Mardi Gras King Cake

Course : Cakes
Serves: 32
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5 3/4 cups all-purpose flour -- divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages dry yeast
3/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 large eggs
1 spray cooking spray
1 bunch pecan half
3 tablespoons granulated sugar -- divided
2 drops yellow food coloring
2 drops green food coloring
1 drop red food coloring
1 drop blue food coloring
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water

Preparation / Directions:

1. Combine 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl; stir well, and set aside.

2. Combine milk, 1/2 cup water, and margarine in a small saucepan; place over low heat until very warm (120 oF to 130 oF). Add to flour mixture; beat at medium speed of a mixer 2 minutes or until smooth. Add 1 cup flour, lemon rind, and eggs; beat 2 minutes or until smooth. Gradually stir in 2 1/4 cups flour to form a soft dough.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 oF), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down; turn out onto a lightly floured surface.

4. Divide dough into 3 equal portions; shape each ponion into a 26-inch rope. Place ropes lengthwise on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray, allowing ropes to extend over 1 end of baking sheet onto counter (do not stretch). Pinch ends on baking sheet together to seal. Braid ropes, and pinch loose ends together to seal. Bring ends together to form a ring. Press pecan half gently into ring from bottom so it is completely hidden by dough. Cover dough ring, and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

5. Preheat oven to 375 oF.

6. Uncover dough, and bake at 375 oF for 25 minutes or until ring sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan, and let cool on a wire rack.

7. Combine 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and yellow food coloring in a small bowl: stir well. Repeat procedure with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and green food coloring. For purple, combine red and blue food coloring in a small bowl, and stir in remaining tablespoon granulated sugar.

8. Combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl; stir well. Drizzle glaze over ring; sprinkle colored sugars alternately over glaze.


Nutritional Information:

131 Calories (kcal); 2g Total Fat; (13% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 25g Carbohydrate; 16mg Cholesterol; 89mg Sodium

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