Break Bread on Mardi Gras Day with This Twist on King Cake

This year, New Orleans is striking up the Mardi Gras band on March 5th, and you know what that means: Lent is starting and Easter is just 40 days away. I love the colors, flavor, parades and pageantry surrounding this time of year – but I can’t get to Louisiana for Fat Tuesday this go around. That’s why I’m devoting this week’s post and next Monday’s to the signature dish on Mardi Gras Day: KING CAKE!!!!

Instead of that classic cake, I took its yummy ingredients and turned it into something perfect for sharing with family and friends. Today it’s bread and next Monday, get ready for some King Cake Cookies, Jorj style!

The Fancy Sprinkles Company was my muse.

A while back I ordered some Fancy Sprinkles made just for Mardi Gras. I put on my thinking cap on what to do with them, and came up with my own Mardi Gras Bread recipe. It’s a sweet treat you can serve at breakfast with cinnamon honey butter, for lunch with peanut butter and jam, or after dinner for a late night snack. Anytime is the perfect time for this bread.

This recipe makes two loaves – one for you and one to wrap up and give to a lucky friend. Give them a big hug and wish them a happy Mardi Gras! Spring is on the way!

 

Mardis Gras Bread

Yield 2 loaves

2 ½ hour cuisine

For Bread:

2 envelopes active dry yeast (about 4 ½ teaspoons)

5 ½ cups bread flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

For Filling:

8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 egg

½ teaspoon dried grated lemon peel

For Glaze:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Yellow, purple and green sprinkles

Stir the yeast in a bowl with ½ cup warm water. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Place the flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir to combine. With the motor running on slow, add the yeast and 1 ½ cups more warm water. Once the flour is moistened, increase the speed and mix until the dough forms around the hook, about 5 to 8 minutes. Increase the speed again and continue to mix adding in the butter just a bit at a time. Mix until the dough is tight and shiny, about another 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and knead for about 2 to 3 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place it into a bowl sprayed with vegetable oil spray. Cover with plastic and set in a warm, dry place to rise.

Place the cream cheese, ½ cup granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, egg and lemon peel into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Mix to combine.

Spray two 9x5x5” loaf pans with vegetable oil spray. Check the dough after 45 minutes. The dough should spring back slowly when you poke your finger into it. Divide the dough in half and form into two balls. Take one ball of dough and use your hands to spread into a 10×6” rectangle. Spread half of the filling onto the dough. Roll the dough (jelly-roll style) over the filling. Place the rolled dough into the loaf pan. Repeat with the second ball of dough. Again, cover the loaf pans with plastic wrap and set aside to rise.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Check the dough after 30 to 45 minutes. The dough should rise to about ½-inch from the top of the loaf pan. Place the pans into the oven and bake until the tops are deeply golden, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer from the pan to a wire rack. Cool completely.

Whisk together confectioners’ sugar and buttermilk. Stir in vanilla extract. The glaze should be thick yet pourable. Drizzle the glaze over the loaves. Shake sprinkles over the glaze.

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