Epiphany . . . What Does It Mean?

Jan 6th

Good Morning!  What a busy, but completely productive day, yesterday was!  The house is completely back to normal . . . which always reminds me that I’ve never gotten around to making or buying window treatments and they really need it.  Valances at least would warm the place up a bit visually.  I baked cookies to fill an order, and made 2 large loaves and 4 mini loaves of banana coconut pecan bread. Smelled pretty good in here all evening. . . actually I can still smell the lovely aroma of the goodies.  Back to work today, for a lot of us . . . though after reading a few messages from some friends there are quite a few folks back east who will be staying home due to dangerously cold conditions.  Please keep everyone affected by this extreme weather in your prayers.

Cuddle Up Day – Isn’t cuddling wonderful?  It is!  Snuggling up to someone you love is one of the best feelings in the world. Of course you don’t have to cuddle with a person. You can cuddle with a pet!  I know my dog Tibbi is always thrilled to get a snuggle from one of us.  As a matter of fact, when we walk up to her, she flops over onto her side knowing that we are going to get down on her level and give some hugs.  Every creature is entitled to snuggles of they want them!  You can cuddle up in a chair with a blanket and a good book.  You can cuddle up by the fire.  The best though is cuddling with someone special, if you can.
     

Epiphany/Twelfth Night/Three Kings Day –   The Feast of the Epiphany marks the end of the 12 Days of Christmas and is always observed on Monday, January 6th.  Epiphany, which is also known as Theophany, Three Kings Day and El Dia de los Tres Reyes, is a Christian celebration of the revelation of the birth of Jesus to the world.  This is heard most commonly in the story of the three wise men who visited the newborn Jesus with gifts, found in the Gospel of Matthew 2:1-12. We all know the story, and I discussed it at length throughout the Christmas season.  Roman Catholic and Protestant Christianity focus on the story of the Magi, but Eastern Christians – such as Greek Orthodox – celebrate the baptism of Jesus on Epiphany and consider the day to be more important than Christmas.  Traditionally Epiphany is observed by blessing the home (recalling the Magi’s visit to Jesus’ family), blessing water (especially the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized), exchanging gifts while performing “Magi plays”, to tell the story of Jesus’ childhood, and feasting, which always must include “King Cake”.  so, what is King Cake?  Well, it is a festive American bread that is a traditional part of the carnival season, and most known for Mardi Gras celebrations.  The first French settlers brought the tradition of King Cake with them when they arrived in New Orleans, and it has remained a tradition to this day.  it is baked in the shape of a circle to represent the unity of Christianity.  The bread is decorated with icing and colored sugars, which represents the three Kings who visited baby Jesus.  A small figure of the baby Jesus is placed inside the bread and the person receiving the piece of bread with the figure is the one who is responsible for making the King Cake the following year.  According to tradition, the King Cake can only be prepared between Epiphany on January 6th, when the carnival begins, until the first day of Lent.  Over time, people have made their own variations of this bread to include different fillings and toppings, but the colors are always purple, green and gold, which represent justice, faith and power, respectively.

 

King’s Cake

Brioche Dough:
1/2 cup lukewarm water, 110 to 115 degrees
2 packages dry yeast
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 C sifted flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
3 eggs
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
dime, dried bean, or miniature doll
Sugars:
green, purple, and yellow food coloring, pastes
3/4 cup granulated sugar (12 tablespoons)
Icing:
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice, strained
3 to 6 tablespoons water
2 candied cherries, halved
Soften yeast in water. Combine flour, sugar, nutmeg and salt in mixing bowl. Stir in lemon peel. Make a well in center and pour into it the yeast mixture and milk. Add eggs and egg yolks, and with a large wooden spoon gradually incorporate dry ingredients into liquid ones. Beat in butter and continue beating until dough forms ball. (Mixing of the dough can be done in a food processor.) Place ball on floured board and incorporate more flour if necessary, by sprinkling it over ball by the tablespoon. Knead until smooth and elastic. Brush inside of large bowl with 1 tablespoon softened butter. Set dough in bowl and turn it so as to butter entire surface. (At this point you can refrigerate dough overnight.) Cover bowl and set aside for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Brush a large baking sheet with remaining butter. Punch dough down on lightly floured surface. Knead, then pat and shape dough into a cylinder about 14 inches long. Place on baking sheet and form into a ring. Press bean or doll into dough so that it is hidden. Set aside again to rise. When ready to bake brush the top and sides of the ring with the egg-milk mixture. Bake King’s Cake in middle of oven at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Slide cake onto wire rack to cool.
Prepare the colored sugars by squeezing a dab of green paste into the palm of one hand. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the paste and rub your hands together to color the sugars evenly. Set aside and repeat process with green, then twice with purple and yellow. (Do not mix sugars.)
When the cake has cooled prepare the icing. Combine the confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water in a deep bowl and stir until the icing mixture is smooth. If too stiff to spread, beat in 1 teaspoonful water at a time, until desired consistency is reached. With a small metal spatula, spread the incing over the top of the cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Sprinkle the colored sugars over the icing immediately, forming a row of purple, yellow, and green strips, each about 2 inches wide, on both sides of the ring. Arrange 2 cherry halves at each end of the cake, pressing them gently into the icing.



 



This Day In History

1838 – Samuel Morse demonstrates the telegraph.

Food Celebration of the Day

National Shortbread Day – Named for its “short” (or crumbly) texture, shortbread is practically an ambassador for Scotland. Flour, butter and sugar are all you need, but feel free to add a pinch of any flavor you love.

 

 


May your Monday be amazing, productive and filled with laughter, cuddles and fun.  God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!

 

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