The Hand of God

Preparing bowknot pastries for a bridal shower, a baker sees a sign from God she just can't ignore!

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Posted in , Mar 10, 2015

Guideposts: A Bowknot pastry miracle, rolling dough

A question for all you chefs out there–have you ever experienced a cooking-related miracle?

That’s what happened to today’s guest blogger and lifelong baker, Jane Chapman of Murray, Kentucky. She was baking one of her famous “bowknot” pastries for a church bridal shower when she saw something peculiar. A sign from God she just couldn’t ignore.  

Here’s her sweet story…

I walked into my kitchen early one Saturday morning, greeted by the aroma of cinnamon and sugar. That could only mean one thing–my bowknots were almost ready!

My “bowknot” recipe was kind of famous. A scrumptious pastry ring that had delighted family and friends ever since I’d dreamed up the dish back in my 20s, a sweet twist on my mother’s biscuit recipe.

The dessert was so popular that everyone at my church knew about it too. In fact, I’d been asked to prepare two trays of bowknots for a bridal shower taking place at church later that day. Hence the early morning baking.

When I’d prepared the bowknot dough the night before, I’d asked God to bless my baking and the couple getting married. “Place Your hand on these bowknots and their marriage too,” I prayed. What a sweet young couple. I could hardly wait to see their faces when they took their first bite of bowknots at the shower.

While the bowknots were finishing up in the oven, I mixed the ingredients for the icing. I placed a saucer under the mixer beaters to catch any excess icing. Then I pulled the bowknots out of the oven and transferred them over to the counter to be iced.

When I lifted the beaters again, I gasped. There was something left behind on the saucer where the icing had dripped–the shape of a hand! A sign that let me know my little prayer had been heard loud and clear.

Every last bite of the bowknots was devoured at the bridal shower. And the young couple? I knew for sure that God had his hand over their marriage.

Want to try your hand at Jane’s famous bowknots? Take a look at her recipe below: 

Jane’s Bowknots Recipe:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package dry yeast (not rapid rise)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 cups whole buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • Icing: 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 2 tbsp. melted butter, 2 tbsp. milk

Dough Instructions:

  • Stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
  • Cut in shortening (using pastry blender) until marble size.
  • In separate bowl, dissolve yeast in hot water and stir in buttermilk.
  • Pour buttermilk and yeast mixture into dry ingredients and stir until completely combined.
  • Cover well and refrigerate overnight.  (Dough can be refrigerated for approximately 2 days.)

Baking Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400° and use non-stick spray to grease round pizza pan.
  • Prepare surface or working area with flour.
  • Form 1/3 to 1/2 of dough mixture (about the size of a small cantaloupe) in floured hands and pat out on prepared surface into a 20 x 5 x 1/2 inch (approximately) rectangular shape. Make sure all sides are floured and evenly shaped.
  • Liberally brush melted butter (approximately 3 to 4 tbsp.), as well as sugar (about 1 cup), and sprinkle cinnamon to cover the dough.
  • Fold dough in half lengthwise, making it into a more narrow rectangular shape (be careful not to let the cinnamon and sugar come out).
  • Carefully lift the dough and arrange onto the greased pizza pan in a ring or wreath shape (connect the 2 ends by pressing dough together).
  • Use scissors and cut dough in 1 to 1 1/2 inch strips all the way around, being careful to only cut to approximately 1 inch to the center of the dough ring.
  • Twist each strip 3 times and tuck end under, all around ring.
  • Bake approximately 11 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden.
  • Allow to completely cool on pan. Use a spatula to carefully slide it onto a large serving platter.
  • Make icing by combining confectioners’ sugar, melted butter and milk in mixer. Mix until creamy. Drizzle over cooled bowknots.
  • Allow to set. Serve for all to enjoy!

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