Kugel, or noodle pudding, can be sweet or savory and is typically baked in a large baking dish and served as a side dish during the Jewish High Holidays or at Shabbat dinner on Friday evenings. This recipe is a sweet version, baked up as muffins and perfect for toting to potluck dinners or giving as gifts during the winter holidays. Thinner noodles are easier to scoop into the muffin cups, but if only wide egg noodles are available, simply break them up a bit by gently banging the bag with a rolling pin before boiling. By Stephanie Alleyne for Food Network Kitchen
For the almond streusel topping: Stir together the flour, brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and stir until incorporated. Stir in the almonds and squeeze the mixture together to form clumps. Set the streusel aside.
For the kugel muffins: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles in the boiling water until just al dente. Drain the noodles and run under cold water until cool.
Meanwhile, stir together the flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
Add the cream cheese, brown sugar, heavy cream, sour cream, vanilla, whole eggs and yolks and orange zest and juice to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until smooth and combined. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add the noodles and stir until evenly coated. The batter will be soupy.
Use a 1/4-cup measure to scoop the batter into the muffin cups, stirring and scooping from the bottom of the bowl to ensure even distribution of noodles among the cups; use fingers or tongs to distribute the noodles if need be. The cups should be nearly filled to the top. Crumble some of the streusel over each cup of batter.
Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the muffins are set and the tops are golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pans until warm, about 15 minutes. Serve warm as a side dish or pop the cooled muffins into decorative tins for gifting.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)