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Conchas – Pan Dulce

pan dulce

I have made conchas a few times, making adjustments each time to this recipe by Melissa Amador. This past weekend I think I finally got them just the way I like. Don’t be intimidated – try the original or my variation below. You’ll be surprised how easy it is and your house will smell like a panadería all day.

pan dulce

Conchas (Mexican-style Pan Dulce)

Ingredients:

5 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
8 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Topping ingredients:

2/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
a few drops red food coloring

Directions:

In a large bowl stir yeast and water. Add evaporated milk, sugar, butter, lemon extract, salt, eggs and half the flour. Gradually add the rest of the flour.

Knead on a floured surface. Work in an additional 1/4 to 1/2 of flour if the dough is too sticky. Knead for 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Form into a large ball. Put in a large greased bowl. Cover in a warm area. Let rise until doubled (1 hour)

Topping Directions:

In a medium bowl beat sugar and butter. Stir in flour until it is like a paste. Mix in vanilla and red food coloring until desired pink color is achieved. (The food coloring is optional, but I think it’s pretty.) Set aside.

Back to the dough:

Cut dough into 24 equal pieces. Form into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. (Twelve per cookie sheet works for me.) Divide the pink topping into 24 balls. Cover each dough ball with a thin layer of topping by pressing the pink topping flat into a disc-shape on top of the dough ball. You do not want the topping to be thick or it will fall off after baking. (See image)

conchas dough

These conchas have had the topping applied and decorated. Here they are rising under a cloth in a warm place.

Use a knife to cut grooves into the top of each concha. You can also use a drinking glass to make a pattern with curved lines.

Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

Bake in 375 F oven on middle rack for a little less than 20 minutes.

Yield: 24 conchas

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