I have been a bread addict for as long as I can remember.
When I was three, I had to undergo minor surgery. According to my mom, someone in recovery brought me strawberry ice cream and I asked if they’d give it to the kid in the next bed. And if they could please bring me some bread and butter instead
When I was eight, I let my cousin take the fall for some bread that I’d hollowed out.
I used to pick the cheese and sauce off of pizza and only eat the crust.
For years, the only things on the Thanksgiving table I would touch were the green beans, the pumpkin pie, and the crusty rolls.
The onset of a wheat allergy culled my bread consumption dramatically. Gone were the feasts of artesian bread dipped in a mixture of sriracha and olive oil. See ya hefeweizen. And I just assumed I’d never eat Mexican sweet bread conchas ever again.
Thank the good Lord for GF flour, right?
If you’ve never tasted conchas, I’m sure you’ve at least seen pictures of them all over instagram. They are traditionally rather eggy and brioche-like on the inside, with a soft shell of brightly colored patterned sugar on the outside. That’s where they get their name — concha means shell in Spanish.
Conchas are made out of two separate doughs — the bread dough, and the shell dough. After rolling the bread dough out, you whip up the shell dough. It’s mainly lots of powdered sugar and softened coconut oil, with flour and aquafaba for stability. I cook with white beans a lot, so I always have a good quantity of aquafaba on hand.
After making the shell dough, you divide it up and color it as you please. If you use liquid coloring, like beet juice, you may need to firm up the dough with a little extra flour. Then pat each bit of colored dough into a thin disk and lay it over the prepared bread dough. Sort of like you’re covering it up with a blanket to take a nap.
This is when you get to cut a design into the sugar shell. There’s actually a specific Mexican dough cutter you’re supposed to use to make a pattern on the shell, but I just made patterns with cookie cutters and knifes.
Bake them right up. They’re traditionally breakfast food, so they taste wonderful with coffee, obviously.
But if you have them late at night instead, with a side of whiskey, I won’t tell. 🐚
- 3 1/2 cup gluten free flour, divided, lightly sifted
- 15 tbsp sugar, divided
- 2/3 cup aquafaba, divided
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 envelopes of yeast
- 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla, divided
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup softened coconut oil, divided
- assorted natural colorings: beet juice, turmeric, matcha, blueberry juice
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- additional flour for dusting
- Mix 3/4 cup of flour, 5 tbsp sugar, 1/4 cup of aquafaba, 1/4 cup of warm water, and the yeast. Let sit 1/2 hour.
- Combine 2 cups of flour, 10 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1/4 cup aquafaba, and 1/2 cup softened coconut oil. Stir in yeast mix.
- Allow to sit another 1/2 hour.
- With floured hands, divide dough into 12 equal balls. Slightly flatten the balls on a cookie sheet.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Combine remaining flour, powdered sugar, remaining aquafaba, remaining vanilla, and remaining coconut oil. This will be the soft, sweet, sugar shell.
- If desired, divide the shell dough up and tint with food colorings
- Divide the shell dough up into 12 equal pieces.Flatten pieces to discs and the lay discs over the dough balls.
- Use a cookie cutter or knife to gently press designs into the sugar cap.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
adapted+veganized from rustica