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Puerquitos (Gingerbread Pigs)


'Tis the season...for gingerbread! I decided to finally tackle puerquitos. These Mexican gingerbread pigs have been on my to-bake list for a few years. I was cooking dinner for friends, one of whom adores all things pigs. So, I figured: this is the year of the puerquitos. We really love ginger, so I used ginger paste - instead of the traditional vanilla - and added candied ginger bits, too.

Ingredients

  • 1¼ C organic dark brown sugar
  • ¼ C butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, 1 for dough and 1 for finishing
  • ⅓ C milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1½ t ginger paste (you can use vanilla bean paste also)
  • 1½ t baking soda
  • 1½ t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • ¾ cup molasses
  • ¼ C honey
  • 6 C flour
  • ½ C candied ginger (diced or use flakes)

Procedure
Beat brown sugar and butter together in a large bowl until well-combined. Add 1 egg, milk, and ginger paste; beat again until smooth. Add baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, molasses, honey, and candied ginger. Beat again.

Stir in 4 C of flour. Gradually add remaining flour, using a wooden spoon. Once the dough starts to become stiff , quickly knead in the flour. It should come together into a ball.


Split dough into two balls. Each ball makes 2 dozen small pigs. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When you are ready to bake, reheat the oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper to approximately ¼" thickness. Use a pig-shaped cookie cutter to cut out your puerquitos.


Place on prepared baking sheet. Re-roll dough and repeat until your dough is gone.


Beat the remaining egg, then brush a thin coat over the dough before you put it into the oven.


Place in preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes - until cookies just start to turn golden around the edges and are slightly raised.


Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Once they are cooled, keep them covered so they stay soft.

Because I love the combination of gingerbread and lemon, I served two puerquitos with a cordial of limoncello. Cin cin!

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