Seashell Sweet Breads

Concha Pan Dulce

Concha (seashell) is a pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread) with a beautiful topping that resembles a seashell.

Sweet breads were influenced by the French and Concha is the most popular of all the Pan Dulce. They can be found in every panderia (bakery) in an array of colors like white, yellow, pink, or brown and in different flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, or chocolate. They are traditionally eaten for breakfast or snack with milk or hot chocolate.

The brioche bun has a subtle sweetness with a soft, powdery cookie-like crust. My recipe uses copious amounts of Mexican vanilla and a chipotle chili chocolate topping.


For dough:

All purpose flour (4 1/2 cups)

Dry active yeast (1 package or 1 tbs)

Sugar (1/2 cup divided)

Salt (1 tsp)

Milk (3/4 cup)

Butter (1/2 cup)

Eggs (3 large)

Mexican vanilla extract (1 tsp)

For topping:

Vegetable shortening (1/2 cup)

Confectioner's sugar (1 cup)

All purpose flour (1 cup)

Mexican vanilla extract (1 tbs)

Cocoa powder (2 1/2 tsp)

Chipotle powder (1/8 tsp)

Cinnamon (1/8 tsp)

Prepare dough:

  1. Warm milk to 110F and pour the milk in your stand mixer and mix in yeast (1 package or 1 tbs) and half the sugar (1/4 cup). Let stand for 5 minutes until it is nice and bubbly. If there are no bubbles forming, this means your yeast is dead and will need to start over with a new package of yeast.

2. In stand mixer bowl, hand whisk eggs (3), vanilla (1 tsp), and remaining sugar (1/4

cup). Then mix in melted butter (1/2 cup) and in the flour (4 1/2 cups). Attach the

dough hook and run the mixer speed to medium for 5-7 minutes until the dough

comes together. The dough should be smooth and not tacky. When you press it, it

shouldn't stick to your finger and the dough should spring back.

3. Oil a large boil, and transfer the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm dry place for at

least 2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Prepare topping:

  1. While the dough is rising prepare the topping.

2. Soften the shortening (1/2 cup) with a spatula until creamy. Mix confectioner

sugar (1 cup) and flour (1 cup) together. Mix the shortening into the flour and sugar

mixture until a paste forms.

3. Add in Mexican vanilla extract (1 tbs) and mix in.

4. In a separate small bowl, mix cocoa powder (2 1/2 teaspoon), cinnamon (1/4 tsp),

and chipotle powder (1/4 tsp) together.

5. Divide the topping mixture in half and transfer the other half in a separate bowl.

6. In one bowl, mix in the cocoa powder, cinnamon, and chipotle into the paste until

evenly distributed.


  1. Between two pieces of parchment paper. Divide topping to 12 equal pieces. 6 pieces each for vanilla topping and 6 for chipotle chocolate topping.

2. Roll piece into a ball and flatten with palm of your hand. Roll into a disc with a

large enough diameter to cover the buns.

3. Once the dough has risen after two hours, place each disc over the top of each


4. With a very sharp knife or razor blade, lightly score a seashell design on the sugar

toppings. Be careful not to score the dough.

5. Lightly cover the buns with a plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes or doubled

size. After they have risen, you will see the scores have separated revealing your


6. Bake at 350F for 18 to 20 minutes until the bottoms are golden.

Culture grows around the kitchen table. I love making food from around the world and learning about their culture. See more in my @tinyhappykitchen on Instagram or join my discussion forum #MoskowitzCooks on Fishbowl.

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