One of the Best Mexican Sweet Bread Recipes
Pan dulce (literally, “sweet bread” in Spanish) refers to a wide variety of different sweets; the term is used as a catch-all term for pastries of all sorts. However, if you are familiar with pan dulce, what you probably think of is those roughly bagel-sized, slightly sweet rolls, often topped with a streusel-style topping.
This pan dulce recipe is along those lines and is great as a quick breakfast or a snack; like many Mexican sweets, it is less sugary than its American counterparts, making it a healthier alternative to donuts and other breakfast pastries. It also makes a great dessert, especially at weekend brunches.
This is the classic “concha” style of pan dulce, though you can use this same recipe to make any shape of pastry you like; horns are also popular. No matter what shape of pan dulce you decide to make, it is certain to be delicious with this easy to follow recipe.
The recipe is made is two parts. First you will be making the bread itself and then the topping. The bread is made by combining the ingredients to make a dough and then it is your choice whether to let it rise before you make the individual shapes and let it rise again or whether to skip the first rise and end up with a chewier texture. Both ways are good but the choice is yours.
The topping used is a sweet vanilla mixture which adds lot of flavor to the sweet bread and finishes it off perfectly. This is a typical Mexican recipe and you will really love the warm, fluffy bread. Because it is sweet, this is a recipe that really appeals to kids too, since they are naturally fond of sweet dishes.
- 1 tbsp (one package) dry yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp vegetable shortening or margarine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup warm water
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 4 eggs, beaten and at room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable shortening or margarine
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 3 tsp vanilla extract (may substitute other flavors if desired)
- food coloring (optional)
- Mix the warm water, 1 tbsp sugar, and yeast and allow the mixture to rest for ten minutes to activate. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and cream the shortening or margarine and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the eggs, then the salt, followed by the yeast mixture. Add the flour, a cup at a time and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes*, covered with a clean towel.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet and divide the dough into 16 pieces, rolling each into a ball. Place the balls on the baking sheet and push down gently to slightly flatten them. Cover the sheet and allow to rise for an hour.
- When the dough has about 15 minutes of rising left, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the topping; this is best done in a food processor or blender, mixing all ingredients together until they reach a smooth consistency. Dampen the top of each pan dulce (you can do this gently with wet fingers or by misting them with a spray bottle) and then top with a little of the topping (you can use it to make patterns on the bread if desired – spiral patterns are especially popular) and bake for 15-18 minutes or until they become lightly browned.
- *Note: If you would like your pan dulce to have a chewier texture, simply skip the first rise as many home bakers do.
This type of pan dulce recipe is actually very easy to make and turns out very well, even if you are not an experienced baker. You can try experimenting with different flavors for the topping and using different colors to add visual appeal. If you have children, they will love helping make these Mexican sweets, especially when it comes to the decorating stage. Once they are baked and have cooled, try enjoying them the way they do in Mexico – at breakfast or for a snack, with a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
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