Time to get piggy with it. These Mexican gingerbread-style cookies are perfect for Thanksgiving day feasts or anytime noshing. —INGRAIN, Fall/Winter 2019
Pie? We say piggies. Cerditos, cochinitos, marranitos, puerquitos—in Mexico these puffy gingerbread-style cookies go by more than one street name and are a favorite childhood treat. This orange-scented take is mildly sweet and like a true pan dulce when a tray comes out of the oven; they gradually harden as the days pass. (Cover the cookies in plastic wrap as soon as they cool to keep them soft longer.) This is a workhorse dough that can be stashed in the fridge until your best crew of cookie cutters and sugar sprinklers arrives. Order the Mexican Hot Chocolate mix from Chicago’s own Katherine Anne Confections, and you’ll be ready to roll.
Makes 18 large cookies
5 ounces (½ cup + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter (room temperature)
1½ cups dark brown sugar (packed)
3 large eggs
⅓ cup unsulfured molasses
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon orange zest (packed)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Sprinkle of muscovado sugar
5 ounces (½ cup + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter (room temperature) + 1½ cups dark brown sugar (packed) in the bowl of a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Crack 2 large eggs into bowl and mix for another 2 minutes, then add ⅓ cup unsulfured molasses + ¼ cup milk + 1 teaspoon orange zest (packed) + ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix well and scrape down sides of bowl if needed. (Mixture will look shaggy.)
5 cups all-purpose flour + 1 teaspoon baking soda + ½ teaspoon baking powder + ¼ teaspoon kosher salt + 2 teaspoons cinnamon (preferably Mexican) together in a large bowl. Add about ⅓ of flour mixture and mix on low speed for a few seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix remaining flour in two more batches until well combined. (Dough will be stiff.)
Dough to a work surface lined with plastic wrap. Form dough into a chubby rectangle about 1 inch thick, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.
Oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide dough in half (refrigerate unused portion). Lightly flour a work surface and roll out dough until roughly ½ inch thick. Cut with piggy or other large (5" x 4") cookie cutters; repeat with remaining dough.
1 egg in a small bowl and lightly brush egg wash on cookies. Sprinkle cookies with muscovado sugar and bake until light golden brown on the edges only, 14 to 16 minutes. (Rotate pan front to back halfway through baking.) Serve gingerbread warm or let cool. Store in zip-top bags to keep cookies soft longer, if desired.