These cocoles de anise are a perfect treat to enjoy with your morning coffee! A soft, pillowy, anise bread from Mexico. They are pure comfort food and super easy to make at home.

Cocoles de anís are a type of sweet bread popular in Mexico that belongs to the category of pan dulce. This rhombus-shaped bread is prepared with a dough made from wheat flour, flavored with anise seeds, and sweetened with piloncillo.

At my home, like in many Mexican homes, cocoles are usually enjoyed for breakfast with cafe de olla or hot chocolate, or in the afternoon as a sweet treat opened and spread with nata…yum!

I am sharing with you my easy recipe to make this delicious anise bread at home. I also included many step-by-step photos of the entire process so it will be easier for you to follow it.

A cocol anise bread opened to see the fluffy inside texture.

Ingredients

  • Flouruse all-purpose flour.
  • Yeastused instant dry yeast.
  • Piloncillo + white sugarI used ground piloncillo, but it can be substituted with regular piloncillo, you just need to grate it so it will incorporate nicely into the dough.
  • Lardor substitute with butter or shortening.
  • Anise seedsuse powdered anise or a mortar to grind the seeds.
  • Cinnamonpowdered.
  • Waterlukewarm.
  • Salttable salt.
  • Egg washmade from one small egg + 1 tablespoon of water.
  • Sesame seedsfor decoration.
Ingredients for the sweet anise bread

How to Make Cocoles de Anís

Place flour, piloncillo, sugar, yeast, ground anise, powdered cinnamon, and salt into a stand mixer bowl. Mix to combine. Add lard and water, and knead until you’ll have a smooth and elastic dough.

Tip: The dough should be a little bit sticky, you can add 2-3 more tablespoons of flour but not more or your bread will become too dry after baking.

The dough kneaded into a stand mixer bowl.

Make a ball with the dough and place it in a greased bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm environment until almost doubled in size (about 1 hour).

The dough proofed after two hours.

Lightly flour a working surface and transfer the dough there. Divide the dough into 10 pieces.

Shape each piece into a ball, then roll each ball forth and back while lightly pressing the outer edges to form a sort of sausage with pointed ends.

Flatten the dough first with your hands, then use a rolling pin to roll it and give it a diamond shape.

A piece of dough flattened and sharpened into a diamond.

Place the cocol on a greased baking sheet and repeat until you use all the dough.

Tip: Use two baking sheets so the pieces are at least 2 inches apart from each other and won’t stick.

Raw cocoles placed on a baking sheet.

Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm environment to rest for 30-40 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 360°F/180°C.

Combine the egg with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush each cocol roll with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Cocoles proofed and decorated with sesame seeds.

Bake for 20 minutes or until nicely golden brown. If you want to bake the two trays, make sure to rotate them after 10 minutes, moving each sheet from bottom to top.

Freshly baked cocoles on a baking tray.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes, then transfer the cocoles to a cooling rack and let them sit until cool down completely.

Tips & Tricks

  • I strongly recommend using a kitchen scale if you want to achieve consistent results on this anise bread recipe.
  • Knead the dough thoroughly until nicely smooth and elastic. This helps develop the gluten, which contributes to the bread’s structure and texture.
  • Don’t feel tempted to add more than 3 extra tablespoons of flour than the recipe calls. The dough should be slightly sticky. Give it time to rest and it will develop the gluten and become less sticky.
  • Preheat your oven to ensure even cooking and browning.

Storing This Sweet Anise Bread

Cocoles last up to 4-5 days if stored in an airtight container at room temperature. I recommend leaving the container in your pantry or in a place away from sunlight.

You can also freeze this sweet anise bread for up to 2-3 months. I usually do it by wrapping each cocol with plastic wrap and then placing all pieces in a resealable bag.

When I want to enjoy them again, I just thaw them overnight at room temperature and give them a quick warm-up in the oven.

They make an awesome breakfast if you cut them in half, toast them, and spread them with cajeta or jam!

Close-up of anise bread cocoles.

What is The Origin of Cocoles?

The origin of the cocol bread dates back to the time of the conquest because the idea of baking bread came with the Spaniards. Thus, the inhabitants of the Valley of Mexico learned to prepare it and adapted the recipe to local ingredients.

The cocol is one of the most traditional breads in central Mexico. Its name comes from the Nahuatl word cocolli, which means golpe (blow or hit). It’s easily recognizable by its dark color and rhombus shape.

This rhombus-shaped bread may include sesame seeds, although it is quite common to find it without them. It is prepared with anise seeds and dough made from wheat flour sweetened with piloncillo.

More Mexican Bread Recipes

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Cocoles de anise, Mexican anise bread recipe.

Cocoles de Anís

10 cocoles
This Mexican anise bread is pillowy, aromatic, and slightly sweet. Enjoy in the morning with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee or as a treat in the afternoon spread with butter.

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • cup ground piloncillo (or packed brown sugar)
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup lard (or shortening or butter)
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • ½ Tablespoon ground anise seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 small egg
  • Sesame seeds (as needed)

Instructions
 

  • Place flour, piloncillo, sugar, yeast, ground anise seeds, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl. Mix to combine.
  • Add lard and water, and knead until you’ll have a smooth and elastic dough.
  • Make a ball with the dough and place it in a greased bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm environment until almost doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  • Lightly flour a working surface and transfer the dough there. Divide the dough into 10 pieces.
  • Shape each piece into a ball, then roll each ball forth and back while lightly pressing the outer edges to form a sort of sausage with pointed ends.
  • Flatten the dough with a rolling pin to give it a diamond shape.
  • Place the rolled pieces on two greased baking sheets. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm environment to raise for 30-40 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 360°F/180°C
  • Combine the egg with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash.
  • Brush each cocol roll with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until nicely golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes, then transfer the sweet rolls to a cooling rack and let them sit until cool down completely.

Notes

  • Click on the “metric” link if you want to use a kitchen scale for this recipe and ensure better results.
  • Don’t feel tempted to add more than 3 extra tablespoons of flour than the recipe calls. The dough should be slightly sticky. Give it time to rest and it will develop the gluten and become less sticky.
  • Cocoles last up to 4-5 days if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 cocol | Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 66mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 22IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 3mg
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Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Mari! they came out perfect! thank you for the recipe, I was craving those so much and your recipe was so easy to follow :D

  2. 5 stars
    I baked it recently, and the aroma and taste were simply heartwarming! The slightly sweet, spiced bread is a delightful treat with a cup of tea or coffee.