The 6 Things You Need to Make Just About Any Disney Dessert
No trip to Disney World is complete without a few things: (1) riding the Splash/Space/Thunder Mountain trifecta, (2) getting “It’s a Small World” stuck in your head for eight hours straight, and (3) eating your weight in Mickey-shaped treats on a stick. Long after you’ve left the park, the lingering scent of churros and other Disney desserts sticks with you, making you wish you could just hop on a plane and grab one whenever the craving strikes. Unless you’re Jeff Bezos, that probably isn’t a realistic option, but after working on a cookbook with Disney a while back, it hit me: With the right tools, you can make most of those sweets at home. Here’s what you should have on hand to make the Happiest Place on Earth your own kitchen.
1. 4-Inch Mickey Mouse Cookie Cutters
This baby is good for so much more than making Chef Mickey’s Sugar Cookies (a park staple). Whip up a batch of crisped rice treats, and before they cool, spritz the cutter with cooking spray and easily cut out Mickey-shaped snacks. Or line the bottom of the cutters with foil to recreate the lava cakes renowned at Shanghai Disneyland Resort. (They’re even used to mold the Mickey-shaped onigiri sandwiches at Camp Woodchuck Kitchen at Tokyo Disneyland.)
When shopping around, you’ll see tons of sizes available, but Disney recommends the 4-inch size for most of its dishes.
2. 6-Inch Lollipop Sticks
Theme park food is all about portability, so it’s no wonder that some of Disney’s most famous treats are served on a stick. Whether you want to make Mickey caramel apples, cake pops, Churro Wands or Tigger Tails (aka four jumbo marshmallows coated in caramel, white chocolate, orange sprinkles and a chocolate drizzle), you’ll want extra-long lollipop sticks for easy decorating—and snacking. (Don’t waste your time with those dinky 4-inch sticks.)
3. Large Marshmallows
Marshmallows aren’t just the basis for Tigger Tails; they’re also the core ingredient in Marceline’s Confectionery’s Churro Wands (they, too, are coated in caramel sauce, then white chocolate, before being dusted in cinnamon sugar and graham cracker crumbs). And, psst: Want to know how Disney creates the mouse ears in its Mickey caramel apples? They cut a marshmallow in half, using the sticky sliced portion to “glue” the ‘mallow to the apple. Keep a bag of these on hand, and you’re halfway to having your own confectionery at home.
4. Candy Melts
Sure, Disney calls for melting white and semisweet chocolate in its recipes, but if you want to avoid tempering chocolate and coloring it by hand, Candy Melts are a convenient shortcut. (Plus, you don’t have to worry about the coating seizing up and getting gritty.) They’re available in just about every color imaginable, but most Disney treats call for classic semisweet (brown), white, red and yellow.
5. A Double-Flip Waffle Maker
The highlight of any Disney breakfast buffet is the Mickey-shaped waffles. Now, you can make six at a time, thanks to this double-sided waffle maker. The “flip” function leads to easier browning—and removing from the pan. Depending on what you pair them with, these waffles could work for breakfast, a la mode for dessert (use chocolate batter and top with espresso mousse, and you’ve got one of Animal Kingdom’s most popular treats), or as dinner—simply with a chicken patty doused in honey-sriracha, and you’ve got Magic Kingdom’s Sweet & Spicy Chicken and Waffle.
6. A Disney-Authorized Cookbook
If you want to glean insiders’ secrets into how theme park treats are made, look for a Disney-authorized cookbook—and make sure it notes that it includes dishes featured in the parks. Kitchen Magic with Mickey is a classic, featuring a range of dishes from the parks and cruise ships, like pumpkin cheesecake and Carnation Café’s roasted garlic shrimp pasta. If you want to make just about every dessert mentioned in this story, pick up Delish Loves Disney (full disclosure: That’s the book I worked on). And if you don’t mind waiting a bit, preorder Delicious Disney: Walt Disney World. It doesn’t come out until April 5, 2022, but this cookbook celebrates the Florida resort’s 50th anniversary, featuring a mix of stories and iconic recipes from the last half-century.