Conchas (Mexican Sweet Bread)

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Since I moved to California I enjoy visiting latin/hispanic mini markets. There is one kinda close to where I live and they have a small “panaderia” section where they sell fresh bread everyday. I love sweets so I discovered these beautiful sweet breads called “conchas”. They are soft, have a nice vanilla flavour and they are topped with a crunchy and crumbly topping which can be chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, etc.

This sweet bread goes perfect with a nice cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

Let’s start with the recipe!

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Yield about 14 regular size conchas

Ingredients

For the sweet bread

3 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (you can use bread flour too which will make your buns softer!)

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar

2 and 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs at room temperature

1/2 cup milk (warm)

For the topping

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

2/3 cup white granulated sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

food coloring gel (optional)

*extra butter (melted) to brush the tops of each dough ball (this will work as a glue so the tops glue well to the bun)

Directions

For the sweet bread

1.- In a big bowl, mix flour, yeast, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Mix.

2.- Now, we add butter (use the hook attachment of your mixer) and mix in medium speed for a couple of minutes. Add eggs and keep mixing in medium speed. Add vanilla extract, milk little by little and mix for about 7-8minutes. If you see your dough needs a little bit of milk, add more, just add 1 teaspoon and see if you need more. Your dough will form a ball and won’t stick to the sides of the bowl.

Place this dough on top of a floured surface and shape a nice dough ball with your hands but do not overwork it.

3.- Place this dough ball into a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm place in your kitchen. I usually place my bowl into my oven (with the heat off) . The colder your kitchen is, the longer it will take your dough to double in size. It took about 2 hours for me but my kitchen was pretty warm.

For the topping

1.- In a bowl and using your mixer (I used my paddle attachment) mix your butter for a couple of minutes, then add your sugar and keep mixing. Add in flour and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.

2.- Now, you have the option to color your topping. I divided my dough in 2. One for chocolate topping and other just plain vanilla but you could use gel food coloring to add any color you want.

If making chocolate like me, add the cocoa powder and mix/knead until all is well combined.

To assemble the conchas

1.- Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into 14 equal parts and form balls.

2.- Brush the tops of each dough ball with the melted butter.

3.- Take about 2 tablespoons of the topping and rollout using our palms, flatting it down into a thin round. Place it carefully over the round of dough, patting down lightly. Repeat this process for all the conchas.

4.- Using a knife cut grooves in the topping like a clam shell. You can do other shapes too. Place each bun on top of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover them and let them rise until double in size, about 30-45 minutes.

While your conchas are rising, preheat your oven to 350 F.

5.- Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool them a bit!

Enjoy!

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