I love Mexican sweet breads. It’s such a great treat to go to the Mexican bakery and pick all the delicious bread that everyone likes. Everyone has their particular favorite but an all around favorite is the cochinito which also goes by the name of puercitos, marranitos, cerditos and translates to little piggies. They are more of a bread than a cookie-kind of like a cake cookie? The ones in the bakery are larger than the ones I have made and do taste a bit more maybe gingerbread like? I have been trying to figure out the exact flavor of the cochinitos in the bakery. Those piggies are also a dark brown color so I just assume they must use a food coloring in them.
I made these piggies over the weekend and they were a great hit…even though they are not exactly like the ones in the bakery. If my entire family approves that means they are good…you have to trust people that love to eat!
They are just too cute! These can be eaten for breakfast with a cup of coffee or glass of milk in the morning. As a snack sometime during the day or even at night to fill your belly before bedtime.
Cochinitos (Little Piggies)
- 12 ounces piloncillo, chopped or grated, or substitute with 1 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick, 2-inch to 3-inch length
- 2 sticks or 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour, may need a bit more
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
- Butter to grease cookie/baking sheet
- 2 to 3 tablespoons all purpose flour, a bit more or less, to roll out the dough
- 1 egg lightly beaten, to be used as glaze
- Confectioners’ sugar to sprinkle on top, optional
In a saucepan, combine the grated piloncillo or dark brown sugar with the water and cinnamon. Heat over medium heat, once it simmers, adjust and lower heat to keep it at a low-medium simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it thickens to a light syrup consistency. Turn off the heat and remove the cinnamon stick. You should have now about 1 1/4 cups piloncillo liquid. Add the butter and the molasses into the hot liquid, and stir until it dissolves.
In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a whole in the center and pour the piloncillo mixture. With a spatula mix it all together in a circular motion until it is well incorporated. Lightly beat 2 eggs and incorporate them into the dough. The dough will be sticky and gooey.
Place enough plastic wrap in the bottom of a mixing bowl to have wings on the sides. With a spatula, push the dough onto the plastic wrap, wrap the dough, and refrigerate anywhere from 3 hours to overnight.
When ready to make the cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a couple cookie/baking sheets with butter. If using one sheet you may need to do a couple batches.
Remove dough from the refrigerator. On a counter top, sprinkle a couple tablespoons of flour. Rub a bit of flour on the rolling pin as well. Roll dough until you have about 1/4″ thickness. Using piggie cookie cutters, press down on dough, moving a bit on the counter top, to make it easier to lift the shaped dough.
Place Piggies on the baking sheet as you shape them along. Gently brush cookie tops with the lightly beaten egg. Roll the extra already used dough, wrap with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes before using again, or it will be too soft and sticky. Repeat to make remaining cookies.
Bake cookies in the middle rack of the oven anywhere from 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. You may sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on top. Keep them covered so they remain soft.
I will definitely be making these again!
Adapted from Pati’s Mexican Table