Gooey Mardi Gras Praline Bars Recipe

Gooey Mardi Gras  Praline Bars Recipe
Every once in a while a food brainstorm and subsequent test (usually several tests) turns out better than expected. Thinking that I would adapt a gooey cake recipe to include Praline flavors for Mardi Gras, the following Gooey Mardi Gras Praline Bars is the result. As you may already know, traditional gooey bars were developed in the 50s in St. Louis, and variations have been delighting sweet lovers for decades. For these bars, I made the crust as is – a yellow cake mix with melted butter and an egg – pressed into a pan. The topping, which is usually cream cheese and powdered sugar with eggs was changed in this recipe to cream cheese, brown sugar (only 2 cups rather than 4), eggs, and vanilla; it was spread over a generous amount of pecan halves and baked. Because I wanted to add purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power) sanding sugar to the top (the colors of Mardi Gras), I made a quick glaze from brown sugar, butter, a little whipping cream, and powdered sugar and spread it over while the bars were hot. The sanding sugar stuck to the warm glaze so that the bars were colorful and festive.
The amazing end result is a cross between a praline and pecan pie – ethereal!

Although these Gooey Mardi Gras Praline Bars don’t resemble those traditional gooey bars at all, they are now a “must bake” at Mardi Gras time at the Hancock house. The Official Hancock Tasters devoured them, and even Mr. Picky (head taster and pickiest eater on the planet) ate them for both dinner and breakfast. The end result surpassed all expectations, and this is one treat that everyone will love. The bars look great on a buffet table, or are perfect for delivering to friends. They also keep several days if they are hidden.

24 Servings

1 yellow cake mix (15.25 ounce or 18.25 ounce)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg

2 cups pecan halves

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons whipping cream

Green, Purple, and Gold sanding sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Spray a 9" x 13" glass baking dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Crust: Mix the cake mix, butter, and egg; press evenly into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle with the pecan halves.
  5. Filling: In a food processor (easiest) or mixer, mix the cream cheese, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth; spread over the pecans.
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the top is set.
  7. Meanwhile, make the Glaze: Place the butter and brown sugar in a microwave safe container; microwave 1-2 minutes until the butter is melted and bubbly.
  8. Whisk until the brown sugar is melted.
  9. Whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue whisking until smooth, adding enough whipping cream to make a glaze consistency.
  10. When the bars are baked, remove from the oven and spread the glaze over; sprinkle with the sugars decoratively (I do diagonal stripes so that squares have different colors).
  11. Cool thoroughly before cutting into 32 bars.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 310 Calories from Fat 161
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 52% Protein 3% Carb. 45%

Nutrient Amount per Bar
Total Fat 18 g
Saturated Fat 7 g
Cholesterol 52 mg
Sodium 234 mg
Total Carbohydrate 35 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 10 g
Protein 2 g

Vitamin A 8% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 0% Iron 4%

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This content was written by Karen Hancock. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Karen Hancock for details.