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This is the best recipe for Mardi Gras Cookies! Soft and cakey vanilla cookies are topped with luscious cream cheese frosting and decorated with colored sprinkles. These are the perfect cookies to make to get into the Mardi Gras mood!
Mardi Gras is coming up soon, so that means it's time to start thinking about recipes for King Cake and other Mardi Gras treats.
When we think about Mardi Gras, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the food. The most famous one might be King Cake - a spiced cake with cream cheese frosting and colorful sprinkles on top.
To get into the spirit of things this year, try these irresistible soft vanilla cookies topped with a delicious cream cheese frosting and decorated in Mardi Gras colors!
Plus, they're really easy to make! They're perfect for any occasion you want to celebrate in style or bring as favors to your next party!
Similar to king cake cookies, these festive Mardi Gras cookies are a great snack or dessert to enjoy during the celebration of Fat Tuesday.
Since I already have fantastic and easy recipe for king cake, I thought I'd go in a slightly different direction for these cookies.
My version of a Mardi Gras cookie is a rich but light cakey cookie, topped with a generous layer of luscious cream cheese frosting. They resemble fluffy sweet cookies, similar to the ever famous, Lofthouse Frosted Sugar Cookies.
Fat Tuesday is all about indulgence and these cookies definitely fit the bill!
One of the key ingredients in this recipe is sour cream, so you get a bit of tang which is balanced out nicely by the the sweet and creamy frosting.
Mardi Gras Cookies vs. King Cake Cookies
If you're not familiar with king cake, it's not like other types of cake. Instead of a tender crumb like you'd get in a birthday cake, it is made from a yeast based dough which makes it more bread-like.
I've mentioned in this post that my version of Mardi Gras cookies is a cakey cookie, but it's more like a typical cake that you'd find with buttercream.
The one thing these desserts do have in common is the glaze / frosting. The creamy glaze for king cake is also made with cream cheese, which adds richness and flavor. If you want to go for more of a king cake cookie vibe using this recipe, you can definitely use this recipe and add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the cookie dough and lemon juice to the frosting. That would also be delicious!
I prefer these cookies to other king cake cookies I've had in the past. Some of those include sugar cookies in king cake shapes, others may include pecans or pralines (another New Orleans classic!)
Basically, Mardi Gras cookies can be interpreted in a lot of ways. Other cookie ideas that you may see a lot during Mardi Gras include mask cookies/masquerade cookies, confetti cookies, or other sugar cookie cut outs.
Even if you plan on making cut outs or other treats, this is a great cake cookie recipe to add to your collection of masquerade party food ideas or any carnival party.
How to Make Mardi Gras Cookies
I'll start off by saying these cookies require 1 hour of chill time, but other than that they are rather easy and fast to make!
Start by mixing softened butter with sugar, and mixing until smooth. Add the egg and mix until it binds and combined.
The sour cream comes next. If after adding the sour cream and the mixture looks a bit curdled, don't worry! This is fine. The mixture will come together once the dry ingredients are added.
Once you add the flour and remaining dry ingredients, beat slowly to blend and scrape up the sides to catch any unmixed batter. Be sure you do not overmix!
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. This will help the mixture firm up and ensure that the cookies do not spread as much in the oven.
You want a light, puffy, cakey cookie!
When ready, scoop the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. This will ensure that the delicate, fluffy cookies do not stick to the surface.
Bake until the cookies until very lightly golden brown on the edges. Since they're basically like cake, I also test them with a toothpick as I do when baking regular cake.
Time to Decorate
These cookies taste so good on their own, but need just a few more touches before they're party ready!
First up is the frosting. It is really easy to make and you need just three ingredients.
Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and heavy cream, in a large bowl using a hand mixer. Mix until the frosting is completely smooth. It should still be on the thick side though.
I like to dye the frosting to match the festive colors of Mardi Gras; purple, green, and yellow.
When all the frosting colors are ready, I set up my decorating station. It's important to have yourself set up and ready to go because I've found that this frosting tends to set rather quickly. The outer layer will crust over after some time (similar to crusting buttercream).
The first time I made these, I frosted all the cookies first and THEN I added the sprinkles.
This was a mistake because little did I know that the frosting had hardened on the surface and none of my sprinkles stuck to the cookies!
My advice is, as soon as you top the cookie with the frosting, add your sprinkles immediately. It takes a little extra bit of time to sprinkle each cookie individually but trust me, it's the only way to go!
There are a few different things you can do when it comes to the sprinkles.
I bought these premium Mardi Gras sprinkles from Amazon and I love the look of them! In the mix there are gold sprinkles, large and small colored balls and non pareils.
You can also use classic Mardi Gras sanding sugar sprinkles in purple, green, and yellow which would look great.
Another idea is to use gold luster dust, which also makes these cookies look spectacular and festive.
These cake sugar cookies are great to make no matter the celebration! Customize the colors of sprinkles to match your event.
Storing the Cookies
When the cookies are made, you can store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. Anytime you're using cream cheese frosting, it should be refrigerated.
These cookies freeze well too. To freeze, line the finished cookies on a sheet tray (uncovered) and freeze for 2 hours.
Then, place the cookies in a freezer zip lock bag and seal well. They should last for up to 3 months frozen.
These festive cookies are perfect for your party. They're easy to make and everyone will love them. So put on your favorite Mardi Gras beads and get ready to bake up a storm!
For the Cookies
- 1 ½ c all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ c unsalted butter
- ¾ c granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ c full fat sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Frosting
- 8 oz full fat cream cheese (softened to room temp)
- 4 ½ c powdered sugar
- 6 Tbsp heavy cream (additional as needed)
- In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and add sugar. Cream butter & sugar on high speed until smooth and creamy, for about 2 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Give it a quick mix again to ensure there are no remaining pockets of unmixed ingredients.
- Add egg, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. If the mixture looks curdled, it's fine. The moisture from the sour cream may not bind with the butter at first.
- Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until combined. Stop mixing once all the flour is absorbed to avoid tough cookies. The dough/batter will be very thick, but creamy. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator.
- Using a medium cookie scoop (1.5 tablespoon in size), scoop the dough into your hand and quickly roll dough into a ball to smooth it out. Place on the parchment lined baking sheet about 3 inches apart.
- Bake cookies for about 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through for even baking.
- Once the cookies are lightly golden brown on the edges, test with your finger to see if they bounce back (if they do, they're done!). You can also test with a toothpick (the center should come out clean).
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cookies are cooling, add all of the frosting ingredients into a large bowl or into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Beat the ingredients until the frosting is smooth and silky (it will still be very thick). Add more cream as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
- Decorate with sprinkles immediately after frosting each cookie (the icing may crust over quickly and the sprinkles won't stick).
Recipe by Owlbbaking.com
Store finished cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. Anytime you're using cream cheese frosting, it should be refrigerated.
These cookies freeze well too. To freeze, line the finished cookies on a sheet tray (uncovered) and freeze for 2 hours. Then, place the cookies in a freezer zip lock bag and seal well. They should last for up to 3 months frozen.