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17 Next-Level Mardi Gras Desserts
These Mardi Gras dessert recipes will have you saying, "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" ("Let the good times roll!")
King Cakes are the traditional dessert of Mardi Gras, and this collection features plenty of them--from the traditional King Cake, to easy and vegan versions, to fun variations like King Cake cinnamon rolls, cookies, and even dessert cheese balls!
But beyond King Cakes, Mardi Gras desserts are strongly inspired by New Orleans cuisine and culture, and you'll find... plenty of Southern favorites here as well, like beignets, bananas foster, and bread pudding.
So don some green, purple, and gold attire, turn up the jazz, and get ready to find your new favorite Mardi Gras dessert recipe here!Continue to 2 of 18 below.
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Classic King Cake from Scratch
This is it: THE classic King Cake recipe! It's made from scratch, with a rich brioche dough, and decorated in the traditional style with alternating icing colors or sprinkles in the classic Mardi Gras colors of gold, purple, and green. These colors are used throughout the Mardi Gras celebration and are symbolic: purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power.
Traditionally, a small plastic baby figurine or a bean is placed inside the King Cake before baking, and whoever finds the... baby or bean in their slice will get good luck throughout the coming year. Sometimes, the lucky recipient is also tasked with making the King Cake for the following year!Continue to 3 of 18 below.
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Easy King Cake
If you're not up to making your own brioche dough from scratch, try this Easy King Cake recipe! It uses store-bought crescent dough as the base, but the final result tastes so good, you'd never know it was a shortcut recipe! There's also a photo tutorial to guide you through each step of the process.Continue to 4 of 18 below.
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Vegan King Cake
Most King Cake recipes call for butter and eggs, which would make them off-limits for vegans. But this Vegan King Cake recipe uses coconut milk and soy margarine, so everyone can join in the Mardi Gras fun!Continue to 5 of 18 below.
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King Cake Cinnamon Rolls
Why should traditional cakes get all the Mardi Gras fun? The concept of a "King Cake" can be revised and expanded to include all sorts of other desserts, like these decadent King Cake Cinnamon Rolls!
Cinnamon, praline, and cream cheese are already traditional King Cake components, so it only makes sense to take gooey homemade cinnamon rolls and decorate them with sprinkles, just like a King Cake. Add a plastic baby inside one of the rolls and the transformation to Mardi Gras dessert is... complete!Continue to 6 of 18 below.
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King Cake Cheese Ball
This ain't your grandma's cheese ball! This King Cake Cheese Ball is a fun and unique dessert dip made with cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, and of course, the ubiquitous purple, green, and gold sprinkles. You can serve it with graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or a selection of fresh fruit to really let the good times roll.Continue to 7 of 18 below.
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King Cake Spritz Cookies
Bigger isn't always better! These King Cake Spritz Cookies look like miniature versions of King Cakes. They're adorable, portable, easy to make in big batches, and--most importantly--delicious! Serve them at your Mardi Gras party, or bag them up and hand them out as party favors.Continue to 8 of 18 below.
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After the King Cake, Beignets might be the dessert most associated with New Orleans. These iconic doughnuts can be found in every cafe in the French Quarter. Small, lighter than air, and coated with an even dusting of sugar, they're the perfect way to start Mardi Gras.Continue to 9 of 18 below.
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Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
Bread Pudding is a classic Southern dessert, and the only thing that could make it even more of a Southern dish would be adding bourbon! (Check!)
It's true that bread pudding is a great way to use up leftover, stale bread, but you won't ever mistake this recipe for second-best. The bread pudding has a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and the bourbon sauce adds an incredible deep, rich flavor.Continue to 10 of 18 below.
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Banana Tarte Tatin
Tarte Tatin recipes are traditionally made with apples and pears, but what's to stop us from going a little tropical and adding bananas to the mix? This is an easy last-minute dessert to throw together: all you need are bananas, puff pastry, and some rum (of course!) to make the to-die-for rum sauce. Don't even think of serving the tarte tatin without it!Continue to 11 of 18 below.
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Galette des Rois
Although "galette des rois" can be translated to "king cake," this is a far cry from the traditional ring-shaped King Cake topped with green, gold, and purple icing. This classical French cake is made with puff pastry and almond cream, and bakes up into a golden-brown cake that is as beautiful as it is delicate. This cake is a great choice if you want to offer a more elegant Mardi Gras dessert!Continue to 12 of 18 below.
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Bananas Foster Bread Pudding
Bread pudding gets a Southern twist in this recipe for Bananas Foster Bread Pudding! This dessert is made extra-indulgent by the use of cream, brioche, and dark brown sugar. Serve it with a splash of rum sauce to really complete the bananas foster comparison!Continue to 13 of 18 below.
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Bananas Foster Truffles
Calling all bananas foster lovers! If you like bananas foster, you have GOT to try these truffles! They're made with real roasted bananas, rum, cinnamon, and brown sugar, so they taste uncannily like the real thing...only better, because chocolate is also involved!Continue to 14 of 18 below.
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Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cupcakes
If the idea of an upside-down cake seems intimidating to you, try cupcakes instead! These are made in a regular cupcake pan, and use bananas instead of the more traditional pineapple, for a fun, bananas foster-inspired twist. Make these mini desserts for your next Mardi Gras party!Continue to 15 of 18 below.
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Bananas Foster Mini Skillet Flambe
This recipe has it all! Deep, rich, caramelized sugar? Check. Sweet, ripe bananas? Check. Melting vanilla ice cream? Check. Adorable, single-serving size? Check. Fun with fire? Check, check, check!
Seriously, the flambe part of the recipe is optional, but if you have ever wanted to try to light your dessert on fire, now's your chance! This classic technique involves dousing the caramelized bananas in rum and then lighting it on fire--the alcohol burns brightly for a moment and then is... extinguished, leaving just a delicious rum flavor and the adrenaline of the open flame! As long as you exercise appropriate caution, this could be the showstopping Mardi Gras dessert you've been looking for!Continue to 16 of 18 below.
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New Orleans Pralines
Pralines are a New Orleans institution! This iconic Southern candy is made with brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans, to produce a thin patty that's bursting with sweet, nutty flavor. The texture of pralines is unlike anything else--part creamy, part crumbly, and entirely addicting.Continue to 17 of 18 below.
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New Orleans Coffee
What could go better with a big slice of King Cake than a mug of New Orleans coffee? New Orleans coffee has a unique flavor because it includes chicory, a roasted root with a distinctive caramel flavor. It's great as a wake-up with a plate of beignets, or the perfect way to end a Southern feast.Continue to 18 of 18 below.
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The Hurricane Cocktail became popular in New Orleans in the 1940's, and is still considered a signature drink of the city. This rum-based drink is fruity and refreshing, and it makes a great accompaniment to many Mardi Gras desserts.