An easy New Orleans Mardi Gras dessert with traditional king cake flavors. This New Orleans Mardi Gras King Cake Praline Cracker Candy features a praline toffee filling covering saltine crackers with a classic poured fondant frosting recipe that local bakeries in New Orleans use for king cake. Adorned in purple, green, and yellow sprinkles with pecans.
You don’t have to live in New Orleans, Louisiana to celebrate Mardi Gras as locals do on Fat Tuesday. While Mardi Gras parades are a big part of our city’s culture, most locals stay in on Mardi Gras Day and cook classic Louisiana recipes like Red Beans and Rice, Gumbo, or Jambalaya. In addition, King Cake is a customary dessert that’s eaten from Kings Day (January 6th) through Fat Tuesday.
How to Make King Cake Candy
- Line crackers in an even amount of rows and columns on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Boil butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan for 3 minutes.
- Pour praline filling over crackers and spread.
- Bake at 350°F for 5 minutes.
- Make king cake poured fondant frosting.
- Mix together powdered sugar, hot water, corn syrup.
- Melt chocolate chips and combine with frosting.
- Spread over praline filling.
- Sprinkle with purple, green, yellow sprinkles and pecans.
Praline King Cake Candy Ingredients
- SALTINE CRACKERS: The base of the candy uses crackers. Using saltines results in cookie bottom that tastes like a shortbread crust.
- BROWN SUGAR: Heated with butter and boiled. Brown sugar and butter make a quick toffee caramel filling.
- BUTTER: Buttery toffee that tastes like pralines. Spread over saltines and cooled, the candy hardens slightly.
- WHITE CHOCOLATE: The key ingredient that local NOLA bakeries use for their king cake icing recipe. Use a good quality chocolate chip brand.
- POWDERED SUGAR: Sweetens and thickens the frosting.
- HOT WATER: An important ingredient to making poured fondant. It works to melt the sugar and makes the frosting easy to work with.
- LIGHT CORN SYRUP: Softens and gives the fondant a smooth texture making it easy to spread before slightly hardening.
- KING CAKE FLAVOR: Almond extract and cinnamon are king cake flavors. If you can find a bottle of praline flavoring, use it, too.
- SPRINKLES/PECANS: It’s not king cake unless it features traditional Mardi Gras colors. Add pecans for a nice crunch.
How to Serve New Orleans Mardi Gras King Cake Praline Cracker Candy
Old-fashioned toffee candy is traditionally served as a dessert candy. I like to store pieces of the candy in metal tins. This also makes for the perfect gift to pass out at a Mardi Gras party, school event, or gift to family and friends.
Traditional Mardi Gras Celebrations
HISTORY OF MARDI GRAS: Europe has been celebrating Mardi Gras for centuries. Started in Rome, the carnival celebrations spread to France. French immigrants settled in New Orleans in the early 1700s. Socialites attended extravagant balls that were made for prominent figures. In the 1830s, parades and floats adorned the streets with many locals celebrating the carnival season. Each parade, called a “krewe” features a “court” that includes a king and queen along with their court. These courts are made up of prominent citizens. Still around today, Rex is the highest court, featuring many important figures of the city. Dozens of “Krewes” parade through the city every carnival season. While Rex is an “invite only” krewe, other Mardi Gras krewes like Endymion, Bacchus, Orpheus, and Zulu have a waiting list for riders that include “dues” that range from $300-$4000.
WHEN TO VISIT NEW ORLEANS TO CELEBRATE MARDI GRAS
MARDI GRAS CARNIVAL SEASON: First, Mardi Gras Day or Fat Tuesday changes every year and is based on Easter Sunday. Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday. Fat Tuesday marks the end of the carnival season. Don’t come to New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day and expect the celebrations to start rolling. In fact, at midnight on Fat Tuesday, the streets are cleared and the season is officially over. That said, my favorite time to celebrate and host guests in the city is the WEEKEND BEFORE Mardi Gras Day. Dozens of parade krewes roll starting on Kings Day (January 6th) and go through Fat Tuesday. Most parades are held on the weekend, but the last week of the carnival, parades roll almost daily. These krewes are the BEST of the carnival. My favorite parade and one that many of our family rides in is Endymion.
PARADES AND PARTIES: For a complete parade schedule, use this Mardi Gras parade schedule guide. The last week of the carnival season is a lot of fun. Locals and tourists traditionally dress up in costumes and fill the streets in celebration. Thursday-Tuesday is the BEST time to visit and join the fun. Many host parties and attend balls associated with each krewe, however, the French Quarter hosts the largest party of all.
HISTORICAL LOUISIANA CUISINE: Locals like myself mark the carnival season with traditional New Orleans cuisine. Join us on Fat Tuesday and celebrate with these classic dishes like Red Beans and Rice, Dirty Rice, Jambalaya, Chicken Gumbo, Cream Cheese King Cake recipe, Cornbread, Praline Dip, Creole Sausage Kolaches, and Cajun Chex Mix.
New Orleans Mardi Gras King Cake Praline Cracker Candy
- 40 saltine crackers
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup hot water
- 4 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon or cinnamon extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup green, yellow, purple sprinkles
- ¼ cup pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray very well with cooking spray.
- Line saltine crackers into rows and columns pushed together with no spaces.
- In a medium saucepan, bring butter and brown sugar to boil for 3 minutes. Stir in cinnamon.
- Very slowly and lightly drizzle the hot caramel toffee over the crackers while spreading it across the crackers. Push any crackers together that the caramel separates.
- Place in oven and bake for 5 minutes. Push any crackers together that caramel gets in between.
- Microwave chocolate chips in the microwave on power level 3 for 7 minutes. Don't use a silicone spatula to stir it as this can be a common source of moisture that will ruin the chocolate.
- Heat water until hot. Whisk together powdered sugar, water, and light corn syrup, cinnamon, and almond extract until smooth.
- Pour melted chocolate into the frosting. Stir to combine until fully incorporated and smooth.
- Evenly spread poured fondant across cracker topping.
- Top with purple, green, and yellow sprinkles. Top with pecans. Allow to cool. Slice and serve.