These Mini King Cake Cookies are perfect for your Mardi Gras celebration! They’re festively decorated and melt in your mouth!
One of the best things about living on the Gulf coast (besides cheaper gas and white sand) has definitely got to be Mardi Gras!
When people think Mardi Gras, they usually think New Orleans. But Mardi Gras in the United States actually started in Mobile, Alabama. Lucky for me, one of my best friends, Erin, lives in Mobile, which is only about an hour away from us!
Mardi Gras celebrations run for weeks, and this past weekend we kicked off the festivities with a parade in Mobile. Erin and Mike invited us over for some appetizers and cocktails before the parade.
Since Erin had snacks and drinks covered, I decided I wanted to bring a dessert. The traditional way to go would be to make a Mardi Gras King Cake. Making cakes from scratch is not really my strong suit, so I thought this might be a total disaster. I thought about Mardi Gras colored cupcakes, but that seemed TOO easy.
The sugar glaze and colored sprinkles on the traditional American king cake got me thinking about some similar looking Christmas cookies I love to make. The cookies are anise flavored drop cookies with a sugar glaze and Christmas colored nonpareils.
I wondered how I could modify the cookies for my occasion. Long before I ever knew anything about the cinnamon praline filled doughy Gulf Coast king cake, my French grandfather was bringing beautiful French king cakes home from France.
French king cakes, gateaux des rois, are made from flaky pastry stuffed with almond frangipane filling. Anything almond, marzipan, frangipane or amaretto melts my heart immediately, so these cakes were always a favorite of mine.
In the spirt of gateaux des rois, I swapped the anise flavoring for almond extract in the Christmas cookie recipe and came up with a mini multicultural version of the Mardi Gras treat!
These cookies melt in your mouth with a delicious almond flavor, but they are also super fun. Some of them have a surprise inside!
The babies! A traditional king cake has a little baby, bean, or other trinket hidden inside it. Whoever gets the piece with the baby is king for the day and/or gets to make/buy the next king cake. I found some babies at a craft store, where I also found my green, yellow and purple sugar sprinkles.
I hid babies in two of the cookies for lucky winners. Make sure you put the babies in after baking the cookies if you are using plastic ones! If you add the babies to the dough and try to bake them in, you might end up with a little melted baby surprise.
The cookies came out light & almondy and SOOO good! As much as I love the anise version, my favorite almond flavor really made these cookies shine.
While I was at the craft store looking for colored sprinkles, Nick wandered off and came back with some masks. He was really excited about them, so I got some glitter glue and feathers and went crazy.
I packed up the cookies and masks, and we headed to Mobile for some fun.
Erin made some delicious strawberry guacamole, ceviche and sangria.
All were great! I’ll definitely be making the ceviche soon! We finished up with some cookies and headed out to the parade.
We had so much fun celebrating! Thanks to Erin and Mike for having us, and here’s to a couple more weekends of Mardi Gras festivities!
- for the cookies:
- ¾ cup margarine, melted
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 ½ cups sifted flour
- 5 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 4 eggs
- for the frosting:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp flour
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 3-4 tbsp milk
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Add all cookie ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
- Use an electric mixer or stand mixer to mix until thoroughly combined.
- Roll 1 tbsp scoops of the dough into balls and put them onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Mix the powdered sugar with 2 tsp flour.
- Add 1 tsp almond extract and add the milk slowly until you reach a creamy consistency.
- Frost and decorate the cookies!