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Conchas de Pan Dulce

Conchas de Pan Dulce are a Mexican sweet bread made with a soft and buttery dough. They are topped off with a sugary topping designed like seashells. Just perfect with for breakfast with a hot chocolate or coffee.
Prep Time2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: dough, yeast bread
Servings: 14 buns
Author: Lora


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 ounce envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water 100 to 110 degrees
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter plus 1 Tablespoon reserve 1 Tbsp for brushing the rolls, melted
  • 4 1/2-5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered cocoa


  • Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature. Meanwhile, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl (*you could make this in a mixer or in a bowl stirring with a wooden spoon). Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  • If using a mixer, beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, eggs and butter (if making by hand, stir it in with your wooden spoon).
  • Beat in cooled milk.
  • Gradually add the flour and salt, scraping down side of bowl, until a soft dough forms. Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead the remaining flour into the dough, adding more flour if too sticky. Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth. The dough will be soft.
  • Grease a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Make the chocolate and vanilla-cinnamon topping: In a medium bowl, beat 2/3 cup sugar, cinnamon and ½ cup butter until fluffy (make either in your mixer, or by hand). Stir in the flour and mix until it resembles a thick paste. Take half of it and set it aside. Take the other half and mix it with the powdered cocoa until well blended. Wrap the toppings in plastic and put them in the refrigerator to firm up.
  • Cut and shape the dough into 12 - 24 balls, depending on the size you want (I made 6 chocolate and 8 plain. With the leftover dough, I made cinnamon rolls).
  • Line a cookie sheet with lightly greased parchment paper. Place balls on the cookie sheet and gently flatten each ball with the palm of your hand. Space balls 2 ½ - 3 inches apart.
  • Roll out the chocolate and vanilla toppings under plastic wrap.
  • Take a bowl or a glass that is wider than the balls of dough to cut the topping into circles.
  • Very carefully score the toppings to make shell designs. Be sure to use a very sharp knife.
  • Gently place it over each ball of dough.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.Let the balls rise for another 20-30 minutes. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.


Directions to Freeze: 
To freeze, bake the conchas and leave them on a baking rack to cool completely.
Place on a baking sheet and transfer to the freezer and chill for 1 hour.
Transfer the pan dulce to a freezer-safe container and/or zipped lock bag.
Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw when ready to eat.