Three Kings Muffins

“Three Kings Muffins”? What’s that all about?

This is a multilayered story. First, I want to promote shorter, expressive names for recipes, evocative names. The gourmet trend to include more and more of the ingredients in the names of recipes, leaves names looking too much like the recipes themselves. I’ve done the same, but in the end, it’s less memorable.  Names like “Cordon Bleu”, or “Tiramisu”, or “Hello Dolly Bars”are like the title of a book. They require you to look inside, taste and discover, do a little reading, to learn about the ingredients that make a whole from the parts. If it’s a good book, you’ll remember the title. Second, I like giving names that connect to my Christian tradition whenever possible. It’s a sweet way of weaving my faith into the cultural fabric of life.

“Fine, Tim, fine. Still, what’s with the three kings thing?” Well, It’s all about the recipe, so here goes:

  1. The recipe begins with Magnolia’s “Sour Cream Breakfast Buns.”
  2. Modifications begin here, using three flours instead of one (thus three kings):
    1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
    2. 1 cup oat flour
    3. 1 cup Spelt
  1. Three treasures were placed inside as gifts (not in the original plan):
    1. 1 cup apples (surplus from a previous recipe)
    2. 1/2 cup cinnamon chips (surplus from a previous recipe)
    3. 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (surplus … you get the picture)
  2. A star was placed in the center –
    1. 1/2 teaspoon cream cheese filling (surplus… etc.)

As you can see, I couldn’t include all of these items in a name. So I had to come up with something. Kind of like Cisco (a.k.a. Vibe on The Flash), I get to name things. With three flours, three “gifts” inside, plus a star…

The Vibe says, “It’s Three Kings Muffins.”

What did the process look like? Hmmmm.


  1. Lightly oil and flour muffin tins – I do like the convenience of Baker’s Joy.
  2. Fill muffin tins 1/2 way – NOT 2/3.
  3. Dab 1/2 teaspoon cream cheese filling and push down with thumb


  1. Cover with topping (as per Magnolia recipe)
  2. Add a THIN dab of butter (as per YUMDOM requirements!)
  3. Bake
Magnolia recipe estimates 18 muffins. This actual recipe yielded 24 muffins.

Then enjoy.


Then enjoy giving some to friends.

gifted muffins

Happy Thanksgiving! Have a sweet day!

# 91 Raspberry-Almond Linzer Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling

“These cookies were another big Christmastime favorite at the bakery. They require a few steps but are really not difficult to make and are quite festive.”

Excerpt From: Jennifer Appel. “The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.” iBooks.


The Magnolia cookies call for hazelnuts, but I didn’t trust the ones I had on hand, so I substituted with almond flour.

Long time no see! Well, today is not a day of regrets but of Thanksgiving. Actually, Thanksgiving IS just around the corner, but I was thinking about these cookies. They turned out to raves among my colleagues. So, we were all thankful for that.

OK. As happens so often these days, I made some detours in the recipe of the cookbook – but not too much.

Detour #1 : As stated in the caption to the photo above, I replaced crushed hazelnuts with almond powder/flour. I think the hazelnuts were well past their best days. They didn’t smell right. I had TONS of almond flour and sliced almonds on hand so I went with them. As it turns out, the almonds may be the more traditional ingredient. (I’ll need to research that more thoroughly. Or if you know about this, leave me a note.)

Detour #2: Raspberry things. Firstly, I used raspberry jam WITH seeds, not seedless. I am a fan of St. Dalfour all natural jams. Sooooo…  Then I added a fresh raspberry in the well in the middle of the cookie. Cool! Wouldn’t you agree?

10544011_0_640x640  and    dreamstime_10126186

Detour #3: This was the “I hadn’t seen this done before” part. I made up one batch of Magnolia’s cream cheese filling (leaving out the egg), and spread a layer of that on the cookie before adding the raspberry jam. It went like this (see photos below):





We had a sweet day. I hope you did too.

Merry Christmas !! #51, Hello Dolly Bars and #52 Peanut Butter Heath Bar Blondies

#51 Hello Dolly Bars? From Maria Howard of Peculiar, Missouri. You just dump all the ingredients in a bowl and mix.

#52 “Allysa developed this variation on the traditional blondie. If you’re a peanut butter lover, you’ll be crazy about these!”

Clockwise from the top: Peanut Butter Heath Bar Blondies, Hello Dolly Bars, Fudge with Texas Pecans, Orange Cranberry Bread

Chezbonneau is in Texas for the Christmas and New Years holiday celebration, spending lots of wonderful time with the family. Although this is a time of year for lots of baking, M. le Patissier is not in his own kitchen, and certainly not in a normal routine. That said, some fun progress has been made – and enjoyed!

The plate of goodies above were the last pieces of the Chezbonneau contribution to the family Christmas Eve gathering. The Peanut Butter Heath Bar Blondies had to wait for a trip to the US of A since I have been unable to find Heath Bars in Qatar. I’ll be bringing a small bag of those toffee goodies back with me for a repeat. Of the four pictured sweets, these blondies were the biggest hit.

DETOUR: Very slight detour. When it came time to make the blondies, I didn’t have any peanuts, but I did have crunchy (instead of smooth) peanut butter – best substitute possible if you need one. The crunch peanut butter just added a flavor and texture punch from down below.

The Hello Dolly Bars tasted wonderful but didn’t “look” as inviting as the blondies. I know that I can improve on these – details below.

EMBARRASSING GOOF: When it came time to bake the Hello Dolly Bars, I couldn’t get to the recipe. I am in a place with Internet access that is virtually nil, and I was relying for the online cookbook. Well………. (here it comes), I left out the butter from the batter. I CONFESS – I was sure there needed to be butter in that batter, but not REALLY sure, even though I couldn’t believe..blah, blah, blah. I had jotted down “butter” in an earlier “connected moment” but didn’t write quantity or “how” it needed to be added. I didn’t believe it would work without butter (melted; into the mix), but I forged ahead without it. It ALMOST worked, and here’s how/why —————

I added extra condensed milk on top – a sort of “trickle down economics” approach to needed moisture. I won’t know what the Hello Dolly Bars “should” have looked and tasted like until I do them again – with the butter. But the result of these bars was “pretty darn good”, a favorite of some that Christmas Eve day. The only disconcerting element was the very bottom of the graham cracker bar. It remained dry, as with a dusting of cracker crumbs. But hey! They’re all gone!