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Conchas

Concha (Mexican sweet bread) is a breakfast or snack pastry found all over Mexico. It has a fluffy brioche-like dough with a crispy streusel topping, scored to resemble a shell. The pastry can come in a variety of colors and other shapes, but I prefer the plain and chocolate streusel. —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. + rising Bake: 15 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    1 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 to 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, ground
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk

Directions

  • In a large bowl, mix sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon and 2 cups flour. In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter to 120° -130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Add eggs; beat on high 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough (dough will be sticky).
    Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
    Meanwhile, to make streusel, in a large bowl, beat butter, flour, sugar and vanilla until combined. Divide in half. Mix chocolate into 1 half; set aside.
    Punch down dough. Divide dough into 12 portions; form each into a 3-in. oval. Place 2 in. apart on parchement-lined baking sheets. In a small bowl, whisk egg with milk; brush over dough. Divide plain streusel into 6 portions; roll each into a 3-in. circle. Place over half the rolls. Repeat with chocolate streusel and remaining rolls. Using a sharp knife, cut through streusel on top of rolls to resemble a clam shell.
    Cover with kitchen towels; let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. Brush rolls with remaining egg wash. Bake until tops are lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Concha toppings are similar to the topping covering unbaked macaroons to create a crispy crust. You can also add a little food coloring to color the plain streusel for different occasions.
  • Conchas can be formed and cut in different shapes and grooves.
  • Conchas are freezer-safe up to a few months. Thaw on a baking sheet; reheat in foil in a 350F oven for 10 minutes.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 roll: 475 calories, 19g fat (11g saturated fat), 89mg cholesterol, 229mg sodium, 67g carbohydrate (19g sugars, 2g fiber), 9g protein.
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