King Cake Recipe

Louisiana King Cake Recipe

Yesterday officially began the Mardi Gras season!!  To celebrate, I’m sharing my favorite King Cake recipe.  I think I adapted it from All Recipes or something but the results are delicious and taste exactly like a bakery-made King Cake us Louisiana kids grew up having every Friday during Mardi Gras season!  My king cake is pictured below.  I make 2 small rings (one to keep at home, one to take to work!) but if you have room to roll out the dough you could make one big ring!  Oh, and don’t be afraid of using dry active yeast, it’s actually really easy.  Enjoy!

Note: I just added Weight Watchers Points Plus values at the bottom!  I assume you are using 2% milk and real, unsalted butter.  P.S. be sure to read all the instructions before you start so you know what you can be working on while you are waiting on ingredients to be ready!

king cake

Ingredients

PASTRY:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

FILLING:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans (crushed finely)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

FROSTING:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Purple, Green and Yellow sanding sugar (or any sprinkles you like!)

Directions

  1. Heat milk in a sauce pan until just before boiling, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Stir in lemon zest.  Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down dough and divide in half.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  5. To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, crushed pecans, and 1/2 cup flour. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
  6. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10×16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the 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 into the top of the dough ring 1/3 of the way through at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size again, about 45 minutes.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Let cool until just slightly warm.  Frost while slightly warm with the confectioners’ sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.  Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles!

Recipe makes 2 cakes (the picture above is about half of one cake).  Assuming you cut each cake into 10 slices (20 slices total), each slice is 8 Points Plus.

Our Thanksgiving Menu

Happy Thanksgiving from the Chachalacas in South Texas!

I do not consider myself being anything close to a cook. I don’t have that natural feeling for how things work in the kitchen. I survived undergrad because my best friend and roommate Ashley was (and still is) an amazing cook. Her parents make the best food in the world. I survived grad school on fast food and frozen entrees. But now that I’m all married and adult-ish I’ve been trying to learn from my husband and try new things. And one thing I’ve learned is that I can follow directions if they are explicit! So I’ve put together our Thanksgiving menu and recipes in case you are like me and need fool-proof instructions. I think life is too short NOT to share recipes. Why wouldn’t you want someone else to enjoy a delicious meal? Have a good Thanksgiving and hopefully you won’t be ordering pizza because you burned everything!

On the Menu:
Brown Bag Turkey
Turkey Gravy
Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Honey-baked Ham
Crescent Rolls
Salad with homemade dressing and crispies
Pumpkin Pie
Lemon Icebox Pie
Wine

RECIPES

Brown Bag Turkey (adapted from Kidd Kraddick’s recipe)
Ingredients
18-20lb Whole Turkey
Celery Stalks, roughly copped
Carrot, roughly chopped
1 Onion, peeled and quartered
3-4 Cloves crushed Garlic (we used the minced garlic in a jar)
Olive Oil

Directions- Thawing Frozen Turkey
Refrigerator Note: place still-wrapped frozen turkey on rimmed baking sheet to catch juices
Cool Water Note: Place still-wrapped frozen turkey in a sink of cool water and change water every 1-2 hours.

10-14 pounds: Refrigerator- 2-3 days; Cool Water- 5-8 hours
14-18 pounds: Refrigerator- 3-4 days; Cool Water- 8-10 hours
18-22 pounds: Refrigerator- 4-5 days; Cool Water- 10-12 hours

Directions- Cooking Turkey
Pre-heat oven to 375F.

Take turkey bits (organs, giblets, etc) out of the turkey cavity and save for gravy. Add celery, carrot, onion and garlic to turkey cavity (they will be thrown away at the end of cooking).

Put turkey in roasting pan and rub all over with olive oil. DO NOT USE BUTTER OR SALT which will dry out the turkey. The brown bag turkey recipe does not require basting as long as all you use is olive oil.

Cover the entire turkey and roasting pan with 2 brown paper bags on each end. Staple the bags to each other to seal the turkey shut. Sprinkle/rub the whole bag with water.  Why a brown paper bag?  It seals in moisture but allows heat to circulate.  Don’t use those Reynold’s cooking bags- they will STEAM your turkey, you want it BAKED.  Seriously, this brown bag turkey comes out amazing and moist.

Put bagged turkey in the oven making sure there is no way for the paper to touch the heating elements!! The paper will not catch on fire as long as it doesn’t touch the heating element and the temperature does not reach 451F (the temperature at which paper burns).

Roast for 13-15 minutes PER POUND.  Set it and forget it, no need to baste!  Turkey is done when internal temperature reaches between 163-170 degrees (poke a thermometer right through the bag but don’t let it touch bone inside).  When the turkey is finished cooking, remove it CAREFULLY from the oven (the roasting pan will be full of hot juices).  Cut bag off of turkey.  Remove and dispose of the veggies from inside the cavity.

Turkey Gravy (Adapted from Ashley’s Mom’s Recipe)
Ingredients
Saved turkey bits- neck, gibblets, etc
Chicken Broth
Beer
Water
Salt and Pepper
Worcestershire suace
Bay leaves
Leftovers from veggies- onion skins, chopped carrots, celery bottoms
5 cans gravy

Directions
In a large stock pot fill up with about 5 cups of liquid (including the chicken broth, beer, and water).  Add turkey bits.  Season with salt, pepper, Worcestershire, skin of onions, carrots, celery bottoms, and bay leaves.  Cook 45 minutes-1 hour.

Drain in colander: SAVE LIQUID, DISCARD VEGGIES.  Return liquid to stock pot.

Add cans of gravy, one at a time until desired thickness.  Cook down on low while turkey cooks.  Add a little salt and pepper before serving if desired.

Stove-Top Stuffing (on the side)
From the box! Found on the soup isle of my grocery store.  I personally don’t like stuffing but D loves it so we just do it on the side instead of in the turkey.

Mashed Potatoes (adapted from Ashley’s mom’s recipe)
Ingredients
10 medium/small Potatoes
1 cup Half-and-Half
½ stick Butter
Salt and Pepper

Directions
Rinse and peel potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks.

Place in large pot with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and cold water, enough to cover.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, 20-25 minutes.  Drain and return potatoes to the pot to keep them warm.

Add butter and ½ cup half-and-half to pot.  Mash with potato masher.  Mix in remaining half-and-half slowly until desired texture is reached.  Add salt and pepper.  If heating, use medium/low heat.  High heat will cause runniness and ruin creaminess.

Honey-Baked Ham
Ordered by my mom from the greatest place ever- Honeybaked!

Crescent Rolls
Pillsbury, refrigerated canned rolls, yum!

Cathy’s Homemade Salad Dressing
Ingredients
1 cup Vegetable Oil (not good for you but tastes amazing; you could replace with heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil)
½ cup Vinegar
1 cup Sugar (can replace with Splenda)
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce

Directions
Combine everything.  Refridgerate and shake well before using.

Cathy’s Homemade Salad Crispies
Ingredients (portions aren’t exact, use what you like)
1 pack raw Ramen Noodles, crushed (don’t use the seasoning)
Bag of slivered Almonds
Bag of Sunflower Seeds
4 Tbsp butter

Directions
Combine all in a fry pan and cook until crispy!

Pumpkin Pies
Follow the recipe on the can of Pumpkin Pie Filling (on the soup isle at my grocery store)- One can makes 2 pies, frozen pie crusts come in two’s!

Lemon Icebox Pie (Adapted from Ashley’s mom’s recipe)
Crust Ingredients
1 ¾ cup crushed Graham Crackers
3 TBSP sugar
6 TBSP melted butter
Egg White to brush

Crust Directions
Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix all ingredients except egg white and press into a pie pan. Brush the crust gently with egg white.

Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown. Let cool completely.

Filling Ingredients
2 cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/3 cup real Lemon Juice
¼ tsp Almond Extract

Filling Directions
Mix all ingredients and pour into cooled Crust. Let let in the refrigerator. Top with whipped cream or Cool Whip.

Sweet Red and Riesling Wines (I know, you’re supposed to have white wine with poultry, but these are too yummy!)