Category Archives: Travel

The Easiest King Cake Ever!

King Cake Edited2Pin

One of the things I miss about not living on the Alabama Gulf Coast any longer is Mardi Gras season.  The revelry and excitement in the air are almost electric.  It is one of the few things that can make a gloomy winter bright and fanciful.  The parades warm the nights with bright colors and lights and equally bright personalities from almost everyone you see.  Even the day parades make the sun seem a little bit brighter and warmer.  For this girl who lives for the life and vitality of summertime, it is a great break in the cold doldrums of winter.

Even the food seems brighter.  The locals break out their best Cajun recipes like Red Beans & Rice (check out my recipe here) Crawfish Etoueffe, Gumbo, or Shrimp and Grits.  The flavors are rich, bold and bright and for the most part so are the colors because they include a handful of wonderful ingredients.  Let’s not forget cayenne pepper which makes everything feel warm!

King Cake is one of those iconic desserts of Mardi Gras.  No carnival season is complete without one and don’t even think of having a party that doesn’t serve one.  Anyone who lives within driving distance of New Orleans or Mobile has at least one grocery store that sells King Cake.  Our Publix, Kroger and Walmart shopping centers all carried them this year.  And my town is at least 357 miles from Government Street.  Not only that, my daughter’s peanut and tree nut allergy means no bakery items.  So, I decided to make my own.

I must admit that I had visions of grandeur and I thought I would make one from scratch using this recipe from Sucre courtesy of Sucre New Orleans.  But my yeast didn’t rise, my butter was too cold and didn’t incorporate well so I threw that dough away much to the dismay of my children.  Once you tell the kids you are doing something fun and different if you don’t follow through it just makes life more difficult.  Knowing that I still had to produce a King Cake, I decided to use a cheat and with wonderful success!

Here is the recipe for my cheater Quick and Easy King Cake!

1 package of Pillsbury Flakey Cinnamon Twists

Green, Yellow and Purple Sanding Sugar

Preheat oven according to package directions.

Open package and set icing aside.

Unroll twists.

Take two and roll into one long piece of dough, preferably with the cinnamon on the inside.

After that twist two of the dough ropes loosely together.  Do this twice.  You will end up with two big rope pieces of dough.

Place these in a circle on a greased cookie sheet and press the ends together to connect both sections of the circle.

It will take a little longer than the 10 minutes the instructions on package direct because you have increased the density of the dough.  It took mine about 14 minutes to bake completely.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 4 minutes.  Meanwhile, open the icing and stir it.  Mine was very thick so I added a drop or two of pure Vanilla Extract and a drop of milk.

Remove the cooled King Cake Circle, to a platter and a pour icing onto the cake.  Sprinkle the colored sanding sugar in blocks of purple, yellow, and green.  Don’t forget to place the baby underneath the cake!

 

 

 

 

 

Peach Cobbler via I-65

Peach Watertower at Exit 212Pin
Peach-zilla at Exit 212

If you have ever traveled in Alabama you more than likely have spent some time on Interstate 65. This well traversed corridor connects the tippy top of the state all the way to nearly its southernmost point (which is Sand Island Light off the coast of Dauphin Island).  Dauphin Island was once my hometown so I have spent quite a bit of time traveling across the state.  I-65 basically bisects the state at the largest cities, Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile.

Just south of Birmingham, in Clanton is a landmark that delights all the children who see it, and can cause quite a stir with adults as well.  It is the big Peach Water Tower.  Although it is a novelty for most on the road, it is actually the X on a treasure map and the prize is peaches, of course.

We stopped at a little fruit stand just underneath the peach and bought a few peaches and some green tomatoes and I was in Little Ol’ Southern Lady Heaven.  You know you are in for a treat when the peach in its natural state smells good and fills your car with the promise of good things to come.  So it was just plain sinful to make them into Paula Deen’s Peach Cobbler.  I usually doctor recipes or change things a bit according to my own tastes or that of my family but this one needed no changes or substitutions.

It was warm, bubbly and not too sweet.  The peaches balanced out the sweetness of the cobbler itself and even with vanilla ice cream wasn’t as sweet as some cobblers I have had in the past.

So if you are looking for a great peach cobbler recipe, Paula Deen’s is worth a try.  It certainly worked for me!