Puerquitos, marranitos, cochinitos, o galletas de piloncillo. These are the names that these piggy shaped cookies are known by across Mexico. They’re an absolutely delicious pan dulce to enjoy with a cup of coffee.
Pan Dulce or Mexican Cookies
If you’ve ever been to a Mexican panadería (or bakery) you’ll surely have come across this pan dulce or more like cookie — I keep calling them cookies but in reality they’re somewhere between a crumbly cookie and a pillowy kind of bread-like cookie.
The texture depends on the recipe, and as you can imagine there are tons of variations.
My recipe will give you cookies that are less pillowy but will still be a bit soft. My recipe is sweet but not an overly sweet cookie — which in my book is a good thing!
The sweetener in the more traditional recipes is piloncillo.
Piloncillo is unrefined whole cane sugar. It has a unique taste, something like a dark brown sugar with hints of molasses. It’s delicious and way better than white refined sugar.
Nowadays, some people like a sweeter cookie so they’ll also add brown sugar to mix. You can always test out my recipe and later adjust the sweetness if you’d like.
Molasses aren’t something you’ll easily find in Mexico, it’s extremely rare.
But I have seen some authentic Mexican food bloggers use it in their recipe. So if you don’t have piloncillo feel free to use molasses.
Marranitos or Puerquitos
This famous piggy shaped cookie is know by several names.
Some people called marranitos, other call them puerquitos and some cochinitos or cochinitos de piloncillo.
It really doesn’t matter, they’re all the same cookie really, what may differ are the spices used.
What Spices to Use
This is one of things that differs the most between recipes. Some of the most common spices used are listed below. Please notice that my recipe is the most basic traditional one. The spices below are regional differences or family adaptations.
- Mexican canela or Ceylon cinnamon
- orange zest
How to Make Puerquitos
To make puerquitos it’s actually quite easy.
The first step is to make the piloncillo syrup. This is done by simmering water with piloncillo, cinnamon, star anise until a thick-ish syrup is achieved.
Next step is to mix the flour with the vegetable shortening (or coconut oil), until you achieve a crumbly mix. Then little by little the piloncillo syrup and more flour are incorporated until it forms the dough.
The cookie dough is rolled out then the cookie cutter is dipped into flour before cutting out the piggy cookies.
Next the cookies are placed on a lightly greased baking sheet, then brushed with either vegan or regular eggwash, or even just brushed with any leftover piloncillo syrup, then baked.
Are Marranitos or Puerquito Cookies Vegan
Since my recipe uses vegetable shortening then it is vegan.
The egg wash you can use a vegan option or also instead brush with some of the piloncillo syrup. The results are delicious!
How to Enjoy Puerquito Cookies
When you take them out of the oven, you’ll know the cookies are perfect because they’ll feel soft. It’s best to enjoy them while they’re still a little warm. They become harder and drier so store in an airtight container and eat within a couple of days.
You can see they look like a cookie but when you break a piece off they’ll be a soft-pillowy kind of cookie — if you over bake them, they’ll be harder like a regular cookie.
My favorite way of enjoying my puerquito cookies are with a cup of unsweetened coffee with plain almond milk. The strong coffee flavors pair perfectly with the sweet, cinnamony, molasses flavors of these cookies.
Like I mentioned before, they’re not overly sweet so you’re taste buds and nose will really pick up all those aromatic flavors. If you like to dunk your cookies, these are THE perfect dunking cookie!
Why don’t you grab a cup coffee and make some puerquitos today!
Thanks for stopping by amigos, Happy Cooking!! ❤️
Puerquitos: Mexican Piloncillo Spiced Cookies
- 12.75 oz or 360 grams of piloncillo it’s 1.5 large cones
- 1 cup of water
- 2 whole sticks of Mexican cinnamon aka ceylon cinnamon
- 1 whole star anise
- 1.5 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 to 1/2 cups all purpose flour* you may or may not need it*
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons of vegetable shortening or solid coconut oil (you could also use butter instead)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of fine sea salt optional
- extra all purpose flour for rolling out
- 1 lightly beaten egg for egg wash or vegan replacement
- Place the piloncillo, water, cinnamon sticks and star anise in a pot. Over medium- low heat simmer until the piloncillo has completely melted — stir often to help it along (or you can use grated piloncillo if desired). Keep a close eye on the pot because it can quickly boil over if the heat is too high. If your syrup is bubbling a lot turn the heat down and keep an eye on it. Once the piloncillo has melted, simmer for 10 minutes on very low heat. Remove from heat, set aside to cool.
- While you wait for the syrup to cool, place 1.5 cups of the all purpose flour in a bowl and mix the baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined. Then add the shortening or solid coconut oil and either with your hands or a pastry cutter, mix it into the flour until you have small crumbs.
- Next remove the cinnamon stick and the star anise from the syrup and carefully pour in 1 cup into a measuring cup — you will have extra syrup and don’t discard it. Once measured out pour the syrup into the flour mixture and stir until well combined. You’ll have a very wet mixture and that’s okay, now add the whole wheat flour into the mixture and stir until well combined. OK, now depending on how humid your kitchen is you may or may not need to add a little more flour into the mixture to get a dough that comes together easily but isn’t too dry. Alternatively some may need to add a bit more syrup to the mixture to get a wet enough dough. Either way please add either the flour or syrup just a tablespoon at a time. Once the dough comes together you can procced.
- Heat the oven to 375℉ or 190℃ and lightly grease or line a baking sheet with baking paper and set aside. Lightly dust your work surface with some flour and roll out the dough to half an inch thick then use your cookie cutter to cut out the cookies — so that the dough doesn’t stick to the cutters you can dip them into a little flour to coat them. Place each cut out cookie onto the baking sheet and continue until you’re done. Brush each cookie with the egg wash then bake in the centre of your oven for 8-10 minutes — they should still feel soft to the touch and be a darker golden brown colour —keep an eye on them so they don’t burn because they bake fast.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and baking sheet and allow to cool slightly. They taste fansataic still warm and with coffee or tea or hot chocolate. Store leftovers in a resealable bag or sealed container to keep them soft.
More Desserts to Try
Check out these delicious dessert recipes you can try anytime the sweet craving hits.
- Mexican Sweet Potatoes | Camotes Enmielados
- Easy Mango Ice Cream
- Calabaza En Tacha or Mexican Candied Pumpkin
- Concha Strawberry Shortcake
- Carlota de Limón (Mexican Lime Icebox Cake)
- How to Make Cajeta (Easy Mexican Dulce de Leche)
- How to Make Rainbow Churros (Video Recipe)
- French Crepes and Gluten-Free Oat Crepes with Strawberries and Cajeta