Friday, March 04, 2011

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Are any of you headed to New Orleans this weekend for Mardi Gras-related mayhem? If so, I’m jealous! Although I’ll be there in two months for Jazz Fest, I didn’t have the finances or vacation time to make it to the Big Easy for the Carnival celebrations this year. And with the bulk of my extended family hailing from Louisiana - New Orleans and Lake Charles to be precise - I've always been a sucker for a good Mardi Gras party. Still, I plan to celebrate in style by treating a few friends this weekend to a "King Cake" and some seasonal cocktails. Hand grenade anyone?

Yup, I have sugar-free recipes for a few Carnival-related treats including King Cake," a braided coffee cake decorated in purple, green and gold sugar. Each one contains a hidden plastic baby - with custom dictating that whoever finds the toy must buy the next cake or throw the next party. Hundreds upon hundreds of "King Cake" parties are thrown every year.

So for any of you hosting Fat Tuesday parties and the like in upcoming days, these recipes are for you. You can thank me later!

MARDI GRAS KING CAKE
Cake Ingredients:
2 (8 oz.) pkg. Fat Free Cream Cheese
2/3 cup granular Splenda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 cup no sugar added apple pie filling
2 pkg. Crescent Rolls
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine cream cheese, 2/3 cup Splenda, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
3. Unroll crescent rolls and place on cookie sheet with points towards the center, overlapping as needed. Try to make a circle.
4. Spread cream cheese mixture over the dough leaving 1/2-inch from edges.
5. Mix the apple filling with 1 tsp. of Splenda and mash until slightly lumpy. Spread the filling on top of the cream cheese and then fold the outside edges over the filling to prevent leaking.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Cool and glaze.
Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup granular Splenda
1 to 2 tsp. fat-free milk
Food coloring
Directions:
1. Mix Splenda with milk.
2. When desired thickness, add food coloring to create three different toppings.
3. Spread with ease and let sit for a few minutes.

HURRICANE
Ingredients:
2 oz light rum
2 oz dark rum
* 2 oz passion fruit juice
1 oz orange juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
* 1 tbsp simple syrup
1 tbsp grenadine
* For a healthier recipe, use some V8 Splash Guava Passion and make sugar-free simple syrup combining 1 cup of sucralose with 1 cup of boiling water. Once it has cooled, strain the sucralose and water through a coffee filter.
Directions:
Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, pour into a hurricane glass and garnish with an orange slice and cherry.

BEIGNETS
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons granulated Splenda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for frying
Powdered sugar
Directions:
1. In a saucepan, combine Splenda, salt, butter, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil.
2. Add flour and cook over medium heat, beating with spoon until dough forms a ball and leaves side of pan. Remove from heat.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with electric mixer at medium speed after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth.
4. Mix in vanilla.
5. Roll dough on a floured surface and cut into 2-inch squares.
6. In skillet, heat 1 to 2-inches of oil. Then fry dough (three or four pieces at a time) until puffy and golden brown on both sides.
8. Remove beignets and drain on paper towels. While hot, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

Finally, here is some great NOLA music bound to put a smile on your face. Enjoy! Or should I say - let the good times roll, chere!





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