These thick, soft, and chewy Mardi Gras King Cake Cinnamon Roll Cookies are a wonderful treat to have for your Mardi Gras parties and only a slight departure from the original Mardi Gras king cake that is traditionally served between January 6th through Fat Tuesday in Louisiana.
You can find just about any kind of king cake you want in New Orleans from local bakeries and grocery stores to popup events and even a king cake festival held every spring. Everything from king cake cake pops, to traditional king cakes, to filled king cakes, cinnamon rolls, king cake flavored ice cream, drinks, coffee, pastries, and even cookies. Still, nothing compares to the taste of these cinnamon roll cookies which captures the traditional flavor today yet not officially authentic to its roots that go back centuries to France and Rome.
Soft cinnamon roll cookies with an exceptional cinnamon bun flavor. Frosting with a cream cheese cinnamon roll frosting and purple, yellow, and green sprinkles. You’ll want to add these super delicious and tasty Mardi Gras Cinnamon Roll King Cake Cookies to your Fat Tuesday celebrations this year before lent.
Cinnamon and cream cheese rank high in popularity with the many variations that have sprouted up over the years and abound in these cookies. Made as a roll cookie slathered with a filling of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and dark corn syrup, every bite of this cookie gives you that taste that says, “yum.”
During all my years of baking, I thought I had become familiar with all of the ingredients out there, until I discovered butter extract along with cream cheese flavoring in an extract as well! Pairing these extracts with actual butter and cream cheese in the frosting with the traditional powdered sugar, milk and almond extract really gives that extra deep layer of flavor.
How to Make King Cake Cookies
- To make the cookie dough, cream butter and sugars.
- Mix in yolk and extracts. Mix in dry ingredients.
- Shape into disk, refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Roll dough in 12 x 10-inch rectangle.
- To make the filling, melt butter and stir in cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, and corn syrup.
- Spread over dough, leaving 1/2 inch open on the edges.
- Tightly roll dough. Freeze for 15 minutes.
- Cut cookie dough into 1/4-inch thick slices.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- To make the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese,
- Beat in powdered sugar, milk, extracts, and salt.
- Frost cookies with cream cheese frosting.
- Sprinkle tops with purple, yellow, and green sprinkles.
King Cake Cookie Ingredients
Butter: I like to use a good quality butter for this recipe in addition to butter flavored extract. These cookies have an extra sharp buttery flavor that cannot be beaten.
Sugar: Brown sugar is used as a filling in combination with other classic ingredients. It provides a rich brown sugar cinnamon flavor. In addition, the frosting is a traditional cream cheese icing with powdered sugar.
Flour: All-purpose flour works perfectly while providing the cookies with a good structure. Adding a little cornstarch to the mix yields a more tender cookie.
Egg: Using just the yolk will result in a richer flavor as well as bind the cookie ingredients and results in less air bubbles in the dough.
Extracts: Vanilla, butter, cream cheese, and almond extract. It may sound like a bit, but I promise these cookies are delicious for all the work it takes to make them. Each extract packs extra deep notes of flavors that are already in each layer. We’re just enhancing the flavor profile.
Cinnamon: These cinnamon roll cookies definitely pack a real cinnamon bun flavor with the addition of ground cinnamon.
Salt: Baked desserts like cookies flourish with salt. I like to add a little to each layer to bring out the flavors.
Sprinkles: Traditional Mardi Gras colored sprinkles like purple, yellow, and green. I bought my Wilton sprinkles at JoAnn Fabrics but they are also available online and in many grocery stores.
Where Can I Order a King Cake?
Where can I order king cake online? Having lived in New Orleans for nearly a decade, I highly recommend Gambino’s Bakery where their apple filled king cake is one of my favorites, and Maurice’s French Pastries Ponchatoula King Cake. To get a complete list of the king cake bakeries that ship, check out this list from Fox 8 Live, a New Orleans based newscast. Many of the bakeries listed do offer shipping so be sure to check out and support these local shops.
Parchment paper is such a wonderful must for your kitchen! Wax paper is coated on both sides with a soy or paraffin wax and will melt and possibly catch on fire if put in the over. Parchment paper is coated in a silicon. If you don’t have a great nonstick pan and don’t want to grease your pans, use parchment paper, the bottom of your cookies will come out clean and not brown unnecessarily.
You certainly may leave these extracts out. Of course, the taste will be less rich.
Light and dark corn syrup is interchangeable in a recipe, the difference is really in the taste. Dark corn syrup has a more robust flavor than the light syrup and is sweeter. You can also add 3 parts light corn syrup to 1 part molasses.
Pure maple syrup: Swap out equally for corn syrup
Honey: Substitute equally for corn syrup.
Golden syrup: Swap out equally, will give a more buttery flavor.
Molasses: Substitute equal amounts.
Celebrate Mardi Gras with these Classic Recipes
- Red Beans and Rice
- Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
- Chicken Gumbo
- Dirty Rice
- Creole Sausage Kolaches
- Filled King Cake
- Praline Dip
- Cajun Chex Mix
Mardi Gras King Cake Cinnamon Roll Cookies
- 1 cup butter (softened)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ tsp butter flavor extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp butter (melted)
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 2½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tsp light or dark corn syrup
- 3 oz cream cheese (softened)
- 3 oz butter (softened)
- 1¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp milk
- ¾ tsp cream cheese flavoring extract
- ½ tsp butter extract
- ⅛ tsp almond extract
- purple sprinkles
- yellow sprinkles
- green sprinkles
- Cream butter and sugars until creamy; about 5 minutes.
- Mix in egg yolk and extracts.
- Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt in separate bowl.
- Gradually pour dry mixture into wet mixture. Mix on low just until combined.
- Shape dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes or overnight. If refrigerating overnight, allow dough to come to near room temperature before rolling it.
- Lightly flour flat surface (or parchment paper. I like to use 2 sheet to roll out dough).
- Roll dough into 12 X 10-inch rectangle.
- In a small bowl, melt butter in microwave. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and corn syrup and mix until combined.
- Imminently pour mixture evenly over dough. Using a spatula, move the filling to carefully cover the dough, leaving about ½-inch of space on all sides without any filling.
- Turn the longer side (12-inch) of dough to face your hands. Carefully and tightly roll dough into log. I find it useful to carefully pull the parchment paper sheet over the top from underneath. This keeps the dough in shape and ensures a tight roll, allowing the parchment paper to guide it.
- Wrap in parchment paper and freeze on a sheet pan for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut slices into ¼-inch thick. I cut dough into half, then cut into 15 slices in each half or 30 slices if cutting whole dough at once.
- Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool before frosting.
- To make the frosting, cream the cream cheese until smooth. Add butter and cream. Beat in salt, powdered sugar, milk.
- Mix in extracts and beat until well combined.
- Frost cookies. Top with purple, yellow, and green sprinkles.