Mickey Pretzels


I am a huge soft pretzel fan so naturally the snack I seek out like Copper (#FoxandtheHound) at Disney is the Mickey Shaped Pretzel. But what if you could have this adorable, soft, salty snack at home? Good news you can! These pretzels are not rolled and tied like a traditional pretzel but cut out with have Mickey’s features. I used a scratch dough recipe but I think a packaged pretzel mix would also work for these if floured sufficiently until no longer sticky. I was a little intimidated when I started making these and it took a few tries to find a method to pull them out of the baking soda water (read on) intact… don’t give up on these though! They taste great and are another nostalgic snack to take you back to your last trip or hold you over until your next one.
This is yeast-based dough has a very short rise time – for bakers with little patience for multiple rises or long proofing times this recipe is perfect. I used my stand mixer fitted with a dough hook to bring the dough together and got a three minute arm workout kneading it on my kitchen counter. If you're nervous about kneading dough or you've avoided recipes such as bread no fear! Kneading bread involves folding the dough onto itself, pushing down and away from your body with the heel and palm of your hand to stretch the dough and allows gluten chains to form resulting in a delicious Mickey pretzel. Just don't forget to re-flour your surfaces as needed! Check out the video below to watch me knead.

As I let the dough rest under a towel I was able to prep the baking soda water bath, turn on the oven, and get the pans prepped for baking these pretzels in the oven. The baking soda water bath partially cooks these pretzels and helps with the Maillard reaction (#sciencerules) responsible for browning during the cooking process and alters the ratio between sugar and protein creating the distinctive flavor compounds in a crunchy yet soft pretzel.



Although this isn’t the first time I’ve made pretzels I think this is my favorite version by far. They have a shiny, golden exterior with a pleasing crunch as you bite into them. The inside is soft and pillowy. Paired with a cheese sauce with a hint of chipotle chili pepper spice these pretzels work as a snack in any situation. I was also able to make a regular pretzel and some pretzel bites out of dough scraps that wouldn’t make an extra Mickey. Experiment with shapes, sizes, and designs to see what you like best! I even used my Mickey shaped cookie cutter from our Mickey Rice Krispie Treats to make mini pretzel buns that will be perfect for sliders, sandwiches, or a vehicles for cheese spreads.
Mickey Pretzels and Cheese Sauce
Pretzel Dough
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) lukewarm water
  • 1 packet active dry or instant yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
  • 3 and ¾-4 cups (460-500g) all-purpose flour
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Baking Soda Bath
  • ½ cup (120g) baking soda
  • 9 cups (2,160ml) water
Cheese Sauce
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups whole milk           
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chipotle Chili pepper, optional
1.       Pour warm water into large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle yeast over water and whisk to combine. Allow to sit for 1 minute and become foamy. Whisk in salt, brown sugar, and melted butter. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon or dough hook attached to stand mixer until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add 1/4 – 1/2 cup more, as needed. I used a total of 4 ¼ cups of flour at high altitude. Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
2.       Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 3 minutes and shape into a ball. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
3.       Mix water and baking soda in large pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (204 degrees C). Prep two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, set aside.
4.       Separate dough into three pieces using sharp knife.
5.       Roll into sheets ½ inch thick with a rolling pin.
6.       Using a template about the size of a Mickey Pretzel, cut around the borders of the template with a paring knife as shown. Cut half moons for ear holes, an oval for the nose, sideways 3 (pointing down) for the eyes, and a smile. If something goes wrong in this step you can always start again or using bits of dough or your fingers to stitch things back together. It is quite forgiving.
7.       Once you are satisfied with your Mickey pretzel, slide it in to the baking soda bath using a spatula. Boil for 20-30 seconds. Using two large spoons or spatulas, support each side of the face and ear and lift the pretzel of the water and place directly on one of the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
8.       Bake pretzels for 12-15 minutes until they are a deep, golden brown.
9.       While pretzels are baking, melt butter in medium sized sauce pan over medium heat.
10.   Sprinkle with flour, and whisk for 1-2 minutes until a thick paste forms.
11.   Stream in milk and continually whisk, cooking until thickened. Once thin gravy-like consistency forms you are ready to add cheese – it will continue to thicken as the cheese is added and the sauce cools down.
12.   Add cheese in 2-3 batches, continuing to whisk. You can take the sauce pan off the heat if the sauce it getting too think and the cheese will continue to melt from the residual heat of the pan.
13.   Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili pepper to taste.
14.   Ding! Pretzels are done. Remove from oven and enjoy warm for best flavor and texture with cheese dipping sauce on the side.
If you aren’t sure about shaping the pretzels but still want to try the recipe, pretzels bites are super easy to create! Roll the dough into ropes ½ inch thick and cut into 1-2 inch pieces, boil in baking soda bath as described above, and bake. Super yummy and perfect for kiddos!
Making pretzels from scratch may seen like a huge challenge in the kitchen. This recipe will not let you down. Give these pretzels a try and let me know what you think! How do you like your soft pretzel? Mustard or cheese? Comment below!

Comments

  1. Soft, but crispy on the outside, and usually by itself but I do appreciate mustard once in a while! Excited to try these!

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