Cinnamon Sugar Bourbon Crumble Topping

A Very Versatile Dessert Accompaniment

I like to think of dessert elements as music. Every good creation has soaring crescendos of fruity sweetness, high notes of salt to accentuate, sometimes low notes of a cinnamon chorus that all come together in a perfect harmony. This crumble is reminiscent of my Omi’s streusel dessert, but with a twist: booze. This recipe is perfect for cinnamon-inclusive pies, tarts, compotes, bread puddings, or even good old vanilla ice cream. I’ll gladly admit to whipping up a small batch just to munch on. There never needs to be a reason to get this crumble cooked up other than the desire for simple satisfaction.

Crumble Topping


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp chilled, cubed butter
  • 1 tbsp bourbon


Baking Notes 

If you are looking to use it as a pie topping, refer to my filling recipes. If you’re using a recipe of your own, cover the top of the crumble-topped pie with foil when you pop it in the oven for about 40% of its baking time and remove the foil for the remainder of the time. If you notice that the topping is darkening too fast, replace the foil and keep an eye on it. As a personal preference, I usually prepare a double batch for pie toppings.

If you’re baking this on its own to use as an added zing to another dessert and not as a pie topping, the baking process is simple: you just have to watch it. No foil is necessary. Superbly simple!

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Use a fork or your hands to combine the dry ingredients until it slightly resembles sand. Don’t overwork it and don’t worry if there are little clumps of butter that aren’t completely mixed in
  3. Add the bourbon a little at a time
  4. Line a slightly greased cookie sheet with foil and gently spread the crumble mixture evenly on it
  5. Slide the sheet onto the center rack of your oven, let it go for about ten minutes, then check on it every few minutes until it takes on a beautiful bronze color.
  6. Remove it from the oven, let it cool, or just carefully sprinkle it onto your other sweet creations.

A Few What If’s:

  • If the mixture seems too dry for your liking, feel free to add more bourbon. The wetter it gets, the more likely it is to muddle together in the oven (not in a bad way).
  • If the mixture seems too wet for your liking, add a bit more flour. This will also help to keep the crumble looking more crumbly, and not like a big crunchy cookie (which, again, is not a bad thing).
    • If you just like the taste of bourbon and want to maintain the crumbly texture, add a bit more bourbon and even it out with a little extra flour.
  • If you prefer a dash more deliciousness, you can add some nutmeg, clove, or just take the easy street with some allspice. The good thing about this recipe is that it’s egg-free so you can taste it for the perfect amount of spices before you bake it.
    • Sometimes, I get a little ambitious and turn into a bit of a perfectionist: I take the extra time to fine-tune the flavor. I don’t add all the flour right away so I can spice just over perfect. Adding the flour at the end is a good way to tone down or correct the overcorrection. It’s always important to taste as you go.


Best of luck with your baking endeavors! Drop a comment to let me know how this recipe works for you and don’t forget to share with your baking buddies!


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