It was love at first bite when I ate that pig cookie from La Michoacana. Out of curiosity I searched the Internet for Mexican panaderia items and came to learn the pig is more lovingly known as a marranito.

Marranito in Spanish literally translates to “little pig.” Basically the Mexican version of a gingerbread boy, although there’s no ginger — only molasses — in the recipe. A little less sweet and a little more spicy than any molasses cookie you’re probably used to, these cookies are moist and rich with a shimmering flaky top.

I gave these to the kids in my family, and they seemed to be a hit. Actually I have no idea if they liked them, since we were already stuffed full of Christmas supper and sweets — hopefully I was successful!

Mexican Marranitos [makes 15 large cookies]

Printable recipe

1 1/4 c packed dark brown sugar

1/4 c lard or vegetable shortening [trans-fat free Crisco if you can find it!]

1 1/2 t baking soda

1 1/2 t cinnamon

1 1/2 t vanilla extract

1 c unsulfured dark molasses

1 egg, plus 1 egg beaten for egg wash

1/4 c milk

6 c all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, stir together brown sugar, lard, baking soda, cinnamon and vanilla until the mixture forms a firm paste. Add, mixing after each addition until blended, the molasses, 1 egg and milk. Gradually add the flour, mixing to form a dough.

Roll dough to about a 1/4″ thickness. Cut with a large pig-shaped cutter [or any other shape you have] — to prevent sticking, dip the cutter into flour before cutting out cookies. Place each marranito on the lined cookie sheet.

Using a pastry brush, paint tops of marranitos lightly with the beaten egg. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until browned.