Monday, 2 September 2013

Cochas - a yummy twist

I have not had time to bake or cook much since we got here with work and all, and I have been feeling the need to create so yesterday I woke up, sent S on an errand to buy breakfast, and ignored the kids while I whipped up a batch of Conchas.
For those of you that have never eaten or heard of Conchas, Conchas are a typical Mexican sweet bread that are covered with psychedelic neon sugar frosting either in pink, yellow, brown, or white. Typical flavorings include strawberry (strawberry flavored milk powder), pineapple, chocolate(powdered chocolate milk mix), vanilla. So I set out to make the bread and do at least the vanilla and chocolate, but I also wanted to experiment because I can never leave well enough alone.
I found this great recipe for Conchas on the site La Cocina De Lesley. I am reposting it here with my changes:


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 packet instant or quick active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup very warm water

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups flour

  • 1 cup powdered sugar plus up to 1 cup extra for those pieces that are too sticky
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon diced/pulverized cocoa from a log from Antigua(substitue cocoa powder if you have it)
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • rind from 1/2 a tangerine
  • 1 tsp orange extract


Mix all ingredients for the sponge in your mixing bowl, and let sit a min of 15 minute (if you are like me, you will forget about the sponge and it will sit for 45 minutes - it's OK!). Look for small bubbles to show that the yeast is working.  While the sponge is sitting and bubbling away, put the milk in the dough section in a pan with the butter. Warm up slightly until butter is mostly melted - do NOT boil. Then, remove it from the heat and add it to the proofed sponge(the already bubbled yeast mixture). In a small bowl, mix the egg, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add this to the sponge along with the flour.  Mix away.
I noticed that my mixture was too dry, so I added more milk which really helped. After the dough mixed for like 6 minutes, it became  nice ball that was elastic and not sticky so I took the dough hook out and let the dough sit in a corner and rise.
My helpers?
MEANWHILE.... make the topping. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and the flour and butter to a bowl. Use you potato masher or dough cutter to cut in the dough. Then add the vanilla and use your fingers to mix the mixture until it looks a little bit like wet sand.  At this point you ant to separate it into three pieces and add your flavorings. To one piece add the chocolate, mint leaves, and peppermint extract. To another piece, add the orange peel and orange extract - also to this one you can add food coloring if you wish. Work the ingredients in with your fingers - add more powdered sugar as necessary to keep the topping from being a sticky mess. Once everything is well mixed, put it in the fridge to chill.
The dough should be nice and doubled by now, but it could take up to 90 minutes to rise. Once the dough is risen, cut it in half, then cut each half into about 6 -7 pieces. Roll these into ball shapes and set on a greased baking sheet to rise again. I think I needed to let mine rise a bit more, but at this point the kids were going crazy with lack of supervision so I had them help and didn't get a full rise in.  
Preheat your oven to 350
Take your topping out of the fridge and cut it into either 4 or 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten with your hand to the size of the top of the concha. Cover each dough ball with the topping and cut pretty design into the topping. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until slightly browned.

Yes people, that is a knife and my kids like to eat flour.
These were very delicious, I would recommend eating them the day they were made, but you can always save them for another day. I like dunking them in my coffee.