Mardi Gras celebrations will look a little different this year in the City of New Orleans. Parades have been cancelled and people won’t be dancing in the streets, but that doesn’t mean that the holiday fun has to stop in 2021. If there ever was a time to celebrate Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday from the comfort of your own home, it’s this year.
While Mardi Gras officially takes place on Tuesday, February 16th (the day before Ash Wednesday), Mardi Gras festivities usually start a month in advance in New Orleans. So, turn on this Mardi Gras playlist, decorate your house in the colors of Mardi Gras – purple for justice, gold for power, and green for faith, and start baking these five Mardi Gras themed desserts that will make your party that much sweeter. After all, just because you won’t be celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year, who says you can’t bring the spirit of the Big Easy home to you? Now, get those beads ready, pump up the jams, and let’s get this baking party started.
Mardi Gras King Cake
This Mardi Gras King Cake recipe makes it possible to enjoy this Mardi Gras staple without having to eat a lot of extra sugar and carbs. The tradition of the king cake dates back to 1870 when it was brought to New Orleans from France. The cake is supposed to represent the crown of the three Wise Men, and a plastic baby is hidden inside the cake to represent baby Jesus. The person who finds the baby in their piece of cake is supposed to host the party the next year. So, there’s a lot on the line when it comes to eating this oval shaped dessert during Mardi Gras.
To make this classic Mardi Gras favorite, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease a Bundt pan. Then separate 5 large eggs into 2 large bowls. Add ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Then set them aside. After that, add 3 tablespoons of melted butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 4 ounces of softened cream cheese, and 2 tablespoons of erythritol to the egg yolks. Mix until well combined and then add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, two teaspoons of baking powder, and 1 cup of almond flour, stirring until everything is mixed well. Fold the egg whites into the almond flour mixture and mix until you have a uniform batter. Then in a small bowl, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of melted butter, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and ¼ cup of erythritol.
Pour half of the batter in the prepared pan, and evenly top it with the cinnamon/butter/erythritol mixture. Then add the remaining batter, while making sure that the batter has been spread to the edges of the pan, covering the cinnamon mixture. Use a butter knife to make swirls in the bread, and if you’re going to hide a baby in the cake now is the time to do so. Just pick the spot and push the baby down into the batter until it’s covered. Then bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it’s golden on top.
While your cake is baking, you can prepare the icing by combing 2 tablespoons of softened butter, 1 ounce of softened cream cheese, 2 to 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream, 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ erythritol, and a ½ teaspoon of vanilla into a bowl. Then whisk until it’s smooth and uniform. To make the purple, gold, and green colored sugar for the decoration, place 2 teaspoons of erythritol into 3 separate bowls and mix each bowl with 2 drops of food coloring, using 1 drop of blue and 1 drop of red to make the purple color.
Allow the cake to cool before removing it from the pan. Then you can top it with the frosting and sprinkle on the colored sugar. This recipe makes 12 servings with 199 calories per serving. Before serving the cake to your guests, make sure to tell everyone at the party to check their pieces for the plastic baby before they bite into it. And then let whoever has the baby in their piece know that you’re coming over their house to celebrate Mardi Gras next year.
Beignets, which are French for ‘fritters,’ are often associated with Mardi Gras. So, of course, you’ll want to make them for your Mardi Gras party this year. Rather than deep-frying the Beignets, which is the custom in New Orleans, we chose this Oven-Baked Beignets recipe for you since it’ll help you save both calories and time. This recipe will take 1 hour and 10 minutes to make, yields 12 servings, and comes in at 260 calories per serving.
Place ¼ cup of warm water (around 105 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit) in a small bowl, and then sprinkle with yeast and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar. Stir and let stand until foamy, which will take about 5 minutes. Then in a large bowl, stir 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1½ teaspoons of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of baking soda, ½ teaspoon of salt, and granulated sugar until combined. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives used scissors-fashion, cut in 4 tablespoons of cold butter or margarine until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. With a fork, stir ¾ of a cup of buttermilk and one large egg into the yeast mixture until it’s blended. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture, and then pour in the yeast mixture. Stir until combined, and soft dough forms.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough several times until it’s smooth. Then spray the same bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl and let it stand for 10 minutes. As you’re waiting, spray 2 large cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Punch down the dough, and then on a floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 9-inch square. Cut the dough into 6 strips, and then cut each strip into 6 pieces – making 36 (1½ inch) square pieces. Move the Beignets to the prepared cookie sheets, placing them about 1½-inches apart. Then spray a sheet of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray and cover the Beignets with the wrap, sprayed side down. Let the Beignets rise for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the Beignets for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they’re golden brown, rotating the sheets between the upper and lower racks halfway through baking. While the Beignets are hot, toss them with confectioners’ sugar. You can also make a Café au Lait Dip, which you can serve with the warm Beignets.
Churro Banana Bites
This Churro Banana Bites recipe is the perfect option for those of you who want to be healthy, but also love donuts. This quick and easy recipe requires five minutes of prep and takes 15 minutes total.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, and whisk together until evenly combined. Then heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add in 2 bananas, which you’ll slice in ½-inch coins, and cook for about 1 minute, or until the bananas start to caramelize. Sprinkle about half of the cinnamon-sugar over the banana rounds. Then flip the rounds and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar, and cook for about another minute. When it’s time to serve the churro bites, have some toothpicks nearby so you and your loved ones can dunk them in melted chocolate.
Healthy Pecan Pie
While pecan pie is delicious and perfect for your Mardi Gras celebration, it’s unfortunately not the healthiest dessert option out there. That’s why this Healthy Pecan Pie recipe is the perfect choice since it substitutes some of the unhealthy ingredients, while not sacrificing any taste. This recipe will take 45 minutes to make with 10 minutes of prep time and 35 minutes of cooking time.
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then in a large bowl, combine ½ cup of raw honey, 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, 3 eggs, ½ teaspoon of fresh orange zest, 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt, 1 tablespoon of unsweetened almond milk, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, and 3 tablespoons of whole wheat pastry flour. Stir to combine, and then arrange 2 cups of raw pecans into a 9-inch pie crust. Pour the liquid filling mixture over the pecans, and spread with a spoon if you need to. Place the pie into the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 20-25 minutes. The pie will rise in the oven, and you’ll know it’s done when it has small cracks in the top. When it’s ready, remove the pecan pie from the oven and allow it to cool.
Healthier Bread Pudding
Sometimes you don’t necessarily want to eat completely healthy, you just want to eat a little healthier. That’s exactly what this Healthier Bread Pudding recipe accomplishes. This recipe will take 1 hour and 15 minutes all in, with 30 minutes of prep time and 45 minutes of cooking time. It will yield 12 servings with 157 calories per serving.
The ingredients you’ll need for this Healthier Bread Pudding are 6 slices of day-old whole wheat bread, 1 large apple (peeled and chopped), 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 4 eggs (beaten), 2 cups of low-fat milk, ½ cup of white sugar, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. You can also use a ½ cup of raisins if you like the taste of them.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then break your whole wheat bread slices into small pieces, which you’ll place into an 8-inch square baking dish. Mix in the raisins (if you want) and then the apple. Then drizzle with melted butter. Combine the eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat until well mixed. Then pour over the bread and lightly push down with a fork until the bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.
Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Then place the bread pudding baking dish into a large roasting pan. Very carefully, pour the boiling water around the pan. Then bake in the preheated oven until a knife inserted into the middle of the pudding comes out mostly clean. This will usually take about 45 minutes. Now that you’re finished baking, it’s time to enjoy your delicious Mardi Gras desserts and celebrate with those nearest and dearest to you.