Anybody who’s a true fan of the Disney Parks subscribes to one simple reality… That all food tastes better when it’s Mickey-shaped.
Pretzels are no exception.
On their own, they are pretty tasty, but something magical happens when you form them into the shape of the world’s most famous mouse. Wait, did I just talk about food and mice in the same sentence? Moving on…
For years, people have been asking me to show them how to make this recipe. While I’ve pretty much perfected my soft, buttery pretzel recipe, I could never quite figure out how to make it look like it does in the parks. It may sound crazy, but the shape of the pretzel really impacts how it bakes (and by extension, how it tastes), so even with the right recipe, without the right shape, I just didn’t have the true Disney experience.
Then, last night while I was surfing Disney food pictures on Instagram, I came across a picture of a Mickey pretzel, and it hit me. The secret to making the Mickey pretzel thanks to the number “3”.
Confused yet? Well, let me explain…
After staring for far too long at somebody’s Instagram snap of a Mickey pretzel, it dawned on me that Mickey’s eyes look like a sideways number “3.” That’s when I realized that they don’t wrap the pretzel into that famous Mickey shape, they cut it.
I ran to the kitchen, pulled out my cookie cutter in the shape of a three (what, you don’t have random cookie cutters in the shape of numbers in your kitchen?) and got to baking.
When the first batch came out of the oven I realized that I had nailed it. I had made the perfect at-home Mickey pretzel.
Seriously people, I feel like I’ve unlocked one of the great mysteries of the universe and it feels (and tastes) so good!
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour (up to an addtional ½ cup if dough is too wet)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
- 1 package (2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
- 1½ cup warm water, divided
- Pretzel salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- Combine flour, salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, yeast, and 1 cup water in a bowl. Mix until the dough incorporates all of the liquid, then knead dough by hand or with a mixer until soft, smooth, and elastic, about 5 minutes. If dough is still too wet, add up to an additional half cup of flour until the dough is soft and no longer too wet to handle.
- Dust dough with flour and place in bowl. Wrap the top with plastic wrap and let dough rest 30-40 minutes. Dough will rise slightly.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured working surface and divide into 4 equal parts. Allow pieces to rest 5-10 minutes.
- Flatten dough into a disk shape, pulling the top slightly to form what looks like a flattened heart. With a sharp knife, slice a slit into the two top bumps of the heart to form the ears. Pull the dough to really define ear area. Dough will expand during baking, so be sure to make ear area large and well defined.
- Beneath the ears, using a cookie cutter in the shape of a "3," cut the eyes by turning the "3" sideways, open side of the 3 facing down. Remove excess dough.
- Beneath the middle of the eyes, form the nose by cutting a small slit and shaping the opening into a well-defined sideways oval.
- Finally, beneath the nose, cut the smile with and pull to define the open-mouthed smile. Cut the sides to shape Mickey further, if desired.
- Arrange cut Mickey pretzel on a cookie sheet lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick spray or on parchment paper. Brush liberally with remaining ½ cup water mixed with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar (to aid browning and crisping of crust). Sprinkle lightly with pretzel salt and allow to rest uncovered for 10-15 minutes.
- Repeat with remaining dough balls.
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- After 10 minutes and pretzels have risen slightly, bake 4 minutes in 500 degree oven, turn baking sheet, and bake an additional 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and while on the cookie sheet, brush liberally with melted butter. Be sure to use all the butter. It seems like a lot, but the more butter, the better and more authentic it tastes.
- Eat warm from the oven or reheat in a toaster oven. Best enjoyed warm.