January 1, 2010 12:10 PM
My Three Little Piggies
POSTED IN: Recipes , Desserts
TAGS: Brown Sugar , Cerditos , Cochinitos , Cookies , Food , Galletas , Marranitos , Mexican , Piggies , Piloncillo
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Piggies can be found in many places under different names: marranitos, puerquitos, cerditos, cochinitos. All these words are used to describe a Piggie in endearing ways. In some places, they are given different animal shapes, but still called in one way or another "Piggie". That may be because that was their original shape.

They really should be called Flying Piggies and have wings attached given how fast they fly away from my kitchen each time I make them.  Sometimes it is even hard to bake them, since my boys find the dough irresistible: its gooey, sticky, and deliciously sweet.
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Now, don't think I didn't see that little Piggie...

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After they sneak away and find ways to eat some dough, they have a hard time waiting for it to harden in the refrigerator, so it can be easy to roll it out and give it fun shapes

More often than not, the Piggies end up looking like fierce lions or magical dragons.

One of the reasons I love these cookies, is because my middle Piggie, my pickiest eater, loves them. He enjoys every part of the process to make them, except waiting for the dough to be ready.

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He takes brushing them with lightly beaten egg incredibly seriously.

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No easy task, you see?

And oops! There are some dinosaur shaped Piggies there too...

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He loves adding confectioners' sugar. Especially after I have said "I think that's enough baby"

Most of all, he loves eating them. Which makes me happy because I know all the good stuff that's in them.
With firm and clean edges, Piggies are deceiving.  You can't tell that their texture is so soft and almost bread-like until you take a bite. They also have a wholesome and small Pueblo flavor.  I think that's because the main ingredient, Piloncillo is simply sugar cane juice, typically shaped into cones.  It's easy to find, but you can also substitute it with brown sugar and get the same charming feeling.  Combine all the above characteristics and you get an incredibly comforting cookie.

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There goes my oldest Piggie, jumping in to get one, even before they have cooled down...

p.s. Piggies are perfect to accompany a hot cup of coffee or tea... Also, keep them covered, so they will remain soft and fluffy.  

I wrote a shorter version of this Post for

Makes 30 medium sized cookies (with aprox 4" cookie cutter)

12 oz piloncillo, chopped or grated, or substitute for 1 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1 true or Ceylon cinnamon stick, or 2" to 3" length
2 sticks or 1 cup unsalted butterat room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
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 eggsat room temperature, lightly beaten
Butterto 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
Confectioner's sugarto 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 honey 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 (or other shapes, but then you may need to change the name!), 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 beat 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.

Kids love to eat them with a tall glass of milk, I like them with a hot cup of coffee.



what's your take on manteca? My aunt used it when she made beans in a clay pot.

Tino Juarez | January 5, 2010 11:01 AM

Hi Tino,
Some people absolutely love the flavor of manteca/lard and think that its flavor is unmatchable. But you can substitute manteca with vegetable shortening, butter or sometimes oil, depending on what dish it is for... I know some cooks that add half manteca and half vegetable shortening to tamales for example, to still have the taste of lard, but make them lighter. These cookies are made with manteca in some regions of Mexico and with butter in others. I love them with the soft feel of the butter. But it depends on your preference!!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Tino Juarez | January 5, 2010 11:16 AM

Hola Pati

I saw you on Paula Deen's show --you were phenomenal. You two had a special chemistry and affinity for wonderful and flavorful food. You have just made what are my very favorite pan dulces from when I was a kid. I have never been able to find a recipe for this, and maybe it's because I didn't think it even existed! I will definitely try these amazing powdered sugar panecitos!



Alfonso | January 5, 2010 3:11 PM

Hi Alfonso,
Many thanks! I have gotten so many requests for a Piggies recipe, like you have no idea!! And all the requests said just what you said: they were favorite treats of people when they were growing up, and they miss them so!! So happy you like it and hope you try them...

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Alfonso | January 5, 2010 5:49 PM

Hola Pati !!!

Feliz ano! Lo mejor para ti y tu familia en este 2010. No sabes cuanto me gustan estos cochinitos desde nina, asi es que tengo que hacerlos un dia de estos, y tambien el flan de coco que se ve delicioso a y la cochinita pibil claro...en cuanto haga algo te aviso como me fue... te mandamos muchos besos y abrazos

Amyris | January 6, 2010 10:27 AM

Hola Amyris! Que bueno que te gustan, en esta casa también somos fans de los cochinitos. Sí¡ Cuéntame como te quedan... Abrazos!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Amyris | January 6, 2010 4:23 PM

Estoy tan contenta que encontre tu blog! I have been looking for many of these recipies and until today i had not found them! Thanks so much! I can't wait until I make these, they sound just like the ones from when I was a kid! Thanks again!

dariela | September 9, 2010 12:51 AM

My pleasure!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from dariela | September 10, 2010 9:49 PM

So excited to find a recipe. Only one more item...where did you find a piggy cookie cutter? I can't find one!

MominMa | November 15, 2010 5:43 PM

Great! I found some gorgeous copper ones online. With many different shapes and sizes! Just type in cookie cutters!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from MominMa | November 16, 2010 9:30 AM

Pati, im just recently discovered your show on Create and im a huge fan now. I love these cookies and i must say all your cooking reminds me of my childhood as well.

Dayana | July 3, 2011 1:42 PM

I happened to catch you on your show that aired this recipe. It is hard to find one that tastes good. I made them over the weekend for a birthday party and everyone loved them. Can't wait to try more of your recipes. Thank you!!!

Angie | August 2, 2011 1:05 PM

I am your fan, although I live in Mexico, like you, was born and raised here. Every one of your recipes are so delicious and simple to make! I cannot imagine a better way to show what Mexico is about! our great food, thank you so much for sharing.

Helen | September 2, 2011 9:55 PM

Dear Pati,

We are getting your tv show here on our local PBS in New Mexico and I love it! I love all the information you talk about on ingredients, so not only delicious recipes but learning too!

I made these cookies, and my family went nuts over them! They were DELICIOUS! I wanted to share with you some adjustments I made because I live at 5000+ feet and we deal with altitude issues, and these slight adjustments yielded a perfect cookie. The following adjustments would be suitable for people living between 5000 and 7000 feet:

4 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda

Thank you so much for a delicious recipe!

I have one question: the cones of piloncillo i had were very hard and i had to have my husband grate them, do you have any tricks for a stubborn cone!?

Kim V. | February 1, 2012 10:41 AM

Hola Kim, Thank you so much! Thank you for posting your altitude adjustments as well. One of my favorite things about cooking is taking a recipe or dish and making it your own! About the stubborn cone, yes, they are very stubborn indeed. You can grate it or chisel it with a knife. If that does not work or if you prefer, you can put the cone in a saucepan with a little bit of water (about 1/4) on low heat. As soon as the cone begins to melt remove it from the heat, and the cone should be easy to crumble at this point.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Kim V. | February 7, 2012 11:07 AM

HI Pati!
This is the best recipe for "maranitos" that I have seen. Thank you so much.
On another note....My friend and I each tried making the limes with coconut. We still cannot get the limes to work out. (I wrote you about this a few months ago) They either get way to tough or they do not cook enough.
Work on a recipe for us ;)

Lucia Bocanegra-Claxton | December 14, 2012 1:56 AM

Hi Lucia, Thanks for trying the piggies recipe! I haven't gotten a limes with coconut recipe up yet. Not to worry, I will try to post one soon! All the best to you.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Lucia Bocanegra-Claxton | December 19, 2012 3:05 PM