Soft and chewy Mexican treats.
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, about 3" long
2 sticks or 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp honey
4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, you may need a bit more
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
Butter to grease a cookie/baking sheet
2-3 tbsp all-purpose flour, you may need a bit more or less, to roll out the dough
1 egg, lightly beaten to be used as a glaze
Confectioners sugar to sprinkle on top, optional
Step 1: In a saucepan, combine grated piloncillo or dark brown sugar with water and cinnamon. Place over medium heat, once it simmers, lower the heat to keep it at a medium-low simmer for about 15 minutes, 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, need not be exact! Add butter and honey into the hot liquid and stir until it dissolves.
Step 2: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a hole in the centre and pour in the piloncillo mixture. Mix it all together with a spatula until it is well incorporated. Combine the eggs into the dough, which will be sticky and gooey. Seriously: it will be gooey and that is okay.
Step 3: Place 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 2 hours to a couple days.
Step 4: When you are ready to make the cookies, preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a couple cookie or baking sheets with butter.
Step 5: Remove the dough from the refrigerator and sprinkle a couple tbsp of flour on a countertop. Rub a bit of flour on the rolling pin as well. Roll out the dough which will now be firmer, 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 the dough, moving it a bit on the counter top, to make it easier to lift the shaped dough.
Step 6: Place the piggies on the baking sheet as you shape them along. Gently brush the cookie tops with the remaining egg. Roll the leftover dough into a ball, wrap it with the plastic wrap, and place it in the freezer for at least 10 minutes before using it again, or it will be too soft and sticky. Repeat to make the remaining cookies.
Step 7: Bake the cookies anywhere from 7-9 minutes. Remove them from the oven and place on a cooking rack. You may sprinkle confectioners sugar on top. Keep them covered so they remain soft. Serve with a tall glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee.
See more recipes from Pati Jinich.
Reprinted with permission from Pati Jinich's Pati's Mexican Table (2013 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).