The week before Christmas usually has many of us in the kitchen, either prepping for festive get-togethers or trying to satisfy the kids as school takes a break over the holidays. Presents aren’t wrapped, gifts haven’t arrived, the dog is always eating something mysterious, and no one knows why the floor is sticky. If you are anything like me, you might get caught up in all the fantastic recipes and ideas you see on social media, vowing to add those wow-factor dishes to your holiday presentation.
Then, a week before the date rolls around; you are out of time and energy. What isn’t going to happen is that experimental 3D pastry tree with a different filling in each branch. Even if you wrote it on the to-do list, accept early on that you won’t get to it and save yourself the disappointment.
Instead, this year I am going back to basics with simple appetizers that I know will impress the family and also buy me more time to finish those main courses that were late to get started. One thing I love to make is Mickey Mouse Pretzels. Adding savory flavors to the top and serving them with dips always gets the attention of those hard-to-impress guests at the party, and they are super easy to make; you can even enlist the help of the kids and make it a family activity.
What makes this even better is that I also like to take a shortcut on the cheesy dip. Get a round of Brie Cheese, something good quality if possible, but whatever is on special a the time will also do. Grab some filo pastry (the really thin stuff) and wrap the cheese in the pastry, using a pastry brush to coat in melted butter between each layer. I do this between 4 and eight times (depending on how much I care at the time), flipping it over each time to keep the pastry together.
Cook in the oven until golden brown. If you make mini pretzels, use a cheese knife to cut the brie, and guests can help themselves using the pretzels instead of water crackers. Another option is to use a single sheet of puff pastry, and once cooked, cut off the top like a bowl and use your pretzels to dip into.
How you like your pretzels is a very personal thing, so below, I’m going to give you both the D23 Mickey Pretzel recipe from Disneyland and, my preference, the recipe critic version, which is a bit more work but worth it:
Store-bought pizza dough (room temperature)
Sea salt flakes
2 egg whites, whisked
Store-bought cheese dip or mustard
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Use a non-stick cookie sheet.
- Allow the store-bought pizza dough to reach room temperature.
- On a lightly floured surface, cut the dough into 4 pieces to make 4 pretzels.
- Working on 1 pretzel at a time, separate the dough into 3 balls, one ball larger than the other two.
- Roll out the largest piece for the head and the smaller pieces for the ears. Tip: Don’t over-flour the dough; keep it sticky.
- Create 3 circles with the dough. The large circle will be Mickey’s head, and the two smaller circles will be his ears.
- Make sure the small circles are attached to the large circle. The dough should be sticky enough so his ears are attached to create one fun pretzel!
- Brush the pretzel with the egg whites and lightly sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
- Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with a cheesy dip or mustard!
Ingredients to Make Disneyland’s Mickey Pretzels
The great thing about making these pretzels at home is that the ingredients are simple. In fact, you probably already have them all in your kitchen. Because these are so easy to make, they will become a go-to for your family! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.
- Warm Water: The warm water will be used to activate the yeast. Make sure that it’s not too hot or it will kill the yeast.
- Active Dry Yeast: This makes the pretzels rise.
- Granulated Sugar: A little bit of sugar gives these pretzels the perfect flavor.
- Salt: This salt goes into the dough and will enhance all of the flavors in the recipe.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter in this recipe.
- Flour: All purpose flour works fantastic for these Mickey pretzels.
- Oil: You will add the oil to the top of your rising dough.
- Hot Water and Baking Soda: This mixture coats the dough and is what will give the outside that golden and crispy texture.
- Butter: I like to use saleted butter for this part of the recipe.
- Coarse Salt: Add this on top before you cook them and it will be the best part!
- **Optional: Dip these in this delicious homemade cheese dip.
How to Make Homemade Mickey Pretzels
This recipe is straightforward and it can be made by even the most beginner bakers! Try these out and then make them with your kids. They will love shaping the dough into Mickey!
- Proof yeast: In a stand mixer add the warm water and yeast. Allow the yeast to bloom and then become bubbly, about 5 minutes.
- Make dough: With the dough hook attachment, add the sugar, salt, melted butter, and the flour 1 cup at a time. If the dough is too dry then add in 1 more tablespoon of water.
- Knead and let rise: Remove the dough from the bowl and knead into a ball. Place the dough into a large bowl and then add the oil on top. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
- Roll and shape: Preheat the oven to 450°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Then, roll each piece into a long rope, pinching and rolling the two ends together to make a circle from the dough. Twist the dough into a Mickey Mouse head with the two ears and head.
- Dip into water/baking soda mixture: Add the hot water and baking soda in a medium sized bowl and then whisk to dissolve the baking soda. Dip each pretzel into the bowl and them place them on the prepared baking sheets. You may need to reshape them a little.
- Add butter and salt: Brush the pretzels with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake: Bake for 8-10 Minutes, until the tops of the Mickey pretzels are golden brown.
If you are ready to get fancy with your pretzels, after you have brushed the tops, sprinkle with some salt and rosemary or your herbs of choice, and enjoy the extra touch of magic. Other topping ideas include garlic and chili flakes, oregano, lemon, thyme, or sesame seeds.
I love doing this in my house; it looks really impressive with very little actual work involved – my favorite combination. Give it a try, and let me know how it goes for you.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.