Every year, thousands flock to New Orleans for the annual Mardi Gras celebration: days filled with parties, costumes and, most importantly, great food. If you can't make it to what some have called "the greatest free show on Earth," you and your family can bake a slice of the fun at home by making this traditional Mardi Gras delicacy.
In large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and undissolved yeast. Heat milk, water and butter until very warm (120° to 130°F). Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs and 1/2 cup flour. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in remaining flour to make a stiff batter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.
Punch dough down. Remove dough to lightly floured surface. Divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll each to 28 x 4-inch rectangle. Brush melted butter over each rectangle; sprinkle evenly with remaining 3/4 cup sugar and ground cinnamon. Beginning at long end, roll each up tightly as for jellyroll; pinch seams to seal to form ropes. Braid ropes; form braid into oval. Pinch ends together to seal. Place on greased baking sheet. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Bake at 375°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Remove from baking sheet; let cool on wire rack. Brush with Powdered Sugar Glaze; sprinkle with Colored Sugars.
Powdered Sugar Glaze: In medium bowl, combine 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted; and 2 to 3 tablespoons milk. Stir until smooth.
Colored Sugars: Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 8 drops of green food coloring in a covered jar or resealable plastic bag. Shake vigorously to evenly mix color with sugar. Repeat procedure with 1/2 cup sugar and yellow food coloring. For purple, combine 8 drops blue and 16 drops red food coloring before adding to 1/2 cup sugar.