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Marranitos (Mexican Gingerbread Pigs)

Rick Martinez
Cook Time:
1 hr
Prep Time:
30 mins
30 cookies

Chef notes

These cookies are fun and festive, inside and out. Hidden in the middle of these little piggy-shaped molasses cookies are warming spices and a gooey chocolate-hazelnut surprise. They're everything you love about a soft gingerbread cookie but stuffed with chocolaty goodness.

Technique tip: Use silicone rubber bands on your rolling pin to roll dough to the exact thickness. Swap option: You can use dulce de leche instead of Nutella. Dough can be made 1 month ahead; wrap tightly and freeze. Cookies can be baked 1 day ahead.

Equipment needed: Pig-shaped cookie cutter

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  • cups all-purpose flour
  • cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup grated or granulated piloncillo or dark brown sugar
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, divided
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 2/3 cup robust-flavored (dark) molasses
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread or dulce de leche



Whisk all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl until completely combined.


Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, piloncillo and salt in a large bowl, scraping down sides and bottom as needed, until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add molasses and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and beat to combine. Scrape down bottom and sides of bowl to ensure there are no steaks of butter remaining. Dough will be sticky but will set as it chills. Wrap tightly in plastic, pat down to 3/4-inch square and chill at least 3 hours and up to 24.


Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350 F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.


Divide dough into four pieces so you can work with each more easily. Return the others to the fridge. Take one piece and place on heavily floured parchment paper on a clean work surface. flour the top of the dough and roll out to 1/8-inch-thick. Punch out pigs with a lightly floured cutter and transfer to prepared baking sheets, spacing 1/2-inch apart. Arrange scraps in an even layer, cover with plastic and freeze 10 minutes if soft. Roll and cut. Repeat with remaining dough and scraps.


Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon water until completely blended. Place a heaping 1/2 teaspoon chocolate-hazelnut spread in the center of each pig. Lightly brush the beaten egg mixture around the edges and top with another pig. Lightly press the edges to seal. Repeat with remaining pigs.


Brush tops with egg wash and bake until the cookies have puffed slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on tray for 10 minutes; transfer to a rack to cool completely.