In Kroger last week, I saw a King Cake mix that I could make at home. I thought it would have to be better than some of the King Cakes made at the grocery store – none of them compare with the real deal that one of my co-workers used to send us FedEx from Louisiana during Mardi Gras season. So I bought it. It was a “Manager’s Special” for $3.49. The regular price was $6.99. It’s on the Mam Papaul’s website for $8.00. I got a real deal and I wish I’d have bought every one they had!
Fortunately, I made it at a time that I had family visiting, or I think I might have overdosed and eaten the entire thing myself. It says it will feed 12, but my sister and I put a pretty good dent in it by ourselves.
“This kit contains all the components necessary to make a traditional Mardi Gras King Cake. It includes a mix and knead bag, dough mix, yeast, 3 bags of colored sugar, filling mix, glaze and a metallic baby. Makes 12 generous servings.”
I am sometimes guilty of assembling ingredients without first reading the directions, but I followed this one to the tee. One thing I thought was really interesting:
“Place cake mix and yeast into large zip-lock bag (included). Lock bag and shake well. Add 1 cup hot water, and 1/2 cup softened butter to contents of larger bag. Add 1 egg to contents of bag. Press air from bag and lock.” Here’s the awesome part: “With fingers on the OUTSIDE of the bag, mix and knead ingredients by squeezing and pulling dough for approximately 15 minutes.”
Whoa! Have you ever thought about putting your dough in a zip-lock bag and kneading it while visiting with friends, or even watching a movie with your kids? I sure hadn’t. I felt a little like Tom Sawyer when family members begged me to let them knead the dough. We passed it around for 15 minutes and I watched as the pieces of dough all came together in one blob.
But the surprises don’t end there!
Instructions then tell you to put the bag in a bowl and place it in a warm place to rise. I had my own flash of inspiration. The crock pot was right there on the counter. I turned it on high for about 3 minutes, put the bag of dough inside, put the lid on it, and then turned it off. Within 30 minutes, the dough had doubled. No mess, because the dough was still in the bag. The crock pot provided just enough warmth to help it rise.
It worked so well that after I rolled out the dough and put it on the cookie sheet, I once again turned on the crock pot and just placed the cookie sheet on top of it. This time I left the crock pot on so some heat was generated, but not enough to actually “cook” the dough.
It worked GREAT. Why hadn’t I thought of this before?