You can imagine my surprise then when one day, I completely lost my taste for it. When I became pregnant, I imagined wine would be the thing I would miss most but, as it turns out, I don’t really miss it at all.
Bodies are amazing things, aren’t they? It’s as if my system knew I couldn’t have wine. My hormones tweaked my palette just so, turning what I once considered one of life’s great pleasures into something that tastes utterly wretched. Pretty convenient, I would say, it’s made going dry these past 7 months rather easy.
Of course, this isn’t to say I haven’t developed other vices…
If you had told me a year ago that I would be craving sugar and caffeine in place of my beloved wine, I would have laughed you out of the room. Of course, I shouldn’t be consuming much of those either… but some in moderation is perfectly fine. The general rule among physicians these days seems to be ‘no more than 1-2 cups of coffee a day’ and ‘sugar in moderation.’
Moderation. This I can work with.
It’s bizarre, having a sweet tooth again, sometimes I still can’t really fathom it. As an adult, I have been strictly salt-and-fat-tooth. I would rather have seconds on dinner than dessert. In fact, I usually considered dessert to be an inconvenience (I know, it’s weird)- a pleasantry to be politely eaten, even though I would have preferred seconds on that lasagna instead.
Not these days…
A few weeks back, my in-laws were coming over for brunch and I requested my MIL bring a particular cake she is famous for making. A cake. Icing, layers, the full meal deal. I think even she was surprised with that request. (update: she did make the cake and it was heavenly. Anything for grandbaby 😉 )
The other afternoon, when I hit my usual 2-3pm coffee/sweets craving, I was reminded of these perfect pastries. My sister and I, both starving students once upon a time, used to frequent a little cafe in Gastown called Bonchaz. I had originally discovered the little cafe after a classmate of mine brought a flat of their sweet little buns to school. Her and her partner had just opened the little coffee shop, with a base menu rooted almost entirely off of one utterly perfect recipe- the cookie crusted, fluffy interior, perfect little bites they called “bonchaz.”
Even as a non-sweet-toothed, non-preggo, I was hooked. Megan and I would go in to Bonchaz on rainy afternoons, order one very large French press coffee for two and a bonchaz each. The total came to less than $6 and we would spend hours in the cafe preaching the good word of the ‘bonchaz’ to anyone who would listen.
So, the other day, when I started craving a bonchaz, but was no one near Gastown (or their newer Main Street location), what was I to do?
Research. That’s what.
After drooling over the Bonchaz website, I discovered that their buns were inspired by a traditional Mexican Concha bun. A little lighter, with some very interesting flavours, but essentially- that’s where I had to head. Conchas.
Maybe it’s the butter I used, or the rainy Pacific Northwest weather, but it took me a couple times to refine this recipe before I deemed it ‘bonchaz’ ready. I kept it simple- no fillings or flavouring this time, but in the future I will certainly experiment with those. Because, of course, I will be making these again and again. I love supporting local businesses, but I can’t always truck my butt downtown.
Soft, sweet, light, fluffy interior, with a perfect, crispy, crumbly, lightly spiced cookie crust on top. Traditional conchas are named so after the shell patterns drawn on top, but feel free to have fun with the patterns.
Serve hot out of the oven alongside some coffee or hot chocolate and feel all the stresses of your day melt away…
|Sweet 'Concha' Buns|| |
- ⅔ cup warm milk
- ⅓ cup warm water
- 3 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- ~3 cups all-purpose flour
- Streusel Topping:
- 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
- 1⁄4 cup butter
- 1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add milk and water to a bowl. Liquid should be warm but not hot. Add yeast and leave for 5-10 minutes until foamy. If the yeast does not foam after this time, either the liquid was too hot or the yeast is past its expiry.
- Add sugar, butter, egg, salt and 2 cups of flour. Mix until a sticky dough forms. Kneading with your hands (or in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment), sprinkle in the remaining cup of flour until the dough is smooth, elastic, and tacky but not sticky. Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size- roughly 2 hours.
- While you are waiting for the dough to rise, you can prepare the streusel topping. Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Stir in flour. Mix in cinnamon and vanilla extract. The mixture will be fairly crumbly at this point, but you should be able to form it into a ball with your hands. Roll the ball into a disc shape and slice the disc into 8 uniform slices. Using your hands, pat each of these slices into a thin, flat disc, roughly 4 inches in diameter.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Once the dough has risen, punch it down and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on a parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Gently cover each ball with a flattened streusel disc. Using a sharp knife, cut a decorative design into the streusel. Traditionally, shell shapes are sliced, but you can any pattern you like.
- Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet roughly halfway through the baking time.
- Enjoy warm, with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate.