A few years back, I developed a recipe for dark chocolate pan de muerto(day of the dead bread). It was so tasty, that my husband and I still talk about it to this day. Of course I always planned and preparing it again, but you know how that goes. A couple times a year, I will bake some conchas(pan de huevo), when that craving its. I thought what better way to bake conchas and have that dark chocolate bread that we enjoyed so much. I was on a mission! So with a few adjustments on the original (pan de muerto) recipe, here are these delicious and rich looking dark chocolate conchas right out of my oven! I try to only bake recipes like this when I know I will be sharing at the community lunch. Otherwise it would simply be too much bread for my husband and I. But, my friend Mely Martinez from Mexico in My Kitchen gave me the best tip ever! She says that many times, when preparing conchas she will prepare the recipe and when she gets to the second proofing of the bread, she adds the topping and freezes them! Freezes them on a baking sheet and once frozen, she stores them in a freezer bag. When she is ready to bake them, she simply takes out what she wants and lets them proof and come to room temperature before baking! Genius! Now, if I only had room in my freezer! Lol! That’s another story all togther.
Dark Chocolate Conchas
This was all prepared in the stand mixer, except for the last few minutes of kneading. Just take your time and let the stand mixer do most of the work. You will have to stop often to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to help it along the way.
1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 teaspoon suagr
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons shortening, at room temperature
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder( I used Hersheys Special Dark)
1/3 cup grated piloncillo or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup warm water(110-115 degrees)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 teaspoons nescafe, instant coffee
1 1/2-2 teaspoons fresh ground canela(Mexican cinnamon)
3 or more cups bread flour
You Will Also Need
3 ounce disc of Mexican chocolate, finely crushed
1/3-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, room temp.
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon(fresh ground canela)
3 teaspoons vanilla
Tips~ If you want a colored topping, you could add a few drops of food coloring after you mix the ingredients together.
In the bowl of the stand mixer, add 1/2cup warm water, 1 1/2 teaspoons of dry active yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir to combine and let sit for 10 minutes.
Attach the paddle for mixing. Add the butter, shortening, cocoa powder and brown sugar. Mix for a minute until incorporated. While the mixer is running on low, add the other 1/2 cup of warm water, eggs, one at a time, nescafe and cinnamon. Mix well.
Switch to dough hook attachment and at speed number 3, gradually add in the flour. As it gets thicker, reduce speed to number 2. This will take a little while. Stop to scrape down the sides as often as you need. When the dough begins to pull away from the bottom and sides of the bowl, it is ready.
Transfer dough to a flat surface that is lightly dusted with flour. Knead as little flour as possible into the dough for just a few minutes. Place dough into greased bowl and cover with kitchen towel. Place in a warm spot and let rise for 90 minutes.
When ready, transfer dough to a flat surface and divide into 12 equal parts. Keep dough lightly covered as you work. Take one piece of dough at a time and shape and flatten it into a round disc, about 3 inches across. Use you thumb to gently make a well in the center. To the center add a spoonfull of the crushed Mexican chocolate along with some of the dark chocolate chips. Carefully bring up the sides and gently twist to secure the chocolate in the center. Gently form into a ball and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Pat down slightly.
Once all the conchas are filled and placed on baking sheets(6 per pan), cover with kitchen towel and let proof or rise for another 45 minutes. While dough proofs, prepare the topping. Remember that if you want to color the topping for the conchas, you will have to separate into different bowls and add desired food coloring.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Divide topping into 12 equal balls. Place ball in a tortilla press lined with plastic. Gently press to form the disc that will cover the bread. Cover each one with pressed topping. Use a small, sharp knife to score the tops. Don’t cut in too deep. Bake for 15-20 minutes If using two shelves to bake, you may have to rotate the bottom pan up once the top one is done.
Do not overfill or there is a good chance the dough may rip when you are trying to conceal the chocolate and shape the concha.
The large ones were extra large! The dough ball looks small, but it will bake up alot larger.
Adding the topping after it proofs for the second time worked much better for me.
If a knife comes out clean and does not feel sticky, the bread is done.