Memories of my trips to la panaderia(bakery) instantly flood my thoughts when I think of these tasty marranitos. Also called puerquitos and even cochinitos by some, these ginger and molasses cookies are one of the most popular when it comes to Mexican sweet bread. I think as a kid it was more about who would get the Big Pig Cookie first! Lol! If it wasn’t fresh, it could tend to be a bit on the dry side, but we didn’t care. It was the big pig cookie! This marranito recipe is revised from an older recipe I learned a few years back. The old recipe was good, but my cookies did not bake up as puffy and soft as I would have liked. It was a simple fix of adding an extra egg. I also switched to shortening instead of butter to keep it a little more traditional with the ingredients. Don’t quote me on that though, they may have used pork lard back in the day! I will have to do a little research to know for sure. It’s all part of the learning process and I love every minute of it. Finding that pig cookie cutter was not an easy task. For a couple of years I searched the internet, until finally last year I located them on Amazon. I ordered it right away! I always add this recipe to my fall and holiday baking to share with friends and family. #marranitos #pandulce
Yields 9-11 Large Cookies
2/3 cup shortening or unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup packed grated piloncillo or brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground canela(cinnamon)
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp. anise
2 eggs, plus 1 more for egg wash
1/2 cup molasses
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, orange zest, salt, ground cloves and anise. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in the eggs and molasses until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the dough at a time to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes with a lightly floured 4 to 5 inch pig shape cookie cutter. Place cutouts 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 11 to 13 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack, let cool.
4. To store, layer cookies between wax paper in an airtight storage container. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for 2 months.
Do not skip the step of chilling the dough. You can even prepare the dough a few days ahead and keep it chilled until you are ready to use it.
The cookie cutter comes in a few sizes online. Resist purchasing the larger one, unless you want one giant marranito that can feed 4 people!
Don’t roll your dough out too thin.
Don’t crowd you baking pan. Five marranitos per large baking pan.
The crackled look is just what you want for a more authentic looking cookie.
Do you remember the big red trays and tongs when you enter the big panaderias? It’s like they are daring you to fill every space on that tray!