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Chef's Ware: Roscón de Reyes (Ring of the Kings)

A Brief History Roscón de Reyes:

Traditionally eaten on January 6 for the Epiphany or the "Day of the Three Wisemen", the roscón de reyes (Ring of the Kings) in Spain or rosca de reyes in Latin America is a bread, or Rosca, containing a little plastic figurine (about an inch long) representing the baby Jesus.

Roscón de Reyes is similar to King Cake served in Louisiana which also contains a figurine and is colored in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, yellow, and purple. The colors, purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power) are meant to symbolize the three kings. Roscón de Reyes is baked an oval shape to symbolize a crown and decorated with dried and candied fruits such as figs or cherries to symbolize the many jewels found within a King’s crown.

Originally a fava bean was placed in the cake to symbolize the baby Jesus. Today a figurine of the baby Jesus is placed inside and the person who receives the piece with the figurine is blessed and traditionally takes the figurine to church on February 2 for Candlemas Day. This person is also expected to host a dinner on Candlemas Day serving traditional Christmas foods to their guests to share in their luck and prosperity.

A similar version of Roscón de Reyes with whole cooked eggs on top of the cake is also served on Easter as rosca de Pascua)

Recipe for Roscón de Reyes (Ring of the Kings)

Serves 16

  • 12 ½” x 19” cookie sheet

  • 3 piece mixing bowl set


1/2 cup warm water

1 package active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons or 7 grams)

3 to 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided (plus 2 or 3 Tbsp. more for dusting)

2/3 cup milk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar (if you would like the mix sweeter add ¼ cup extra)

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

Freshly grated orange zest from 1 orange


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup chopped pecans or almonds

¾ cups chopped mixed candied fruits and peels, such as dried cranberries, figs, apricots, and candied

Orange peels

Powder Sugar Glaze:

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract



1 egg

Candied cherries

Candied orange peels

1 Plastic baby figurine


  1. Pour warm water into a bowl, and sprinkle with yeast

  2. Stir with a fork until the 1 package active dry yeast has dissolved

  3. Let rest until foamy

  4. Stir in ½ cup of flour

  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and then place the bowl in a warm place

  6. While the bowl rests in a warm place heat 2/3 cup milk and the 6 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan with 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon salt

  7. Cool the mixture to lukewarm

  8. Using a standing mixer combine the milk and butter mixture with 1 cup of flour, 2 eggs, Yeast mixture, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon almond extract along with the freshly grated orange zest from 1 orange

  9. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly

  10. Beat 3 minutes at high speed, at this point the dough will be sticky

  11. Stir in enough of the remaining flour by hand to make a moderately soft dough

  12. Knead dough on lightly floured surface 8 to 10 minutes or till smooth and elastic

  13. DO NOT add too much flour, the texture should be very soft and sort of wet but manageable. Too much flour will make your bread dry

  14. Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn once to grease surface

  15. Cover and let dough rise in a warm place 1 to 1 ½ hours or till double

  16. Take the dough and punch it down, then turn it out on lightly floured surface

  17. Roll the dough to a 24x12-inch rectangle


  1. Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons melted butter

  2. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  3. Toss with a ½ cup chopped pecans or almonds and ¾ cups chopped mixed candied fruits and peels (You can use dried cranberries, figs, apricots, and candied orange peels)

  4. Sprinkle over dough

  5. Starting along a long side, tightly roll up the dough

  6. Bring ends together to form a wreath

  7. Place it seam side down on a greased baking sheet

  8. Flatten slightly

  9. With a sharp knife make slashes at intervals around edge

  10. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until nearly doubled (about 30 to 40 minutes)

  11. Brush dough ring with the 1 beaten egg

  12. Preheat the oven for at least 20 minutes at 375 degrees F

  13. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown

  14. Cool completely on wire rack

Sugar Glaze

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all glaze ingredients until smooth

  2. Add enough milk for desired glaze consistency

  3. Spread over the bread and decorate with candied cherries and orange peel

After the bread has cooled insert the figurine from the bottom of the bread.


Storage: Rosca de Reyes can be stored for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

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