldn’t resist a temptation and browned the butter instead of just melting it.
Makes one huge cookie (12-inch)
- 2 sticks (½-lb) unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups (8 oz) whole toasted unblanched almonds, divided
- ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- ¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 ¼ cups semolina flour
- 1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3 tbsp orange flower water
Center an oven rack and preheat to 350F. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. Place an 11 to 12-inch flan ring on the lined sheet (you can use a springform ring instead; unlatch it to make larger if you need). Lightly coat the ring with some melted butter. Set aside.
Place the butter in a small saucepan and cook the butter over medium heat until it is medium brown and has a nutty aroma, 5-6 minutes. Do not allow to burn. Remove from the heat. Set aside to cool slightly. Drain through a fine-mesh sieve, set aside.
Roughly chop half of the almonds. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the rest of the whole almonds with half of the granulated sugar and process until it’s consistency of fine meal. Add the remaining sugars, flours, and salt, and pulse to incorporate. Lightly whisk the yolks with flower water and add through the tube while pulsing. Add the browned butter, pulsing, until the mixture is moistened, but doesn’t come together. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and mix in the remaining chopped almonds.
Pick up a handful of dough, squeeze it together lightly in your fist, and crumble it, in large chunks, into the mold. Dimple the dough to help press it together, making an uneven layer. Continue a handful at a time, crumbling and dimpling the remaining dough. The surface should be very bumpy and uneven. Once all of the dough is in the mold, dimple one final time to ensure that it holds together, but isn’t tightly compressed.
Cover the ring with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and return it to the oven for about 25-30 minutes more, until it’s firm to the touch and light golden brown.
Cool completely on a cooling rack. Break up into large, uneven chunks.
It’s even better the next day.
October 19, 2010 at 9:04 am
Sounds amazing, can’t wait to try it! I don’t have any orange flower water on hand (nor do I expect to be able to get some soon), any recommendations for a subsitution?
May 11, 2009 at 9:14 pm
Bryan, it should be a delicious alternative. I love cornmeal.
May 11, 2009 at 8:07 pm
you might also try coarse polenta-cornmeal for a portion of the semolina. it creates an amazing crunch!
March 22, 2009 at 9:21 pm
Rita, thank you very much!
March 20, 2009 at 4:03 am
I really LOVE sbrisolona! I used to make (and eat) a lot while in Italy! This one looks so perfect I wish I could reach for a piece!
March 19, 2009 at 11:05 pm
Lisa, Camille, Christy, CookiePie, thank you very much for your comments!
March 19, 2009 at 8:32 am
That looks beyond delicious — I totally agree about streusel!
March 19, 2009 at 1:12 am
Streusel…yum. I agree that the best part of ANYTHING is the streusel. And to have one gigantic cookie made out of pure streusel…pure heaven!!
March 18, 2009 at 7:21 pm
I am a streusel fanatic. To me it is a food group. Your sbrisolona is fantastic and I could probably live on it. My Father always brings me a “coffee cake” from the Italian bakery in NJ. It is 90% struesal and 10% cake. I think I should just make your recipe and omit the cake:) Oh, and browned butter…heavenly.
March 18, 2009 at 2:56 pm
Now that’s what I call a cookie! Love the texture and the addition of orange flower water. This is just perfect!
March 17, 2009 at 8:44 pm
Thank you all very much for your kind comments! I greatly appreciate it!
March 17, 2009 at 3:46 pm
This sounds like me dream come true. You are definitely not alone in your love of streusel. I adore it. I could eat spoonfuls of it, and now, I can eat an entire cookie of it! It looks so fabulous. Wow, thanks so much for sharing this!
March 17, 2009 at 12:26 pm
one of my favourite cakes. greetings from italy
March 17, 2009 at 7:22 am
Oh, boy. My wildest dreams come true: an entire cookie of streusel! I feel that third chin beginning to show itself now…
March 17, 2009 at 2:21 am
interesting name for an interesting treat! i’ve never used orange flower water before, but i’m sure it’s a lovely touch!
March 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm
The strange name got my attention alright. Thnx for sharing this beautiful recipe :-)
March 16, 2009 at 5:31 pm
Mmmm, I think I would love that!
Your pictures are lovely :)
March 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm
I can just picture myself eating the whole cookie!
March 16, 2009 at 11:52 am
Yes, it’s true… sbrisolona is a huge cookie… Here in north-eastern Italy we have many similar cakes (rosegota, fregolota), but this one is the richest in ingredients.
Yours looks great!
March 16, 2009 at 11:12 am
delicious :) just yummy
March 16, 2009 at 10:14 am
ive never heard of this one before, but if it is anything like it sounds or looks like..im all for it!! :)
March 16, 2009 at 6:52 am
You are definitely not alone here!
March 16, 2009 at 6:32 am
Wow…looks crisp and delicious…just want to grab a bite.
March 16, 2009 at 5:25 am
Oh good God ..do you really think I could wait till the next day to eat this??????????
March 16, 2009 at 2:09 am
love streusel! looks great!
March 16, 2009 at 1:11 am
Wow, that is one massive cookie!
March 16, 2009 at 12:24 am
Anything streusel makes me feel good, but this streusel makes me feel VERY GOOD Vera. You never cesae to amaze. I love the platter it’s on too.
March 15, 2009 at 11:33 pm
Oh wow! That looks scrumptious!
March 15, 2009 at 10:22 pm
Wow, that must be heavenly! What a delightful cookie! I’ve always loved streusel…