These Mickey-inspired pan dulce are the perfect merienda (afternoon snack) for your Día de Reyes celebration on January 6, or just to enjoy with a fresh café con leche on the weekend.
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- 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 1 packet active dry yeast (see instructions on yeast packaging to activate)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 3-1/2 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder if using
- Stand mixer with bread hook
- Concha cutter
- Activate the yeast by following the instructions on the packaging. Be sure the yeast is foamy or bubbly; if it’s not, toss out and try again.
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix to combine.
- Mix in the melted butter, milk, and beaten eggs until combined; then, attach the dough hook and add the activated yeast mixture. Mix on medium low for about 5 to 8 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth. FYI: The dough should be slightly tacky, but not sticky. If sticky, add a small amount of flour until tacky.
- Grease a large bowl with butter or vegetable oil; place the dough in bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Set the bowl in a warm area and allow it to rise, doubling in size. Note: This may take up to 2 hours.
- When the dough has risen, divide it into 12 to 14 pieces. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, then shape the dough into balls. TIP: To make the Mickey head shape, use one ball for the head and divide another ball to make the ears.
- Set the balls aside on parchment-lined baking sheets while the topping is made.
- Mix together the flour, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract in a bowl with a spatula. Mix until a smooth paste is formed.
- Separate out desired amount to add food coloring or cocoa powder, if desired.
- Divide the topping to equal the amounts of dough balls. Remember, the ears count as one ball!
- Roll out balls of topping and then flatten by hand to be about the same size as a dough ball. Then press down on the dough ball to flatten it a bit; place the topping onto the flattened dough and gently spread the topping to cover the top and sides.
- Use the Concha cutter or a sharp knife to gently cut the pattern into the topping without cutting the dough underneath.
- Place the dough balls far enough apart on the parchment-lined baking sheets for the dough to rise. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a clean towel and allow to rise for another hour. The topping will separate and maybe crack—that’s normal.
- When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 350°, and bake on the center rack for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the bread is lightly golden.
- Allow to them to cool before moving. The topping is delicate and brittle.