Pumpkin Crumb Muffins

Hello, Hi.

So it’s been officially over a year since I’ve posted anything here, which is kind of depressing huh? August 2015. Quick update on major things that have happened since then: we went on our honeymoon to Italy (oh my gosh, I could talk about that for 5 years but that will have to wait for another time), we traveled to New York & Los Angeles from Miami so many times that we’re now Executive Platinum frequent fliers, and oh hey! We moved back to Los Angeles!

I stumbled across this muffin recipe in September of last year and have been slightly obsessed with it ever since. I couldn’t hide this recipe from you all any longer so I’ve come out of blog-hiding to share these love muffins.

The crumb topping on this muffin is HANDS DOWN the best (bold, italic, underlined) I have ever had. I know you are probably like, okay calm down that’s probably not true. No, really, it’s that amazing. The key to this crumb is that the butter is melted and mixed in with the other ingredients, rather than the traditional crumb which incorporates cold butter into the sugar/flour/etc. This way leads to a few more dishes, but it is SO worth it.

Oh oh oh, and then there is the maple brown butter drizzle. You beautiful buttery, pancake smelling, deliciousness. Sigh…

I can’t even eat a muffin from the coffee shops in town anymore because they just feel like an epic let down. That certain-major-coffee-chain’s muffins taste like vending machine muffins now.

Nothing brings a smile to your day quite like a box of homemade muffins surprise delivered to your doorstep.

I know that it is January and so many of you guys are on Whole30 diets, or whatever the fun new diet is that rains all over my muffin parade. Good for you and having that will power. All I am saying is save this recipe for when you’ve come back to real life, and you can thank me later. I’ll be waiting, with a muffin.




Muffin Ingredients

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

8 oz canned pumpkin (about half of a 15 oz can)

3/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt


Crumb Ingredients

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups cake flour


Maple Brown Butter Icing Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1-2 tablespoons water



Crumb Topping

Combine sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.

Stir in melted butter, then add in cake flour (the mixture will be very thick).

Using a spatula spread the mixture out onto a cookie sheet or piece of parchment paper and let it set for about 10 minutes in a cool place.



Preheat oven to 375º. Line your muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, sugar, pumpkin, and oil.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt.

Mix the flour into the pumpkin mixture and mix until smooth.

Fill the muffin tins about 3/4 full and top with the crumbled up topping to the point where it’s almost overflowing. Just squish the topping down a little bit.

Bake for 10 minutes at 375º, then turn the oven down to 350º for another 10-12 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then take out of the pan and prep to drizzle the icing.


Maple Brown Butter Icing

In a small pan on the stove, cook the butter until it smells nutty and there are brown specs at the bottom of the pan. This will happen quickly, so don’t walk away! Immediately pour into a small bowl.

Whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla, maple syrup and water until smooth. If it is too thick, add a little more water.

Either using a spoon or transferring into a plastic baggy, drizzle the icing over the muffins.


These muffins store well in a sealed container, if they last that long!




Donut Sugar Cookies

Well, hello there!

Since the last time we were both here I have done a few things. Since it has been over a year I’ll just give the highlights….I got my degree in Geography/Environmental Science from UCLA, got engaged to my amazing boyfriend WB, moved from Los Angeles to Miami for WB’s new job, and will soon be Mrs. WB (51 days…woah). Just one of those things in a year would be plenty, but 2014 decided to be a bigger year then I had expected!


Now that life is completely different then back in 2012 when this blog started, my priorities have shifted back and forth. Don’t worry – there was LOTS of baking that happened this past year…I just either A. Ate it too fast to document or B. Our friends ate it too fast to document.

One of the big changes in the past few months has been that I am now in charge of cooking dinner. In the past, it was an unspoken rule that WB did the cooking and I did the baking. Those days are long gone – but for better! I am getting a lot better a cooking non-sugar enhanced food and it has been really fun! So don’t be surprised if a post pops up without sugar listed in the ingredients!

So here I am, dipping my feet back in the water to see how it goes. What better way to ease back into it then with the almighty decorated sugar cookie…that looks like a donut! Yes.


I started with my favorite sugar cookie dough recipe from Annie’s Eats. I think the key is the almond extract – gets me every time.


We just got these awesome new rolling pin guideline things from Crate & Barrel (wedding registry for the win!) and the most adorable rolling pin from my sugar-supporter Libby. The rolling pin rings come in different increments and will help you roll out your dough to the exact thickness the recipe says. Because honestly who can get their dough to a 1/4″ even thickness. Not me.

IMG_5975_e It says HELLO THERE! Too cute, too cute.

IMG_5977_eTo get the basic donut circle shape, I used a 3″ biscuit cutter


Then I searched around the kitchen and found a cap that was about an inch in diameter to make the donut hole.

IMG_5989_eSomehow I magically got exactly 24 donut cookies – beautiful.

IMG_6017_e1For the icing, I use meringue powder instead of egg whites. I find that it is much easier, and yields a better product. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the raw egg element. For this icing, I added a drop of pink food coloring to get a light tint of color. For the design, I start with making an outline with the icing, and then I let it sit for a few minutes to harden up. Then I thin out the remaining icing, put it in a squeeze bottle and fill in the design. Give plenty of time for that to dry before even thinking about stacking these guys on top of each other.



Hello from Butchie!


Until next time!

Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins

Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins

My boyfriend and I spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen. He’s fantastic at the “real food” thing and figuring out which spices and seasonings work well together, all the while not measuring a thing. On the other hand, I’m such a measurement stickler. I will try and help him make dinner sometimes and he’ll tell me to “throw in a dash of garlic powder” and I will immediately ask well how much is a dash? A teaspoon? A tablespoon? When you’ve spent years learning that if you put in 1/4 instead of 1/2 of a tsp of baking powder, your dessert will turn out completely wrong, a “dash” is not exactly a part of your vocabulary.

So over the past year or two I’ve been watching him, and I think I’m starting to get a little bit better, but I’m still a sucker for my measuring cups and instructions. 🙂

This past weekend we invited a group of friends over and had a fried chicken dinner party. He made the chicken, and I focused on dessert (brownies and ice cream) and cornbread. Lastly, we had each friend bring a side that went along with the chicken, so we ended up with garlic mashed potatoes, charred brussels sprout, swiss chard, and a salad. I think the key to a successful dinner party, when you have a kitchen as small as ours, is to assign an easy dish for each of your guests to bring, that way the kitchen doesn’t explode with dishes and ingredients. Whenever we try and do it all ourselves, we spend half of the time in the kitchen either cooking or cleaning. This way, we can actually enjoy some time with everyone.

I made these super flavorful jalapeño cornbread muffins from The Novice Chef’s blog, that I had been eyeing for a while. I personally am not big into spicy food, purely because my face and mouth get so hot even with such a small amount of spice, but I decided to give these guys a shot.

Throwing together the ingredients was so simple, and I had everything around the house except for the jalapeño and the green onions. I also am a huge fan of dishes that only require 2 dishes, I mean that is just a success in itself.



I used half of a diced up jalapeño in my version, instead of the full that the original recipe called for, just because I didn’t want it to be too spicy. I garnished half of them with a slice of jalapeño, and the other half I left as is.

I use an ice cream scooper any time that I make muffins or cupcakes because it portions out the perfect amount of batter for each tin. Instead of using muffin liners (which are wasteful and unnecessary in this case) I just sprayed the pan with cooking spray.



Since I made these guys a few hours before eating, I popped them in the oven on a baking sheet with the other items that were warming up at about 400˚F for a few minutes right before serving.

This cornbread has so much flavor in it, unlike so many of the store bought boxes. Don’t get me wrong though, sometimes that box of Jiffy is what you crave. But these muffins truly are delicious, and the perfect paring with fried chicken.



The chicken was too good to resist for even just a moment 🙂



Updated: THE Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Many moons ago I made this Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe that I had seen so many bloggers and articles raving about. It was consistently called the “best chocolate chip cookies you’ll ever have”. I mean, that is a serious thing to say, but it is true, so I felt it was my duty to share these again with you.

Since that post a year and a half ago (woah, let’s not talk about that), I have made this recipe more times than I can count. If we’re being honest, at least once a month and I’m not sick of them.


One of the great things about the recipe is that it makes a lot of dough. For the best results, you’re supposed to let the dough sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours to let the flavors meld. Truthfully speaking, you can bake them straight out of the mixer and they’re pretty darn tasty, but I really shouldn’t tell you this because there definitely is a flavor difference in those 24 hours.

Typically, I will bake a dozen right away, because honestly who can wait? Then I let the rest hang out in the fridge or freezer until Iget a text from my mother saying she’s run out of her secret frozen stock of this cookie dough, and off they go.

The key to the perfect chocolate chip cookies…here it goes…is not using chocolate chips.

Oh, and that sea salt….mmm salt.

To get the gooey, melty, smooth chocolate inside your cookies, you must use a bar of chocolate. Chocolate chips have stabilizers in it that are there to keep it’s perfect little chip shape. So they may be good for some cookies, but if you want a cookie like the one below…buy a big Pound Plus bar of chocolate from Trader Joe’s and get to chopping.


Happy Holiday’s!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes Dipped in Dark Chocolate Ganache

Everyone has their own opinions on where is the best place to get a great cupcake here in LA. Some people say Sprinkles, others say Magnolia, maybe Susie Cakes, I could keep listing them but you won’t believe where I’ve found a great cupcake. Recently, I caved when I walked past the dessert section of Trader Joe’s and snuck a 4 pack of these Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with a Peanut Butter Filling into the cart. Normally, I do not participate in store bought cookies, cakes, or any dessert for that matter. I know that I will generally still uphold this rule, but I now have a MAJOR exception for these cupcakes.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes

Trader Joe’s made the best cupcake that I have had in months. I KNOW. It’s absolutely absurd. Totally insane. You’re probably asking yourself how many drinks I had before tasting this cupcake, but no alcohol was involved.

The problem with so many cupcake shops is that the cake is boring and the frosting is overly sweet to try and balance it out.

These cupcakes are the perfect balance of a great cake and instead of a sugary frosting, it has a dark chocolate ganache instead which is so rich and delicious. Oh, and don’t forget this peanut butter filling which is basically slightly sweetened peanut butter, A.K.A Heaven.

Like the rest of the desserts I see in stores, I said to myself “I have to remake this”, and oh did I.

TNB Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes

There are no more words. This is THE cupcake.

TNB Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled CupcakesI know…


Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

Alright. I’ve been holding out on you. By you, I am referring to the 5 people that have forgotten that they are still subscribed to this blog. I know, I’m an awful food blogger. Honestly, I have no idea how Annie from Annie’s Eats manages to have a career, two kids, a seemingly perfect marriage AND a ridiculously adorable and scrumptious food blog.

And then there is me. Yeah, sure I have two jobs and I’m in school full time but for some reason I keep putting this thing I truly do love doing on the back burner.

So the quarter has ended for me today, which means no more excuses, for the next two weeks.


I made this beautiful, oreo filled, creamy Cookies and Creams Ice Cream. If you’ve been around since the beginning, you know how weirdly obsessed I am with Oreo’s. They’re processed cookies?! Why do I love them so much!? I don’t even know, just don’t come between us.

IMG_8933Super easy. Damn delicious. Regardless of my toxic addiction, this ice cream is one to add to the books.


Tip: When mixing in the chopped/smashed Oreo’s, add them in after you transfer the ice cream into your container. This way prevents this awful scratching noise of the cookies in your ice cream maker.

Tip 2: Put the finished ice cream in the freezer for about two hours to let it set up a bit. When it comes straight out of the ice cream machine it is too soft to form a scoop. So unless you like your ice cream soupy, freeze it up.

Since this past week in LA has been beautifully warm, you should get on this recipe ASAP. You won’t be disappointed, I assure you.


I love you. Enjoy.


Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every one loves chocolate chip cookies. It’s a fact.

For many years I was like the majority of the world and only knew chocolate chip cookies according to Nestle Tollhouse’s recipe. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I crave that flash back to my childhood, but they’re really just not the best cookie out there.

When you turn to the internet, or if you’re cool to your cookbooks, you’ll find a thousand different variations on the same cookie. Honestly, it’s a little overwhelming.

Last year I found my favorite chocolate chip cookies which is different from that classic childhood cookie. These are rich with flavor, melty chocolate chunks inside, and fleur de sel on top. The luxury chocolate chip cookie. But these guys take some time to make, and sometimes you just need cookies – now.

So I tested out a soft and chewy classic chocolate chip recipe brought to you by none other than Martha herself. These cookies took 15 minutes, at the most, to whip together, and then another 9 in the oven.

Twenty-four minutes to homemade chocolate chip cookies. Why would you ever by the store bought stuff?

I know it’s crazy, but I got this awesome paddle attachment at Christmas from the man but I this is the first time using it. It’s fantastic! No more scrapping down the sides of the bowl every 30 seconds. What a nice little perk.


Fresh out of the oven…

It’s good to be back in the baking game.

Exploring L.A.: The Sycamore Kitchen

Oh hi there. I’m alive and well! I truly hope you are too, and that you haven’t forgotten about this silly little blog. School and work have been consuming the bulk of my time, but when I do have a tiny little break, I have managed to bake a few things here and there.

Since I’m not able to bake as much as I use to, which really is starting to take a toll on my sanity, I unfortunately can’t share with you anything new today…but I can share with some photos of a delicious little place I went to for lunch today with the man.

Today we hit up The Sycamore Kitchen over on La Brea, between Beverly and 3rd.

I’m going to have to go back for that Salted Caramel Pecan Roll..oh my.

Roasted turkey, cherry mostarda, camembert, arugula, mayo, country bread
Heirloom tomato salad, sherry vinaigrette, burrata
House made potato chips

Chocolate Chip Rye Cookie…the chocolate just oozed everywhere. It was glorious.

If you are ever in the area, I suggest checking this place out, if not to only grab a cappuccino (which is muy bueno by the way) and a little sweet treat. They are only open for breakfast and lunch, but they serve lunch until 5PM!

Until next time,


Chewy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

In my mind, it is still July. So it came as a huge surprise the other day when there was a whole section in the grocery store dedicated to Halloween candy. I tried to resist, I really did… but I was sucked in and ended up buying a bunch of peanut butter cups.

As I unwrapped 16 individually wrapped peanut butter cups, my inner environmentalist was crying a little bit. So. Much. Trash!  I try to justify all of that waste by the fact that I buy my flour and sugars in bulk…and that these cookies are pretty delicious.

Peanut butter cookies are already pretty addictive on their own, but adding in the peanut butter cups adds a new texture and makes this a total game changer.

I packed some of these up in a little zip lock bag and headed off to the first UCLA home game of the season against Nebraska! After being raised a Trojan fan all my life, that was my first day where I rooted for UCLA, intentionally. Sorry Dad!


Sidenote: I’m all moved into my new place and bought some butter and eggs, stay tuned for some interesting posts on baking in a tiny kitchen 🙂



Homemade Caramels

I’m a baker. I’m good with an oven and combinations of sugar, flour and butter.

You may not remember, but the purpose of this blog was to challenge myself in trying new recipes more regularly. So far, I think I’ve done a pretty amazing job at that. I’ve made countless different types of cupcakes and cookies. I’ve made things I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about, Chocolate Espresso French Macaroons, ah hem. Along the way I have found recipes that I have loved and hated, but I generally always had a finished product that resembled what the recipe described – until I tried to make candy.

I attempted making caramels around the same time last year and it would never turn out as it should.  I would be left with a puddle of delicious caramel sauce, which was still eaten of course, but it was not the form of sugar that I was looking for.

I ended up going with it and making caramel sauce as little presents for some relatives back in Minnesota and some lucky friends, but in the back of my head I couldn’t help but feel a little defeated by this silly caramel recipe! I mean really, it’s just boiling sugar and water, what could I possibly be doing so wrong?

After giving myself a good six month break from the candy making idea, I revisited the stove with a brand new candy thermometer, a new recipe, and a positive attitude.

So I am here happily reporting my success in making caramels, in little chewy candyform.

Step 1: Stir together water, sugar and corn syrup with heat resistant spatula

Step 2: Boil sugar mixture. Don’t stir with any utensils! Just let it do it’s thing! Step 3: Carefully pour cream into sugar and stir. It will bubble up like crazy, don’t worry!

Step 4: Let it boil until the mixture comes to the soft ball stage, or about 247 degrees F.

Step 5: Immediately pour into prepared pan and let it set! After about 2 hours of setting, you’ll be able to cut the caramels up into squares and then wrap them up in wax paper.

In the end, this really was not all that difficult to make. I think it may have been an issue with my candy thermometer, or maybe I just wasn’t “ready” for candy making. Whatever the reason was, I’m confident in that you will be able to make this recipe just as easily as I did.


This entry was posted in candy.