Mardi Gras Party Good Time

Louisiana is often referred to as the Boot due to its shape.  I think that’s an appropriate observation seeing how we do love to kick up our heels and pass a Mardi Gras party good time.

beads-doubloonsPurple, Green, and Gold Beads and Doubloons

Louisiana loves to throw a party, and what makes a good party is great food, drink, and conversations about great Mardi Gras food and drink.  Last Wednesday I got a call from my nephew on just this subject.

Dong Phuong Bakeshop

The Mardi Gras king cake is a Carnival staple, and people do have their favorites.

My favorite?

I thought the chocolate cinnamon king cake from a local market the one that takes the king cake, but that was until my nephew gifted the Places In The Home gang with a cinnamon king cake from Dong Phuong Bakeshop.

A king cake connoisseur in his own right, he too thought he had a chosen favorite until his coworker brought a cinnamon king cake from Dong Phuong Bakeshop in east New Orleans to the office for a Mardi Gras party good time king cake celebration.

It was king cake love at first bite.

You know how it is when you discover a new whatever and you like/love it so much you want to show and tell it with your inner circle, gang, tribe, or Mardi Gras krewe?

That’s exactly the case in this king cake scenario.

He placed an order for twelve cinnamon king cakes from Dong Phuong Bakeshop.  The window for shipment had just closed, so he drove from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to pick up the order.

When you’ve got a craving for king cake, you do what you have to do to get one.

Or twelve.

His friend happened to be driving up to Central Louisiana the following day, so my nephew asked him if he would make a king cake delivery to Places In The Home.

cinnamon-king-cake

Now the Places In The Home gang knows what all the Dong Phuong cinnamon king cake excitement is about.

dong phuong king cake

Right off the bat, I was impressed with the artwork and the font used on the cake box.

share-the-joy-of-Mardi-Gras

It’s the same exact font I use for the Places In The Home header and sidebar.

DP-Bakeshop-East-NOLA

Love the font.

king-cake-colors

Love the king cake!

King cake is a Mardi Gras must have, a tradition beginning on January 6th and ending on Fat Tuesday.

The entire season and celebration of Carnival is a Mardi Gras party good time process.

second-line

Not all Mardi Gras celebrations are created equal.  From parish to parish, Louisiana is truly a melting pot of customs, traditions, and cultures.

However, all Louisianians celebrate Mardi Gras on a local purple, green, and gold grand scale.

Mardi-Gras-porchNew Orleans Today

Throughout the state, Mardi Gras revelers and Carnival decoristas bedeck the halls, doors, porches, fences, and facades.

Mardi Gras parade prep

Parade route positions are prime real estate, staked out and claimed for optimum viewing and catching prized throws.

Plutocrat Second LinePlutocrat Second Line

Krewe floats stand ready to roll, and neighborhood block parties are planned, prepped, and positioned  for a Mardi Gras promenade.

beignets at Cafe du Monde

Beignets at Café du Monde

It’s hard not to find yourself in a Mardi Gras party good time state of mind when you have a cup of café au lait in hand.

cafe au lait

A traditional crawfish boil brings the flavor to the Mardi Gras party good time celebration.

The sweetness of the king cake complements the robust spice and heat that flavors a crawfish boil.

C’est si bon!

boiled-crawfish

This time of year blended with the taste of Mardi Gras keeps the calls from the Canadian snowbirds coming.

Cooking up a pot of Louisiana gumbo and a traditional King Cake from this recipe from Southern Living will satisfy the craving, please the sweet tooth, and feed the soul.

traditional king cake

Southern Living Magazine – Photo by Beth Dreiling

Traditional King Cake

Ingredients

1 (16-ounce) container sour cream

1/3 cup sugar

¼  cup butter

1 teaspoon salt

2 (¼-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast

½  cup warm water (100° to 110°)

1 tablespoon sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 to 6 ½ cups bread flour*

1/3 cup butter, softened

½  cup sugar

1 ½  teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts.  Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.

Stir together yeast, ½ cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.

Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth.  Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 ½ cups) until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).   Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.

Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle.  Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border.  Stir together ½ cup sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over butter on each rectangle.

Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side.  Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal.  Repeat with second dough roll.

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden.  Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes).  Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.

Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake: Prepare each 22- x 12-inch dough rectangle as directed.  Omit 1/3 cup softened butter and 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon.  Increase ½ cup sugar to ¾ cup sugar.  Beat ¾  cup sugar; 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened; 1 large egg; and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on each dough rectangle, leaving 1-inch borders.  Proceed with recipe as directed.

*6 to 6 ½ cups all-purpose flour may be substituted.

Creamy Glaze

Purple, green, and gold-tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles

-Southern Living

The weather is not wanting to cooperate, but Louisiana doesn’t let a little rain dampen the Mardi Gras spirit.   The parades are rolling, the party atmosphere is intoxicating, and time-honored traditions and customs will be well represented.

The Boot is kicking up its heels in Mardi Gras party good time style.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

love your style