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Mardi Gras Recipes: Desserts

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New Orleans King Cake

For the cake:
1 package active dry yeast
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2/3 cup warm milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons softened butter
1 egg, beaten
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 pecan half, bean or trinket
For the frosting:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Colored sprinkles
For the cake: In a small bowl, mix the yeast and sugar with 1/2 cup of warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
in the bowl of a food processor or
electric mixer, combine yeast and sugar mixture with the warm milk, salt, cinnamon, butter, egg and 1 cup of flour. Mix for 4 to 5 minutes or until it looks pale and stretchy. Cover with plastic and set in a warm spot for 1 hour.
Stir the dough and beat in the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until it can be handled but is elastic. Knead or mix for 5 minutes. Hide the trinket in it. Cover again and let rise until doubled in bulk. Divide the dough in thirds and make each piece into a 24-inch snake. Braid them together, then form into an oval ring and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk - about 45 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F, and bake the cake for 20 minutes or until it sounds hollow when rapped. Cool it completely.
For the frosting: Mix the lemon juice and vanilla in a bowl. Sift in the confectioners' sugar a little at a time, stirring to make a smooth mixture. When it is a thick pouring consistency, drizzle it over the cake. Decorate with colored sprinkles or sugar. Serves 10 to 12.


Pecan Pralines recipe

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups whole pecans
Butter, to grease cookie sheet
Place sugars, water and cream in a heavy, medium-size saucepan over moderate heat. Stir often and, using a candy thermometer,
cook to soft ball stage (between 234 degrees F and 240 degrees F), about 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and beat mixture with an
electric mixer in the pot on low setting until creamy, 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in all the pecans to coat evenly.
Using a tablespoon, drop large spoonsful of praline mixture onto a buttered sheet pan to cool.  Makes 18 to 20 pralines.

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