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« Brownout: A Tale and Tasting of Two Brownies from 1923 | Main | Cake Byte: Complete Cuteness at CakeSpy Shop »
Tuesday
Jul062010

South of the Border: A Sweet Suite of Treats from Mexico

CakeSpy Note: We just spent a long weekend celebrating the USA; now that it's over, why not celebrate some of the sweet treats from our neighbor to the south, Mexico? Here's a profile on some sweet treats which are popular in Guadalajara, Mexico, which is where Cake Gumshoe Aislinn lives. Here's her report:

So, initially I went scouting for the prettiest pan dulces I could find, but of course I couldn't find "biscocho."  On an interesting note, though, my husband, who is Mexican by origin, says that (at least in our region in Mexico) "biscocho" is also a slang word for a cute girl.

Nonetheless, I found several other kinds of cookies and a pan dulce that are very common here in Mexico.  I wish I could send you many more, because there are many delicious options for baked goods here, but it's a start!

First, we've got a "concha" (shell), named for the pattern of the sugar topping.  Conchas come in white, brown, pink, and yellow.  They are supposed to be different flavors, but the only difference is that the brown topping sometimes tastes a teeny bit like cinnamon (although my husband swears the brown ones taste better than the other colors and therefore will ONLY eat the brown ones).  The bread itself is fluffy and voluminous, but with a different texture than, say, a croissant.  Pan dulce tends to be denser and no where near as sweet as European or American baked goods.  They are meant to last several days and to be eaten with coffee or Mexican hot chocolate so that the bread softens up a little in the mouth.

Note: authentic Mexican hot chocolate does NOT have chili in it, and if you ask for chocolate / chili combination, Mexicans look at you like you're speaking an alien language.

Next up is a "budin" (pudding), which comes in the shape of a pig.  The budin usually comes in the shape of a pig and is sometimes slathered with a thin layer of chocolate on top.  The budhin is very dry and has a taste and texture reminiscent of bread.  I am sure these have several different names in different regions, because when one looks for a "budin" recipe, most of the results are pudding recipes.

The third cookie (pictured top) is actually called a cookie ("galleta").  I happened to pick the colored sprinkle cookie ("galleta con grangea") because it makes me happy, but the cookie cookie also comes in chocolate or vanilla and is sometimes topped with pecans ("nuez").  The cookie taste like a crumbly shortbread cookie, but without the butter flavor.

The last one is a "vidrio" (glass pane).  The vidrio is another cookie I imagine has several different names.  The vidrio also comes in several different forms or shapes: round multicolored, square multicolored, or triangle in chocolate and vanilla.  The cookie itself is much sweeter than the others and has almost a sand-like texture as it falls apart in your mouth.

Note: Upon further reflection, I also retract my earlier statement.  If I had to guess from the taste and texture, I'd say most to all of the cookies that are made with fat are probably made with vegetable shortening.

Want to learn more about Mexican sweets? You'll find some information in this history of Tex Mex / Mexican food, recipe links and info here, and in case you were wondering, yes, there was a Mexican Pastry War.

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Reader Comments (12)

What a fun post hilighting other treats from our neighbors! Your list of fun Mexican treats reminds me of the alfajores I was lucky enough to share after a friend returned from Argentina. They are quite fun.

July 6 | Unregistered CommenterMargo

This is great! I'm mexican and yes, we have awesome Pan Dulce! :)
I'm proud of my country's baked goods :D
BTW, I didn't know that all Conchas were the same! I always thought the brown ones were chocolate conchas... well, maybe the ones I've eaten were, but who knows :P

July 6 | Unregistered CommenterSofia

These all look familiar! I'm living in Mexico right now and love to try out new pan dulce from the panaderia. :D My current favorite is the "nido"...the muffin-like interior with the sugar-dusted puff pastry wrapped around it. Yum! I think I'll have to put up a post saluting Mexican baked goods on my blog soon too!

July 6 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

omggg i love conchas, they are probably one of my fave mexican treats :)

i've never heard the term budin for those cookies. i've always called them cochitos [little pigs], maybe you can find more results with that.

July 6 | Unregistered Commenterkaren

omggg i love conchas, they are probably one of my fave mexican treats :)

i've never heard the term budin for those cookies. i've always called them cochitos [little pigs], maybe you can find more results with that.

July 6 | Unregistered Commenterkaren

That concha looks sort of like the pineapple bun the Canto have in their cuisine - it's not pineapple flavoured, but it looks sort of like one with its topping! Google it - the topping is sweet and insanely delicious.

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July 6 | Unregistered Commenterwasai

hi, im from mexico city and indeed we are the only country in the world that has over 2.500 different types of pan dulce and they´re made with 40-50 types of dough. every mexican aprox will eat 33 kg a year.. jajaaj thats why we are fatty!
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