Concha Is The Cookie Alternative Your Ice Cream Sandwiches Need

With Dia De Los Muertos quickly approaching, now is as good a time as any to try some favorite traditional Day of the Dead foods. While you could always try something safe and familiar like Mexican hot chocolate, flan, or tamales, conchas are another popular bakery item you definitely have to try.

Taking their name from their resemblance to a seashell, conchas are a combination of a brioche-like sweet bread and a crumbly cookie topping. There are no limits to the cookie flavor that can be used for conchas, as proven by Pan Artesanal in Chicago, whose Hibiscus Cheesecake Concha is truly one of the best pastries in the U.S.

It's not uncommon to find conchas filled with whipped cream or chocolate, so why not ice cream? Ashley Leon-Vazquez learned first-hand how amazing it is when her sister, Amber Bobadilla, dipped her concha into Leon-Vazquez's ice cream while they were working together.

After putting horchata ice cream in between two halves of a concha, they knew they had something special for their coffee shop, Horchateria Rio Luna. People would wait in line for hours to buy a Concha Ice Cream Sandwich at their Paramount, California location. "The concha ice cream sandwich is one of the items that put us on the map," Bobadilla told King Arthur Baking. The union of the cookie-encrusted Pan Dulce with sweet, melty ice cream is a dessert concoction you won't soon forget.

Conchas are easy to make or purchase

A concha's sweet bread is made with wheat flour, milk, sugar, butter, eggs, yeast, vanilla extract, and salt, while the cookie dough is flour, sugar, vanilla extract, and butter. You can also add cinnamon, cocoa powder, or any number of spices or flavors. Besides vanilla and chocolate, conchas can be found in an assortment of reds, greens, or even pink colors.

What kind of ice cream to use is up to you. In Chicago, Panaderia Nuevo Leon has a unique variety of concha ice cream sandwiches on their menu, such as the Chocolove, which is a chocolate concha, chocolate ice cream, Nutella, chocolate chips, and Cocoa Puffs. The bakery has also created vegan options, like La PB&J, which consists of a vegan chocolate concha, chocolate ice cream, strawberry syrup, and peanut butter and chocolate cereal.

While it's definitely possible to simply put a scoop of ice cream in the middle of the concha and eat it with your hands, toppings are often added, requiring this dessert to be eaten with a fork. They can be anything your heart desires, whether it be caramel syrup, nuts, rainbow sprinkles, or strawberries and whipped cream. For a Day of the Dead concha ice cream sandwich, try a brightly colored concha with horchata or dulce de leche ice cream, a cinnamon churro topping, and cajeta. Conchas are a Mexican bakery staple, so if you don't feel like baking, you can buy some, and easily make your own concha ice cream sandwich.