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…

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

What did the process look like? Hmmmm.

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  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

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

Then enjoy.

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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. https://itun.es/us/idq2G.l

RECIPE

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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?

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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):

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

Buckwheat Sablés

I mention on the “About” page of this blog, that I would be researching and experimenting with recipes that would adapt well to baking in a wood-fired oven and that a number of regions of France had something to offer to this tradition.

CLASSIC SABLÉ

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See http://www.thecookingapprentice.com

Here is the first such recipe, Sablés. Sablés are a simple, buttery shortbread type cookie famous in Brittany, the most northwestern region of France.

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BUCKWHEAT / BLÉ SARASIN

This sablé recipe, found on the Epicurious website, is not the gold standard. For that, a standard all-purpose flour would be needed. This recipe calls for buckwheat, a dark, almost black, flour that is well-known in Brittany. The flour is most often called “blé sarasin” in reference to the Moors of Spain. The flour is commonly used in Brittany in savory crêpe recipes called “galettes.” In an authentic “crêperie”, the menu would present a selection of savory main-course galettes, and then a selection of desert crêpes made with lighter flours.

THREE-FLOUR RECIPE (with small modifications)

(for fun and flavor)

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1. Whole grain Buckwheat, 2. Whole grain Oat Flour (Bob’s Red Mill), and 3. Brown Rice Flour

The recipe called for Buckwheat, Oat Flour, and White Rice Flour.

DETOUR 1: I didn’t have any white rice flour, so I substituted brown rice flour.

DETOUR 2: I added 1 tbsp of gluten protein – afraid my cookies might fall apart and having no gluten issues

DETOUR 3: The recipe called for light brown sugar. I used half light and half dark brown sugar.

PROCESS

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Got to use my food processor.
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Which I always find fun.

Made roll-up logs of the cookie dough and put them in the freezer, which I hadn’t done before.

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Great for making uniform, round cookies.

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What a wonderful cookie to this guy’s taste buds. The cookie is much more delicate than a standard sablé, but such a delightful flavor. I will do it again and would recommend you give it a try — if you think you might like Buckwheat.

STAY SWEET !

Almond Crescent Cookies, #90

“Jennifer sampled this simple and scrumptious cookie at a Christmas party. She was so delighted by it that the hostess gave her the recipe, which came from her grandmother.”

Excerpt From: Jennifer Appel. “The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/idq2G.l

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I baked these cookies a few weeks ago. These are one of a number of recipes in the Magnolia Cookbook that are most commonly baked at Christmas time. I couldn’t wait for Christmas and am glad I didn’t. The cookies are easy to make and loved by everyone.

RECIPE

Look at these ingredients! It’s one of the shortest ingredient lists of any recipe in the cookbook.

“1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup finely ground almonds
21/4 cups all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling”

Excerpt From: Jennifer Appel. “The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/idq2G.l

The batter comes together quickly and easily in a stand mixer. It probably would not be a bad idea to let the dough stiffen a little in the fridge before shaping, but Magnolia doesn’t call for that. As you can see below, my crescent moon cookies are not all uniform and lovely. It’s done by rolling a small ball of dough between your two hands, then laying it down in a crescent shape. It takes some practice, but it’s really quite fun.

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Ready for the oven.

TRUE BISCUITS / BISCOTTI / COOKIES

I was afraid of overcooking these little lunar gems, so I undercooked them a bit. My son did a taste test and said they tasted like uncooked cookie dough. OK. I was wounded a bit, but, instead of taking it personally, I did what you’re supposed to do with honest feedback – I acted on it. I put the cookies back in the oven for a few more minutes. (Some for a few too many more minutes.) This, of course, made true “biscuits” (French for cookie) of them, or as the Italians and Starbucks clients would say, “biscotti.”

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Ouchy! These were too twice baked. Had to roll them in sugar twice to right that wrong. 😉
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That’s more like it. Just starting to brown.

Anyhooo, after baking once or twice, you let them cool completely (!!) then roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Yes, roll them, DON’T sprinkle them.

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Complete cooling is necessary for two reasons: 1) the delicate cookie solidifies, 2) the cool cookie will not melt the sugar.

The perfect pick-me-up if you’re low on energy. Two small “hits”.

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Hit me!

HAVE A SWEET DAY.

Délices du jour – Celebrating the sweetness of books at ASD MS/HS Library

Charity event ! – sort of. I baked three goodies to support our school library, enticing new and old faculty alike to attend a gracious afternoon presentation on the manifold services offered by our librarians. The house of Chezbonneau loves libraries. For friends who have visited our home, it’s a little like walking into a library itself.

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FROM LEFT TO RIGHT ABOVE

  1. Trésors des Sept Nains (Treasures of the Seven Dwarfs) – Squares of light and dark brown sugar studded with dark French walnuts

  2. Roues de charrette (Wagon wheels) – Oatmeal cookies with raisins, coconut, toasted almonds

  3. Petits bananiers  (Little Banana Trees) – Small cakes of banana, coconut, and pecans
* All recipes are slight detours from those found in The Complete Magnolia Cookbook. Banana Bread with Coconut and Pecans, Walnut Brown Sugar Squares, Oatmeal Raisin Almond Cookies

M. le patissier de Chezbonneau has made all three of the above-mentioned recipes before. Each recipe was modified a bit in some small way. Each recipe called for light brown sugar. I substituted at least 1/4 cup of light brown sugar with dark brown sugar just to give the recipes a little more rustic depth. I did the same with the flour, using 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour in the mixture for the cookies and banana bread. I also altered the way the deserts were cooked for the  “Trésors des Sept Nains”. The squares should be baked in a single pan then cut afterwards. I cooked them in pan of 12 single squares. I reduced the bake time by almost 1/2 since the small squares cook through to the middle much faster. They turned out AWESOME ! – crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Franciscans – An oatmeal cookie with a dark brown twist

I have some stories to tell in the coming days about the outdoor bread oven in Chezbonneau, France, but for the moment, my story is about a cookie. The story begins with the recipe for Magnolia’s “Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chip Cookie“, but takes a detour to become something quite a bit different. The detour was purposeful.

DETOUR

  1. Remove the peanut butter chips for a simple oatmeal cookie.
  2. Replace light brown sugar with dark brown sugar.
  3. Increase the brown sugar and decrease the amount of refined white sugar.
  4. Increase the amount of cinnamon by just a bit.

FEATURED INGREDIENTS

tate-lyle-dark-brown-soft-sugar  dark brown sugar  quicker-oats

FRANCISCANS

Chezbonneau’s recipe for a dark, moist, chewy, hint-of-molasses oatmeal cookie

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

11/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup firmly packed DARK brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

21/2 cups quick-cooking oats

DIRECTIONS (as per Magnolia’s cookbook)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Stir in the oats. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Bake for 11–13 minutes. (I SUGGEST NO MORE THAN 11 minutes for a moist, chewy cookie.) Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

TECHNICAL ADVICE

I have had a hard time getting the oatmeal evenly distributed into this relatively dry batter. I decided to use the dough hook on my mixer to see if that might do the trick, and it did a great job – no over-beating, even distribution of oatmeal late in the game.

JAKE AND THE NEVER LAND PIRATES - (DISNEY JUNIOR) CAPTAIN HOOK

DELIGHTFUL

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HAVE A SWEET DAY

Tarte aux framboises 

I am back on the farm in France still putting everything in order for two months of country living and country baking. I’m not yet ready to tackle baking in the outdoor oven just yet, but the necessity of using our fresh raspberries (framboises) calls.

So, with theses beauties, I am making a raspberry tart with a cream custard filling.

I just finished the custard using the recipe found in The Complete Magnolia Cookbook. This is the second time that I’ve made it and it has turned out great.


Please check back later to see how it has all turned out. I’m headed to town for other ingredients while the custard cools.

Et voilà, here’s the finished product-

Creamy custard filling, then a layer of homemade raspberry jam, and an abundance of fresh raspberries

 

Special Selections Alert

Well we all know I didn’t make my goal of 148 recipes by the end of this school year ( Today !!!)

However, I did a good bit of baking overnight and I reached #89.

More importantly, I’ve learned a LOT LOT LOT !!! and had an enriched school year to boot.

ASD FOLLOWERS

Special alert to my dearest ASD followers on this last day of school.

AVAILABLE IN ROOM 1106 AFTER 8 AM THIS MORNING

Whatever is still available of these GOODIES following the World Languages thanksgiving breakfast:

1. #87 Chocolat Amaretto Bundt Cake with Dulce de Leche

2. #88 Lemon Layer Cake with #89 Custard Filling and Raspberries

3. Cranberry and Chocolate Chip Crumb Buns

4. Apple, Pecan, and Coconut Crumb Buns

Jill’s Apple Pie [with Walnuts or Pecans] (#72)

“This is Allysa’s friend Jill Rowe’s favorite apple pie recipe. It was the most popular dessert that she made when she owned and ran a local restaurant, The Kitchen, near Allysa’s home in upstate New York.”

Excerpt From: Jennifer Appel. “The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/idq2G.l

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RECIPE LINK

RECIPE DETOUR

I have made this pie (sort of) twice with a detour each time and lots of compliments

First: I continue to make butter-based, French style pâte brisée. It is simply the kind of pie/tart crust I want to perfect without looking right or left. That said, there are a number of tweaked pâte brisée recipes out there. I check out Julia Child’s recipe but decided against it – it uses lard of which I have none but, again, in which I am not interested. I chose a recipe on Martha Stewart’s website that is EASY and what I’m looking for.

Second: I have decided to add nuts – walnuts once, and pecans another time. This too is something I intend to stick with and even raise to the level (if I dare be so bold) of “signature” recipe – one of a few recipes I’m beginning to think of as “signature” from my oven. Of the two pies, the one with the toasted pecans in it made people go “ooh-là-là”.

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One might experiment with chunks or slices of apples plus the quantity of nuts.

So, this detour calls for at least

1 cup of roughly chopped toasted pecans mixed in to the apple/sugar mix. I may add more in the future as I am looking for a sturdy, nutty, apple mix for what I’ll call a tart.

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Beautiful but …. I need to learn how to bring the top and bottom together without the folded seam.

I didn’t get a picture of a slice of this. Below is something similar from “Sarah Cooks”.

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DAYDREAMS OF SUGAR!

HAVE A SWEET DAY.