Golden Raisin Rosca De Reyes on a white platter sitting in the middle of a festively decorated table

MasterChef Claudia Sandoval Puts a Tasty Twist On Three Kings Day Recipes

The holiday season might be coming to a close, but not before one final celebration… Jan. 6 is El Día de los Reyes—Three Kings Day! Most commonly celebrated in Mexico and Latin America, the holiday commemorates when the Three Wise Men arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts for Baby Jesus. Today, the holiday includes everyone’s three favorite things: family time, gifts and—of course—food!

Claudia Sandoval knows a thing or two about cooking for Three Kings Day. Not only did the home cook win MasterChef Season Six, she also recently published a cookbook featuring her family’s traditional Mexican recipes.

“Our family has celebrated Three Kings Day like most Mexican families,” said Claudia. “When we were children, we would leave our shoes out for the Three Kings to leave us a present. The following morning on Jan. 6, we would awake to a small gift beside our shoe. Later that evening we would enjoy a warm, freshly baked  Rosca de Reyes (Kings Wreath), which is a bread baked with jewel-toned fruits and jellies reminiscent of the many jewels worn by the Three Kings!”

To help get us in the holiday spirit, Claudia shared three of her favorite traditional recipes—each with her own delicious twist!

Nutella Mexican Hot Chocolate

Two white and red mugs of Mexican hot chocolate sitting on a tray

“The addition of Nutella to the hot chocolate will be every kid’s—and adult’s—favorite new tradition!”

What You’ll Need:

2 cups water
1 cup Simply Balanced light brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1 star anise
5 cups whole milk
1 tablet Mexican Chocolate (such as Ibarra)
1 cup corn flour
3/4 cup Nutella
6 oz. Archer Farms Turtle Snack Bites, chopped

What You’ll Do:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring water, cinnamon stick, brown sugar, cloves and star anise to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Simmer for three minutes and remove from heat. Allow spices to steep for an additional five minutes. Discard solids.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat milk, liquid spice mixture, Mexican chocolate, 1/2 cup of Nutella and corn flour over medium-low heat.
  4. Whisk until chocolate is dissolved and liquid has thickened, approximately seven to ten minutes.
  5. Ladle into 10 mugs and let cool slightly; top with chopped turtle snack bites and serve.

Golden Raisin Rosca De Reyes 

A Golden Raisin Rosca De Reyes taken just from the oven

“This recipe lightens up the density of the traditional Rosca, and focuses on the gold that King Gaspar brought Baby Jesus. It uses golden raisins as a symbolic representation and also includes dried figs.”

 What You’ll Need:

4 cups Simply Balanced flour
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
6 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 heaping tbsp. active dry yeast
1 cup whole milk
Zest of 2 oranges
6 tbsp. grape seed oil
5 oz. golden raisins
1/4 cup Red Guyaba Paste, cut into thin strips, for garnish
1/4 cup Green Apple Paste, cut into thin strips, for garnish
1/4 cup Yellow Quince Paste, cut into thin strips, for garnish
5 oz. Market Pantry dried figs
1 jar Simply Balanced raspberry fruit spread
12 oz. Market Pantry maraschino cherries, without stems
2 Baby Jesus bake-proof figurines

Sugar Paste Ingredients:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. vegetable shortening, softened
1/2 stick unsalted butter

What You’ll Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Warm 3 oz. milk in the microwave until lukewarm. Add 2 tbsp. flour, 1 tbsp. sugar and active dry yeast. Mix until combined and let rise for 10 minutes in a warm spot, until doubled in volume.
  3. Sift remaining flour into an extra large bowl; add salt and orange zest and mix until combined.
  4. Add softened butter and gently combine. Make a well in the center and add sugar, 6 eggs and yeast mixture. Mix well until incorporated.
  5. Flour your work surface and turn dough out. Add golden raisins and knead dough until it’s soft and elastic. Sift in extra flour as needed.
  6. Grease a bowl with two tbsp. grape seed oil, place dough inside and coat dough in oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 20-30 minutes.
  7. Place dough onto a floured work surface and stretch into a 5-inch by 36-inch rectangle with hands. Spread raspberry spread horizontally along the center of the dough. Starting with the long edge furthest from you, roll the dough toward you to create a long rope. Pinch end together.
  8. Cut dough in half to create two 18-inch long dough strands for two roscas. Pinch dough ends together of each strand to create two wreath shapes.
  9. Grease two large cookie pans and the outside of a two 6-inch cake pans. Place the cake pans upside-down in the center of the cookie pans and wrap the wreaths around the pans.
  10. Cover dough with plastic wrap and place back in warm location to rest for 15 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  11. Whisk remaining egg yolk and brush the tops of the roscas.
  12. Make sugar paste: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and divide into eight equal-sized portions. Flatten and cut into rectangles; place over the roscas at even intervals. Garnish with fruit paste, halved figs and cherries.
  13. Hide the baby Jesus figurines in the dough of each cake.
  14. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until dark golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before attempting to remove to a serving dish.

Hibiscus Orange Buñuelos

Syrup being poured atop Hibiscus Apple Buñuelos resting on a white plate

“I first learned to make Buñuelos (fried sweet dough) when I was about 6 years old and have never stopped making them. This recipe was inspired by my Hibiscus Poached Pears that helped me win MasterChef!”

What You’ll Need:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for sifting
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick Market Pantry unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. Archer Farms ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
3-5 cups Market Pantry vegetable oil, for frying
Spiced syrup, for serving (recipe below)
Market Pantry powdered sugar, for dusting

What You’ll Do:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat water, sugar, 2 tbsp. butter, vanilla and cinnamon over medium-low heat until simmering; remove from heat and cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and add to cooled liquid mixture. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry and mix with hands until a clay-like dough forms.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes until soft and elastic.
  4. Shape dough into a ball and place back into a clean bowl; cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Spoon a dime-sized amount of butter in your palm and rub hands together to grease hands. Remove dough from bowl and create balls that are around two inches in diameter (should weigh around two oz.). 
  6. Once all the balls are rolled, dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour. Create a small mound of flour on one of the top corners of your work surface.
  7. Press a dough ball into the flour mound, flattening it with your four fingers (rather than the tips of your fingers). Flip it and press it into the flour again.
  8. Place the floured dough round at the center of your work surface and roll from the middle away from you, then back toward you.
  9. Flip the dough over, so that the now oval-shaped ball is horizontal instead of vertical. Repeat the rolling motion and continue to roll and flip until the dough measures 10 inches round.
  10. Cover dough rounds with clean kitchen towels and let dry for 30 minutes. Prepare your Hibiscus Orange Spiced Syrup while you wait (recipe below).
  11. In a 12-inch frying pan, add one inch of oil and heat over medium. Place each dough round carefully into oil and fry the buñuelos one at a time, using a large slotted spatula to press the dough under the oil. 
  12. Brown until golden on each side, one to two minutes. Flip and fry on opposite side for one more minute.
  13. Remove from oil to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  14. To serve: Place one buñuelo on a plate and drizzle with Hibiscus and Orange Spiced Syrup. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately!

Hibiscus and Orange Spiced Sugar Syrup

What You’ll Need:

2 cups Simply Balanced light brown sugar
2 cups dried hibiscus flowers
4 cinnamon sticks, broken into smaller pieces
10 whole cloves
1 star anise
3 cups water
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange

What You’ll Do:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until sugar has completely dissolved, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove pan from heat, strain and discard solids. 
  3. Bring back to a boil and reduce by half, approximately five to ten minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  4. Syrup can be refrigerated.

Planning a Three Kings Day celebration? Head to Target or Target.com to pick up everything you need, from food, to toys and more!

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