These Rum Raisin Rolls are inspired by such rolls I ate long, long ago at a restaurant long forgotten in a place I know not of. It was before our first son was born and I would sometimes meet my husband after he shot an assignment. It was the most-free I can remember being. Just married, no children and a world to travel. Continue reading
Conchas are a not overly sweet roll often served at breakfast with coffee or hot chocolate in Mexico. While I will admit I haven’t thought of Mexico terms of sweet bakery items, these sweet rolls definitely made me rethink. Also known as Pan Dulce and Sweet Bread this buttery yeast dough is flavored with cinnamon, vanilla and anise.
Named for the sea shell, Conchas have a decorative finish that is easy to make although it looks challenging and what is even more special, the finish can be as colorful as Mexican tiles or left white.
When I researched this recipe, I found a reference to anise, one of my favorite flavors. So, in addition to cinnamon and vanilla, I added anise for an unusual flavor combination that dances in your mouth.
The recipe for Conchas couldn’t be easier or more straight forward. Mix the wet ingredients, mix the dry ingredients and combine them. That’s it.
I’m always excited to find a new recipe, new flavors or something I didn’t know about. I hope you will be as happy as I am to have found these.
Thank you Mexico!
4 cups all-purpose flour (560 grams or 19 2/3 ounces)
1 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast*
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter (114 grams, 4 ounces or 1 stick)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon anise extract, optional
Fit the mixer with a dough hook if available. Combine the butter, sugar, milk, eggs, salt, vanilla, and anise extracts in the bowl of the mixer. Whisk to break up the eggs.
Add the flour all at once, beating on lowest setting until combined. Raise the speed slightly and beat for 3 to 4 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft.
Spray a container at least twice the size of the dough with a non-stick baking release. Place the dough in the container and cover. I place plastic wrap directly on top and then cover with a towel or lid. Mark the time and let rise for an hour or so until doubled.
Because this dough is heavy in butter, sugar and eggs it can be a slow riser, especially if the room is cool. I put mine in the oven with the light turned on to ensure a warm environment.
After it has risen, you can continue or deflate the dough and refrigerate overnight. The dough may or may not rise again but it doesn’t matter either way. I find rich doughs much easier to shape if they are cold.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces about 90 grams or 3 ounces each. Shape into rounds, placing the on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Topping for the Conchas
1/2 cup butter, softened (114 grams, 4 ounces or 1 stick)
2/3 cup granulated sugar (135 grams or 4 3/4 ounces)
1 cup all-purpose flour (140 grams or 5 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer and beat until smooth.
Gel Food Coloring as needed, optional
1 egg white, opitonal
Sanding sugar, optional
Divide the topping into 2 or more portions if coloring. Color each piece using cocoa for brown. Use gel food coloring of your choice. Knead the coloring into each piece of dough.
Using a #40 disher/scooper portion out 12 balls for the topping. Alternatively use 2 tablespoons of dough per roll. Flatten one piece into a thin round between the palms of your hands. If it isn’t large enough to cover the roll, put it on the work surface and flatten it with your fingers. Drape it over the roll. Pat it lightly in place.
With a knife, cut grooves in the topping in the shape of a clam shell or any other design you like.
Cover and let rise until almost doubled.
If using the sanding sugar, beat the egg white until foamy. Very lightly brush onto the decoration and immediately cover with sanding sugar.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350°F. Double Pan and bake for 20 to 22 minutes until lightly golden brown. Cool.
Alternative decoration: If you don’t feel like making the topping, brush the rolls with beaten egg white after they have risen and sprinkle heavily with sanding sugar or Swedish Pearl sugar. Bake as directed.
Yield: 12 Conchas
Storage: Best eaten the same day, these can be held at room temperature for a day
Note: I would like to thank Adrianna of A Cozy Kitchen whose recipe I adapted. I think my decorations cracked more than they should have because I took the topping all the way to the very bottom of the rolls. My suggestion is to keep them about 1/4 to 1/3 inch above the bottom of the roll.
I can’t remember when I started thinking about these German Chocolate Sweet Rolls which are based on the German Chocolate Cake. While the name implies the cake comes from Germany, that is not the case. According to NPR, “The name comes from Sam German — who was either an American or an Englishman, depending on what you read.
In 1852, he invented a style of sweet baking chocolate for the Baker’s chocolate company. The company named it after him, but “German’s Chocolate” didn’t become well-known until 1957. That’s when a Texas homemaker sent her now-legendary cake recipe to a Dallas newspaper.
Somewhere along the way, German’s Chocolate Cake lost its apostrophe-s, leaving Germany holding the credit for a classic American dessert.”
This dough, because it is heavy in chocolate and butter, needs a cozy, warm place to get going. I heated the oven to 350°F for exactly one minute, turned it off and put the dough in with the oven light on to keep the temperature low but warm. After an hour I removed it and let it finish rising at room temperature where it became light as a feather, exactly as I wanted it.
While I normally like to hold my yeast dough in the refrigerator for a day or two to develop more flavor, the dough for these German Chocolate Sweet Rolls is easiest to shape immediately after it has risen. And this dough is a cinch to roll out. It doesn’t spring back and keeps its shape. It doesn’t have to be perfect either.
Filling and shaping these rolls is much easier than it looks with waves of the traditional German Chocolate Filling rippling through the finished rolls. These German Chocolate Sweet Rolls are definitely worth making. And I’d be willing to bet that if you make them once, you’ll make them again.
German Chocolate Sweet Rolls Filling
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar (130 grams or 4 1/2 ounces)
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup butter (75 grams or 2 2/3 ounces or 5 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sweetened coconut (85 grams or 3 ounces)
3/4 cup chopped pecans (85 grams or 3 ounces)
Combine the milk, sugar, egg yolks and butter in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened, about 12 minutes. If you draw your finger through the mixture, it will stay divided. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cool completely and chill. This filling can be made several days ahead. Keep it refrigerated until filling the dough.
If you forget to make this ahead of time, just make it as called for then spread it out thinly and refrigerate it. It will be cold and ready to use by the time the dough finishes rising.
Chocolate Yeast Dough
2 cups bread flour (280 grams or 10 ounces)
1/3 cup sugar (65 grams or 2 1/4 ounces)
1/3 cup Dutch cocoa (30 grams or 1 ounce)*
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter (60 grams or 2 ounces)
3 ounces semisweet chocolate (85 grams)
1 teaspoon instant coffee
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (1 package, 7 grams or 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla
*Natural cocoa can also be used if that is what you have.
Combine the milk, butter, chocolate, and coffee in a small saucepan. Heat until the butter and chocolate have melted. When the mixture has cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast and vanilla. Let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes so the yeast softens.
In the bowl of a processor, add the bread flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt. Pulse several times to mix.
Pour the cooled liquid over the dry ingredients and process until a soft ball forms. Process 30 seconds to knead. Place the dough in a large container sprayed with a baking release and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap. Then cover the container with a lid or foil.
Preheat the oven to 350°F for ONE MINUTE with the LIGHT ON. TURN THE OVEN OFF. Place the dough in the oven for 1 hour. Remove it from the oven and let it finish rising at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 more hour.
Filling and Shaping for German Chocolate Sweet Rolls
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12″ x 14″ rectangle.
Lightly mark 4 1/2″ strips in from the edge of the dough on each side.
I then use a ruler mark the 4 1/2″ all the up the dough.
Spread half the filling (about 235 grams or 8 1/3 ounces) evenly over the center strip.
Bring the right side over to cover the center strip and spread the remaining filling over the top of this strip of dough.
Bring the left side of the dough over to cover the filling. You will have a 4 1/2″ x 12″ rectangle.
Place it on a tray and transfer to the freezer to chill. It should be firm but not hard.
Spray a six-hole Texas muffin pan well. with a baking release.
Remove the filled dough from the freezer and mark the dough every inch along the 12” side. Allow the dough to soften at room temperature for a few minutes to shape it.
Cut two strips of dough Take one strip and hold each end twisting it by rotating your hands in opposite directions. Place it in a muffin cup along one side. Twist a second strip and place it in the cup on the other side.
Tuck the edges of the second twist firmly down into the sides of the cup. It is easiest to do this by using a small flexible spatula and pulling the dough already in the cup back a bit so the edge of the new piece will fit snugly against the side of the cup.
Continue to fill all of the cups with 2 strips of dough each.
Preheat the oven for 1 minute as above. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let the rolls rise until they come to the top of the cups or slightly above.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the filling is lightly browned on top and the dough is set. Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes then carefully go around the edges to release them.
Leave them in the cups. Let the rolls cool completely. Go around the edges of the cups again and turn the German Chocolate Sweet Rolls out onto a cooling rack.
Note: While any yeast product is best the day it is made, these German Chocolate Sweet Rolls are great even three days later if wrapped individually in plastic wrap and held at room temperature. These may also be baked, wrapped individually after cooling and frozen for a month. Thaw at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the rolls back in the muffin tin. Cover with foil and heat for about 15 minutes.
Yield: 6 large sweet rolls. Although I only made the large rolls, 1 strip of twisted dough could be used in regular size muffin cups. The baking time may need to be reduced.
You might also enjoy the following recipes:
These Swedish Cardamom Yeast Rolls have so much going for them. Known as Kardemummabullar, the dough is easy to make in the processor or mixer and interestingly has no eggs. It is wonderfully soft and really easy to roll out. Any yeast dough is best eaten the day it is made but these are great even the next day.
Cardamom is a spice that is not generally used in America. It holds sway in Indian cooking and Scandinavian baking. I ran across these yeast rolls while searching for something else on the internet. I can see using this spice a lot more. Continue reading
Kolache, (pronounced ko-lah-chee) the Czech pastry, can be sweet or savory. This blog features the sweet version. I have updated some of the fillings for a wider variety. Although poppyseed and prune fillings are traditional, I omitted them because I thought six was truly enough. The fillings are given in tablespoons since most of the Kolache require a tablespoon or more and the amount needed can be calculated using the yield information if you want to make more than one flavor.
I suggest you pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, get a glass of wine or otherwise prepare for this longer than usual blog. But the end result is amazing. The fillings are applicable to other pastries and this dough can be used countless ways. This is actually an easy to make sweet roll that I promise you will make over and over again.
These are amazing pastries with an easy to make dough that handles well. The fillings can be made days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The dough must be made a day ahead. Assembly is easy and in no time you have Kolache. They can also be made large or small and freeze well. Continue reading