Degust guests get a bag of these to take home. These compressed sugarcane “piglet” cookies are chef Javi’s favorite growing up in Mexico. Enjoy with a cup of coffee.
1 1/8 cups piloncillo or one sugar-cane cone
¼ cup water
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 star anise
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 ¾ tablespoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ eggs
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the syrup by chopping the piloncillo into pieces and transferring the raw sugar to a saucepan with the water, cinnamon, star anise, and clove. Simmer over medium-high heat until piloncillo dissolves completely. Reduce heat to low and simmer, allowing the spices to infuse into the liquid as it thickens. Remove syrup from heat and allow it to cool completely before adding the liquid to the cookie mixture.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vegetable oil, and half an egg. Mix at low speed until everything is just combined. Incorporate syrup into the cookie dough, lightly cover the dough with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough with quick, short movements until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Using a pig-shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can. Transfer them to the cookie sheet with a spatula, being very careful so they won’t break apart. Place cookies at least 3 inches apart to allow them to spread. Gather up the remaining dough and roll out and cut out more cookies. In a small bowl, mix the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of milk. Brush cookies with the egg wash and bake for seven to nine minutes or until golden brown.
When the cookies come out of the oven, allow them to cool for at least 20 minutes on a rack and store them in an airtight container.
Note: Mexican piloncillo or panela is raw, pure cane sugar and can be used like other types of sweeteners. Unprocessed, golden-brown piloncillo has a rich, molasses-like flavor, although it doesn’t contain any molasses.