In Western Christian tradition, Epiphany (also known as “Three Kings Day”) celebrates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. From the 19th century onwards, the tradition of the King cake has been associated with the Epiphany (“appearance” in Greek).

The mardi gras cookies also known as three kings cake take its name from the Biblical Magi, also referred to as the three kings: Melchior, Balthazar, and Gaspard, who came to Jesus to offer him gifts, twelve days after his birth. The Eve of Epiphany is known as Twelfth Night, which is the last day of the Christmas season, and Epiphany Day itself commences the Epiphany season.

The origin of the cake tradition seems to be related to the Roman Saturnalia. These were festivals dedicated to the god Saturn so that the Roman people, in general, could celebrate the longer days that began to come after the winter solstice.

In the Middle Ages, it was said that the king who was chosen had to pay the assembly a general round of drinks. To prevent cheating, the edible bean was replaced by a porcelain bean. Later, Spanish and French settlers brought it to America.

It often includes a figurine, and it is believed that the individual who discovers it will have good fortune. In some regions, the three kings cake is consumed throughout Epiphany tide until the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday.

In today’s article, we will learn how to use a top-notch recipe to make an epic Mardi Gras cookies which the people in New Orleans commonly call king cake. So grab your culinary set, and let’s bake away.

 

Mardi Gras Cookies

Mardi Gras Cookies - Healthsoothe

A king cake is a type of cake that’s associated with Mardi Gras, New Orleans, and parts of the Gulf Coast. It’s a ring-shaped pastry that’s usually covered in icing, then topped with yellow and purple edible glitter or sprinkles.

The cake traditionally contains a porcelain or plastic baby that is supposed to bring good luck to whoever winds up with it in their slice.

King cake is a New Orleans tradition that involves a pastry, a tiny plastic baby, and a party! The cake is baked with a tiny plastic baby hidden inside; whoever gets the slice with the baby in it has to host the next party.

Make sure to buy a new tiny plastic baby so you can get the full effect from this cake! Sprinkle with purple, green, and gold sugar, or decorate with whole pecans and candied cherries.

Nutritional Information of Mardi Gras Cookies Per Serving

  • Calories: 170cal
  • Total Fat: 13g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 47mg
  • Sodium: 301mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 69g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2g
  • Total Sugars: 31g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Vitamin C: 0mg
  • Calcium: 53mg
  • Iron: 3mg
  • Potassium: 175mg

 

Mardi Gras Cookies Recipe

  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Additional Time: 3 hrs
  • Total Time: 4hrs, 15mins
  • Servings: 16
  • Yield: 2 cakes

Equipments & Kitchen Utensils Used: Baking or cookie sheet, wire rack, whisk, damp cloth or plastic wrap, medium pot & bowls (large and medium), oven, scissors, freezer, timer, measuring cup, spatula, and cake plate.

Ingredients

Pastry:

  • 1 cup of milk
  • ¼ cup of butter
  • ⅔ cup of warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • ½ cup white sugar, divided
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages of active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5½ cups of all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1 cup of packed brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup of chopped pecans
  • ½ cup of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup of melted butter

Glaze:

  • 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 plastic baby doll

 

How to Make Mardi Gras Cookies

You’ll find the step-by-step recipe below in this article, but here are the instructions also along with illustrative images of what you can expect:

Making the dough

Many people always get very intimidated working with yeast especially if it’s their first time, but I promise this is really easy!

First, you want to mix up the ingredients for the dough and need it. I think it’s easiest to use the dough hook attachment on the stand mixer, but you could do this by hand.

Make King Cake: Making the dough - HealthsootheThe dough is ready when it is soft and very elastic and nothing should stick to the sides of the bowl.

Set the dough aside in a lightly greased bowl for about an hour.

 

Allowing the dough to rest

This is one of the most important steps that cannot be skipped when making this cake. It’s important for the yeast to have time to work its magic and take time to rise. If you skip the steps that allow the dough to rest, you won’t have a soft and fluffy cake which is imperative to make this an authentic king cake recipe

After some rest time in the bowl, the dough should have doubled in size.

The key to achieving great results is finding a warm spot for it to rest. This can be more difficult in the winter.

The trick to ensuring the dough rises properly is to stick the bowl of dough in the oven with the light turned on. Do not turn the oven on.

The reason for this is that the oven is a completely sealed area where no cold air can get in. By turning on the light, the warmth from the oven light is enough to help the dough rise.

The ideal environment for yeast to grow and develop is 75°F to 78°F.

Since the dough had time to rest, it should double in size. You can see HOW MUCH the dough filled out the bowl here.

making King Cake: Allowing the dough to rest - Healthsoothe

Shaping the dough

Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into two halves.

Roll each ball of dough into a large rectangle and spread the softened butter onto the surface.

making king cake: Shaping the dough - HealthsootheFollow with a heavy sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar.

making king cake: Shaping the dough - HealthsootheRoll up the dough, like you’re making cinnamon rolls.

making king cake: Shaping the dough - HealthsootheBe sure to pinch the seam of the dough so it stays together.

making king cake: Shaping the dough - HealthsootheTake the two logs (seam side down) and twist them together to form a ring. You can do this by laying one log down straight, on your surface and then gently laying over the other log, then the other to “twist” them together.

making king cake: Shaping the dough - HealthsootheDo your best to secure the two ends together, it doesn’t have to be perfect!!

making king cake: Shaping the dough - HealthsootheThe dough ring should rise again for another 20 minutes before baking and you should notice some difference in size.

making king cake: Shaping the dough - Healthsoothe 

Decorating Your King Cake for Mardi Gras Cookies

The icing on this cake is so good! You can use either butter or cream cheese but I highly recommend using cream cheese. That little bit of tang goes so well with the cake.

Another great thing about this icing is that it’s on the thicker side.

The icing will drip down the sides to cover any imperfections, and that explosion of color will distract anyone from noticing places where the seams of the dough didn’t meet perfectly.

making king cake: Decoratig your King cake for Mardi Gras - HealthsootheAs mentioned, purple, green, and yellow are the most traditional colors for Mardi Gras cookies.

After adding the glaze, you can alternate the colored sprinkles all around the top of the cake.

To make this cake a bit fancier, you can buy some premium sprinkles that had different shapes and styles and add those as well

making king cake: Decoratig your King cake for Mardi Gras - HealthsootheOh, and if you’re wondering what those colors represent! Purple is for justice, green is for faith, and gold represents power!

making king cake: Decoratig your King cake for Mardi Gras - Healthsoothe

Recipe Notes

  • This recipe originally made 2 cakes, but upon updating it, you can halve it, but as per feedback from bakers, you can keep the amount of filling the same which makes this cake even better.
  • If you want to make 2 cakes, simply double the ingredient amounts!
  • This cake is best served the same day it was prepared but will store for 2-3 days at room temp. The color of the sprinkles may bleed into the icing over time.
  • Be sure to tell everyone to inspect their piece of cake before they begin eating it or use a plastic toy baby that is too large to swallow.
  • You can also hide an orange wedge (or three to four pecan halves) inside the cake to avoid items that may hurt someone’s teeth.
  • Place the toy baby on top of the cake for all to see and adore!

 

What Does The Baby Inside The King Cake (Mardi Gras Cookies) Mean?

Hidden in its interior, or under a slice, is a small plastic baby. Whoever finds it must either bring the next cake or throw a party, thus sparking an unending round of food and fun.

Whether at the workplace, school, or home – king cake is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the Mardi Gras Cookies season.

 

How to Store King Cake (Mardi Gras Cookies)

Store your leftover mardi gras cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for two to three days.

 

Can You Freeze Mardi Gras Cookies?

Yes, you can freeze the unfrosted mardi gras cookies. Wrap each slice individually in storage wrap, then follow it up with at least one layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to three months.

 

Mardi Gras Cookies – A Famous Dessert that is Surprisingly Easy to Make at Home

“This is a great recipe, a family favorite,” says Lisa Kotyko. “The only modification I make is to double the filling recipe. Can’t have too many pecans. Scrumptious.”

“I have been making this recipe for a while,” according to Erin Reeves Denk. “It is easy and delicious! And I am from Louisiana and it tastes like home.”

“Easy recipe with the helpful video that I really appreciated,” raves Maddie Lynn. “I subbed pistachios for the pecans and dried cranberries for the raisins. The finished pastry was much like a coffee cake, light and tasty. I’ll make it again.”

Let the good times roll with this authentic king cake recipe! The famous Mardi Gras Cookies is surprisingly easy to make at home.

Print

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making king cake: Decoratig your King cake for Mardi Gras - Healthsoothe

Make the pastry

  • Scald milk over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
  • Stir together warm water, 1 tablespoon of white sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Add cooled milk mixture to yeast mixture and whisk in eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Beat flour, 1 cup at a time, into milk/egg mixture. Once the dough comes together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl; turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide the dough in half.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees C). Grease two cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.

Make the filling

  • Combine brown sugar, pecans, flour, raisins, and cinnamon in a bowl. Pour melted butter on top and mix until crumbly.
  • Roll each piece of dough into a 10×16-inch rectangle. Sprinkle filling evenly over the dough and roll up tightly like a jellyroll, beginning at a wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval-shaped rings
  • Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors, make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1-inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Check often for doneness so the ring doesn’t overbake.

Make the glaze

  • Stir together confectioners’ sugar and water in a bowl until smooth.
  • Push the doll into the bottom of one warm cake. Drizzle glaze over both warm cakes.

 

YouTube video

Notes

  • This recipe originally made 2 cakes, but upon updating it, you can halve it, but as per feedback from bakers, you can keep the amount of filling the same which makes this cake even better.
  • If you want to make 2 cakes, simply double the ingredient amounts!
  • This cake is best served the same day it was prepared but will store for 2-3 days at room temp. The color of the sprinkles may bleed into the icing over time.
  • Be sure to tell everyone to inspect their piece of cake before they begin eating it or use a plastic toy baby that is too large to swallow.
  • You can also hide an orange wedge (or three to four pecan halves) inside the cake to avoid items that may hurt someone’s teeth.
  • Place the toy baby on top of the cake for all to see and adore!
  • Author: Odudu Abasi Mkpong
  • Prep Time: 45mins
  • Cook Time: 30mins
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 170cal
  • Sugar: 31g
  • Sodium: 301mg
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 69g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 47mg

Keywords: mardi gras cookies

Frequently Asked Questions Related to King Cake

New Orleans is filled with several bakeries, sweet shops, and restaurants eager to begin sharing this sweet seasonal treat. Enjoy customized, traditional, and unique king cakes from across the city.

You can also check online to see a list of bakeries in your area or close to you that offer king cakes, or browse through lists of some of the available favorite king cake spots online.

 

Yes! You can definitely start a tradition of making your own king cakes at home with your loved ones.

Check out Sucre’s award-winning king cake recipe for inspiration this Mardi Gras season. Voted “A Favorite” by the Times-Picayune King Cake Contest and “BEST” King Cake by a Washington Post blind taste test.

Sucre’s signature buttery danish pastry is sweetened with cinnamon and raw cane sugar and then folded with a light layer of creole cream cheese.

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