Conchas

The first time I visited a Mexican grocery store, some beautiful rolls with an attractive pink topping caught my eye.  I ADORE pan dulce, and can’t resist picking up at least a couple any time I go to a Mexican grocery store.  It didn’t occur to me until very recently that I should attempt to make my own.

The dough is incredibly easy to work with, and the flavor is superb.  The dough has a hint of cinnamon, and the pink topping (which is baked on) is sweet with a light vanilla undertone.  Not only will it make your kitchen smell glorious, if eaten when still warm there’s a good chance one of these will melt all your problems all away. Yep, all of them.  They’re just that good!
(adapted from allrecipes.com)

1 envelops active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3/8 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 egg
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 or 5 drops red food coloring

In a large bowl, stir together the yeast and warm water. Mix in the milk, 3/8 cup sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter, salt, egg and half of the flour. Gradually mix in the remaining flour, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
Turn the dough out onto a floured counter to knead as soon as it pulls together enough.
Knead for 6 to 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
Place in a large greased bowl, and turn the dough to coat.
Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Make the topping while the dough rises.
In a medium bowl, beat 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter until light and fluffy.
Stir in the flour until the mixture is the consistency of thick paste, then stir in the vanilla and food coloring.
When the dough is done rising, cut into 12 even-sized pieces.
Shape into balls, and place on a greased cookie sheet, spacing about 3 inches apart.
Divide the topping into 12 balls, and pat them flat. Place circles of topping on top of the dough balls patting down lightly.
Use a knife dipped in warm water (to prevent sticking) to cut grooves in the topping like a clam shell.
Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for about 16 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.

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