Pan Dulce are dome-shaped sweet rolls with a sugar topping of vanilla, chocolate, or lemon etched into a shell design on top.  Although they are best when baked at home with a little bit of love, you can find these in almost all Mexican neighborhood bakeries or grocery stores. They are a delicious treat for the entire family. 

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • ¾ cup warm water (105 f to 115 f)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter or margarine
  • 1 egg yolk

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl; let yeast mixture stand 5 minutes. Add ¾ cup sugar, melted butter, 2 beaten eggs, and ½ teaspoon salt to yeast mixture, and beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until ingredients are well blended. Gradually add 3½ cups flour, beating until mixture is smooth. (Dough will be sticky.)  
  2. Place dough in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85'), free from drafts, 1 ½  hours or until doubled in bulk.
  3. Punch dough down; turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until dough. is smooth and elastic (2 to 3 minutes). Shape dough into 18 balls, and place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Flatten each ball slightly.  
  4. Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, ground cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium mixing bowl; cut in ½ cup butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in egg yolk.  
  5. Shape mixture into 18 balls; roll each ball to a 3-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Using a metal spatula, place one circle on top of each roll. (Circles should completely cover the top of each roll.)
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  7. Score through topping and halfway through roll with a sharp knife, forming a swirl or a crisscross design. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Makes 18 servings

Family Cooking Tips:
Although the process of making bread and letting it rise can be tricky, kids can still play a part in the process. Have them time the 5 minutes it takes for the yeast to dissolve. Younger or older children can crack and beat the two eggs. Older kids can help feed flour into the mixing bowl as you beat it.

It’s important to find a warm, draft-free spot for the dough to rise. Have your kids scout out locations around the house and select one together.  Younger children can grease the bowl where the bread will rise.

After the dough has risen, kids of any age can punch the dough down — just make sure that they’re not too rough with their punches. Older kids can knead the dough and divide it into the 18 balls, but it’s best to have adult supervision as they do this. Make sure to have an adult do the scoring, since it involves a sharp knife. Instead, put kids in charge of timing the 10 minutes it takes for the rolls to bake.

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Pan y mermelada para Francisca / Bread and Jam for Frances (English or Spanish)
by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban, translated by Tomás González
Frances, the badger, is a fussy eater who only wants to eat bread with jam for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

La gallinita roja y la espiga de trigo / The Little Red Hen and the Ear of Wheat (English or Spanish)
by Mary Finch, illustrated by Elisabeth Bell, translated by Esther Sarfatti
Traditional story of the little red hen who bakes a loaf of bread and whose friends want to share in eating but not in helping. 

La señora de la panaderia / Bakery Lady (English or Spanish)
by Pat Mora, illustrated by Pablo Torrecilla, translated by Gabriela Baeza Ventura
Monica, who wants to be a baker like her grandmother, finds the doll hidden in the bread on the feast for the Three Kings and thus gets to bake cookies for the next fiesta.

Jalapeño Bagels (English)
by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Robert Casilla
Story of a young boy who brings something to school that reflects the backgrounds of his mother and father.

Bread Is for Eating (English)
by David and Phillis Gershator, illustrated by Emma Shaw-Smith
Illustrated story of how bread is made from the seed in the ground until it comes out of the oven. 

Sun Bread (English)
by Elisa Kleven
Sun, fun and dough are on the rise in this tasty picture book about a baker who helps brighten up her snowbound town. Sun bread recipe included.