Marranitos (little pigs)


My husband and I never really dated. It’s a long story, and like any good love story, had a bit of drama associated with it. While I’m not going to go into our “love story”, I will tell you this: I knew when we met he was going to be the man I married. This is not a manufactured memory either (our brains can play tricks on us, you know) I have the November 28, 1995 journal entry to prove it. At any rate, beginning a relationship with him was a journey in which I’m forever grateful and one in which I learned a lot of culture. He’s Hispanic (though he’s a big, beefy guy and sometimes gets mistaken for a Samoan) and from Texas. I’m blonde, blue eyed and grew up in a very WASP(y) way in Colorado. We lovingly refer to our daughters as our beanerschnitzels because we’re into terms of endearment and such. Anyhow, bridging the cultural gap was fun. We each had our moments: I learning about cunanderas and how that rivaled everything I knew about healing and health (my mom is a nurse) and the first time he’d eaten green bean casserole for Thanksgiving and thought it was the most amazing thing EVER! I’m not even kidding; he raved about it for days. Food is a key component to culture and that’s where these little guys come into play. Whenever we go to a Mexican bakery, Chris always buys these. I’d categorize them as a cookie. Soft and not very sweet, which is what he likes.

One day while perusing Facebook, a mutual friend posted a link to the recipe. I immediately got online, ordered a pig cookie cutter and the unsulphured molasses and hoped he wouldn’t also see the link because I was on a mission to surprise him. Yeah, not so much. As soon as he saw it, he forwarded it to me.


  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 tsps. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsps. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour

Egg wash: 1 egg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, stir together brown sugar, shortening, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla until the mixture forms a paste. Add, mixing after each addition until blended, the molasses, egg, and milk. Gradually, add the flour, mixing to form a dough. Roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness, and cut with a pig shaped cutter. Place each cookie on the baking sheet. In a small cup, beat the egg for the egg wash and using a pastry/ basting brush, paint the tops of the marranitos lightly with the egg wash. Bake for 15-17 minutes.

Note: This dough is very dense and super sticky. It’s what I imagine it would be like to work with tar! While the directions didn’t talk about sprinkling flour down, flouring the rolling pin, and dipping the cookie cutter in flour after each and every use, let me tell you this is of utmost importance. Tar, I tell you! I had to prompt the dough out of the cookie cutter and then reshape parts of its head, tail, and hooves. After one large baking sheet of little pigs and nearly an hour later, I relented and used a standard dough cutter for the remaining dough. I figured it’d still taste the same. When it was all said and done, even as I muttered about the damn tar pigs, I had a happy hubby and that’s all that matters, most of the time 🙂

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