King-Cake-Donut-Bars-recipe

Onwards with the Mardi Gras theme!  I can’t help but be happy when I think of Mardi Gras.

I had my first bite of King Cake in the Big Easy at The Court of Two Sisters.  Truthfully, there was a slight moment of disappointment, because when one hears the word ‘cake,’ you expect sweet cake.  King Cake is more of a yeast bread with a cinnamon swirl and sweet frosting.  And there’s nothing wrong with that!  Please, love King Cake for what it is, not what you wish it would be.

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For these donuts, I converted a baked beignet recipe into donut bars, because let’s be honest:  baked beignets taste like baked donuts.  The key difference here is that these baked donuts are made with actual yeast, while most baked donut recipes rely on baking powder.

I’m 110% sure you’re going to love these.

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I scaled down Jenna’s recipe for oven-baked beignets for this application, because Jenna is a girl who really knows her way around yeast—just ask her former culinary instructor! Oh, Jenna, I kid!  I love ya!

I love to make this dough because it’s so wonderful to work with.  It starts out a tiny bit sticky, but after kneading, it’s supple and easy to knead.

Half a dozen baked yeast donut bars before rising:
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Half a dozen baked yeast donut bars after rising:
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I topped each donut bar with cinnamon-sugar and sweet glaze with colorful sprinkles. Don’t forget to butter your plastic wrap!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Yield: 2

King Cake Donut Bars

King Cake Donut Bars
Yield: 6 donuts
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 27 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons 105° water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided use
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • colored sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast with a pinch of sugar. Stir to combine. Let rest for 5 minutes until foamy. It MUST foam. If it does not foam, the yeast are dead. Start over.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter, and incorporate it into the flour by pinching it throughout the dough. You could also use two knives or a pastry cutter. The butter should be evenly distributed throughout the dough in small chunks about the size of pearl couscous.
  3. Next, stir the egg white and milk into the yeast mixture. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Flour the counter, and place the dough ball on it. Knead the mixture for 3-5 minutes, or until the dough is no longer sticky and feels soft and supple. Flour the counter, your hands, and the rolling pin as necessary.
  4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Next, roll the dough out into an 8� square. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough in half, then in thirds to make six donut bar shapes. (See photo).
  6. Place the donut bars on a lined cookie sheet, and cover with buttered plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400°. Sprinkle the donuts with the cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake the donuts for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned on all edges.
  8. Let the donuts cool slightly, then whisk together the powdered sugar and milk for the glaze. Decorate the donuts while still slightly warm with the glaze and sprinkles. Serve immediately.
  9. The donuts taste best right out of the oven, but can be kept for 1 day in an air-tight container. It's best to warm them very briefly in the microwave before serving.