A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 08, 2008
Marranitos or Cochinitos or Puerquitos (little gingerbread pigs)

“Marranitos” or “cochintos” or “puerquitos” are Latin American pastries that mean literally “little pigs.” They’re often called “gingerbread pigs,” but ginger is not in the recipe. Bakeries and supermarkets throughout Texas have long sold “marranitos” for Mexican-American communities.
“Gingerbread pigs” were cited in an English-language book about Mexico as early as 1875. France and Sweden also have traditions of making “gingerbread pigs.”
Some Quick Informative Mexican Food Reviews
by Penny Maseko
Marranitos is a cookie with different names. It is also called cochinos or puerquitos in different Mexican-American communities. It is known as “gingerbread pigs” even though there is no ginger in the cookie. The cookie is shaped like a pig. Traditional marranitos get their spicy flavor from molasses. In Mexico, the bakers make their own molasses syrup by taking brown sugar and placing it into cones. It is then boiled with the right amount of water. Once it has turned into the syrup it is then added to the dough for the little pigs. The cookie is very moist and rich in taste with a flaky top.
Mexico Connect
Las Panaderías:
Mexico’s Irresistible Bakeries
Karen Hursh Graber
The Mexicans have named their baked goods as whimsically as the Italians have named their pastas. Conchas (shells), orejas (ears), cuernos (horns), and cochinitos (little pigs) are only a few favorites. Care to try something different? How about bigotes (moustaches), trenzas (braids), or corbatas (neckties.) For the more adventurous, there are the somewhat aggressively named picones (jabbers) and piedras (stones.)
Authentic Mexican Marranitos (Molasses Gingerbread Pigs)
Recipe #192410
Moist and rich-tasting beneath a glossy, ever-so-slightly flaky top. Not quite cookie, not quite cake. Marranitos — or cochinos, or puerquitos, as are they are called in some Mexican-American communities — are often called “Gingerbread Pigs,” although they don’t actually have ginger in them - and no cinnamon either. In fact, traditional marranitos get their delicious spicy-brown goodness from molasses. Baking soda is the leavening agent, and it’s the variation in the amount used that makes some bakeries’ pigs fatter than others. In Mexico, bakers take piloncillos — unrefined brown sugar pressed into small cone shapes — and boil the sugar with just enough water to make their own molasses syrup, which is then added to the dough for the little pigs. Then the dough is rolled out and cut with pig-shaped cookie cutters about the size of a medium-size grown-up’s hand.
*This recipe is from Fort Worth baker Marco Rangel, and is used for the molasses pigs he sells at his bakery, the Panaderia San Marcos. It uses the non-traditional addition of cinnamon. You may wish to try also adding a bit of dry ground ginger. And you may use a milk wash instead of an egg wash.
15 cookies
30 min 15 min prep
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup unsulphured molasses
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
6 cups all-purpose flour
Egg wash
1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together brown sugar, shortening, baking soda, cinnamon and vanilla until the mixture forms a firm 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 about 1/4 inch thick; cut with a large pig-shaped cutter; Place each marranito on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
In a cup or small bowl, beat egg; Using a pastry brush, paint tops of marranitos lightly with beaten egg.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until browned. 
(Oxford English Dictionary)
Marrano, n.
[< Spanish marrano converted Jew or Muslim (13th cent.), further etymology disputed.
Traditionally many lexicographers have accepted the derivation of Spanish marrano converted Jew or Muslim < Spanish marrano hog (10th cent.), assuming use of the latter as a term of abuse. A development of this notion suggests the derivation in turn of Spanish marrano hog < Arabic ram (colloq. Spanish Arabic maran) something forbidden or taboo < aruma to be forbidden (cf. HAREM n.). However, other etymologies have been suggested for Spanish marrano hog.
Y. Malkiel in Jrnl. Amer. Oriental Soc. (1948) 68 175-184 argues that Spanish marrano pig is < classical Latin verrs boar, and that Spanish marrano convert is historically unrelated. He derives Spanish marrano convert < late Arabic (especially Andalusian) barrn rural, foreign, immigrant < barr land, field, though his reasoning is unconvincing from the point of view of Arabic scholarship. However, his view that the two Spanish words are distinct is plausible, and if it is accepted, the most likely source of Spanish marrano convert is Spanish Arabic muarram (colloq. muarran) excommunicated, past participle of the attested arram(a) to excommunicate. Jewish and Muslim converts would, rightly or wrongly, be thought to practise their old religion in private and ipso facto be excommunicates. (...)]
In medieval and early modern Spain: a Christianized Jew or Moor, esp. one who professed conversion in order to avoid persecution.
Google Books
Our Next-Door Neighbor: A Winter in Mexico
by Gilbert Haven
New York, NY: Harper & Brothers
Pg. 353:
I invested a cuartilla (three cents) in ginger-snaps, cut into the shape of pigs, a favorite form of that gingerbread here, for which three cents I received eighteen of the gingerbread pigs aforesaid.
20 May 1928, Billings (MT) Gazette, “Paris Gingerbread Fair Seven Centuries Old,” pg. 11, col. 3:
They attract it with their favorite young men, who buy them gingerbread pigs with ingratiating phrases written on them with colored icing. 
14 May 1944, Brownsville (TX) Herald, pg. 9, cols. 1-6:
Another Border Blessing—Pan De Dulce!
War Hasn’t Curtailed This Delicious Mexican Dish; Herald Reporter Tells Where It Came From
Brother, you just ain’t lived if you haven’t devoured a rosca, or a semita, or a dozen or so moyetes, polvorones or chirimoyas.
Other names are simple—tostados literally means crispies; cochinos—a slang term for pig, is a name given to small gingerbread cookies cut in the form of a little pig. 
Google Books
by Hilary Hylton
Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company
Pg. ?:
Gingerbread pigs are wonderful with a hot cup of tea.
Google Books
Barrio Teacher
by Arcadia H. Lopez
Houston, TX: Arte Publico Press
Pg. 19:
...particularly liked the marranitos, gingerbread pigs.
Google Groups: ba.food
Newsgroups: ba.food
From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (J. Eric Townsend)
Date: 8 Oct 92 18:33:12 GMT
Local: Thurs, Oct 8 1992 1:33 pm
Subject: Re: Where are… (was Re: Good burritos) near Cupertino ??? 
They’ve got bags of ginger pigs some days… (ginger cookies shaped like pigs). 
Google Groups: austin.general
Newsgroups: austin.general
From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Joe Coleman)
Date: Sun, 09 Oct 1994 21:21:43 -0500
Local: Sun, Oct 9 1994 9:21 pm
Subject: Re: Austin bakeries
If you’re looking for an authentic Mexican-style bakery, try La Reyna on S. 1st street. Excellent maranitos (gingerbread pigs) and empanadas (fruit-filled “tarts,” for lack of a better word) get my vote.
Google Groups: dc.dining
Newsgroups: dc.dining
From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Ted Samsel)
Date: 1995/07/03
Subject: Re: Good Mexican food?
And a good San Antonio style panaderia (bakery) with pan dulce would be great…. maranitos (ginger pigs) & campechanas & empanadas de camote.
Google Groups: ba.food
Newsgroups: ba.food
From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Gary Sloane)
Date: 1995/09/13
Subject: Re: indian groceries Mountain View
If you’re shopping at Narayan, you may also want to stop in at Panaderia Marlen, which is located in the same little strip mall. It’s the kind of bakery you find all over Mexico, and the quality of their offerings is a cut above many places I’ve been to in Redwood City and San Francisco.
They have a wide variety of pan dulce (my favorites are the little gingerbread pigs (cochinitos, lechoncitos, chanchitos—whatever you call them, I can’t keep them out of my coffee) and other confectionary items, such as membrillo and dulce de leche, as well as fresh tortillas and an assortment of Mexican style fresh cheeses. 
Google Groups: rec.food.cooking
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking
From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Ted Samsel)
Date: 1996/12/16
Subject: Mexican ginger pigs (MARANITOS)
I’d like to get a recipe for the bingerbread/cookie dough that is used in the pan dulce known as Maranitos. Ginger pigs instead of gingerbread men/whatever.. it isn’t hard like your usual gb-boy…. moer cakelike.. they bake out to about 3/8’s to 1/2 inch thick…
Or is the secret ingredient… lard? 
Google Groups: alt.cooking-chat
Newsgroups: alt.cooking-chat, alt.creative-cooking, soc.culture.mexican, soc.culture.mexican.american, tnn.foods.recipes
From: tejas
Date: 1997/11/08
Subject: Re: Mexican recipes  
Anyone have recipes for “marranitos” (ginger pigs) and the Yuacatec “mojo de ajo”? 
Google Groups: austin.food
Newsgroups: austin.food
From: Ted Samsel
Date: 1998/06/12
Subject: Re: Review: La Reyna
And marranitos (ginger pigs). Can’t get ‘em on the East Coast. I brought back a bag of ‘em from a panaderia in Denver last month and my kids were transported back to the days when they were rather tractable.
Google Groups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
Newsgroups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
From: “David Glaser”
Date: 1998/12/23
Subject: Re: ginger pigs  
Ah yes, marranitos. They are very good.
Google Groups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
Newsgroups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
From: Irv Mullins
Date: 1998/12/31
Subject: Re: ginger pigs
Heather Allen wrote:
> Someone had asked what ginger pigs were.  *grin*  Heh, it’s just big soft
> gingerbread shaped like pigs.  I don’t know why they’re that way.  But
> I’ve never seen them anywhere but Juarez and southwest New Mexico.  I love
> them.  They’re probably one of my favorites.  Sweet, but not too sweet, a
> little spice.  Great by themselves, wonderful with coffee, delicious with
> ice cream.  I don’t know what they’re really called.  I’ve always just
> asked my grandma to send me “piggies” and a few days later they appear in
> a big box. Hee Hee.
Marranos. We get them here (north Georgia) from Los Andes Bakery in Chamblee.
A glossary of popular pan dulce (June 9, 1999)
Hector Saldana   San Antonio Express-News
Food Page 1F (356 Words)
Campechana - flaky, layered pastry with sugary glaze
Empanada - fruit-filled turnover, usually with pumpkin filling
Marranito - little brown piglet-shaped molasses cookie
Pan de huevo - slightly sweet, dense yeast-dough bread flavored with vanilla and stick cinnamon. Often called conchas for its shell pattern
Cuernito - sugary, cinnamon horn of pan de huevo
Piedra - cookie made from day-old bread with pink icing
Oreja de wey - rolled French pastry shaped… 
Google Books
Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in Real Los Angeles
by Jonathan Gold
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
Pg. 111:
My wife’s great-grandfather owned a blacksmith’s shop a couple of blocks from here, and her family still gets its pan dulce around the corner from La Farma, the oldest—and best—Mexican bakery in this part of town. (Try the gingerbread pigs called puerquitos.)
Google Groups: rec.arts.sf.written
Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.written
From: Ted Samsel
Date: 2000/05/15
Subject: Re: More on the Latinization of North America
And the corner panaderias (bakeries) with marranitos (ginger pigs) and campechanas.
Google Groups: austin.food
Newsgroups: austin.food
From: “Texensis”
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 21:13:39 GMT
Local: Tues, Dec 11 2001 4:13 pm
Subject: Re: Xmas cookies
The marranitos at Fiesta are really quite good—made on the spot.
Houston (TX) Chronicle
5 April 2002, Houston (TX) Chronicle, “El Bolillo Panaderia offers sweet selection” by Dai Huynh, Dining Guide, pg. 14:
Marranitos or puerquitos: These “little pigs” are molasses cookies in a porcine shape. They taste like gingerbread cookies, but there’s no ginger in the recipe, says El Bolillo co-owner Bud Harmon.
Google Groups: rec.food.cooking
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking
From: “Dan Levy”

Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2004 03:45:06 -0600
Local: Mon, Mar 29 2004 4:45 am
Subject: Re: Maranitos- “Ginger Pigs”
> My sister-in-law bought Maranitos “ginger pigs”  when she was in Chicago last
> week and was asking me if I could find a recipe.  I did a google search, which
> just directed me to bakeries.  I tried Epicurious with no luck either.  I hear
> they are like gingerbread cookies, only “cakier”.  Does anyone have a recipe?
> Kathy
> .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Google works, it just takes some digging.  They appear to also be called Cochinitos.
Google Books
Cooking with Texas Highways
by Nola McKey
Austin, TX: University of Texas Press
Pg. 5 (Name That Pan Dulce!):
cochino: A thick, cookie-like bread shaped like a pig. It comes in two versions—soft and hard. 
Google Books
Food Lovers’ Guide to Colorado
by Eliza Cross Castaneda
Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot
Pg. 5:
la Popular Mexican Food, 2033 Lawrence Street, Denver. (...) The shop has a large case of tempting sweets as well: gingerbread pigs called marranitos, fruit-filled empanadas, crumbly cookies, and Mexican pastries.
Dallas (TX) Morning News
A user’s guide to pan dulce
It’s all good — but it doesn’t hurt to know your cuerno from your concha
February 11, 2005
By BARBARA RODRIGUEZ / Special Contributor
I have fond memories of the thick, egg-yellow braids and buns, crusty with sugar or oozing jam, but the marranitos, plump gingerbread pigs spiked with anise, were heads and tails above the others.
Mexican panaderías are open long hours — a tradition followed in Dallas, where the bakers turn out warm batches in monstrous numbers.

At Panaderia La Nueva, that means baking about 300 goods a day, sometimes more, for what Mr. Soto calls a “family crowd” that is mostly Latino.

And while La Nueva, Reveles, and Esperanza’s sell a minimum of two dozen varieties each on a regular basis, other Mexican bakeries offer a limited variety of high-demand items.

Any panadería worth its anise makes conchas and marranitos.
Google Books
Insiders’ Guide to Tucson
by Mary Paganelli Votto
Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot
Pg. 110:
El Rio Bakery
901 North Grande Avenue, Tucson
(...) Here you’ll find pan de huevo (egg bread), empanadas, pan dulce, cochinitos (gingerbread pigs, a favorite), delicious Mexican cookies, and tortillas.
Houston (TX) Press: Best of Houston 2006
Best Mexican Bakery (2006)
La Ojarasca Panaderia
1011 76th
La Ojarasca Panaderia has been around for more than 40 years — and that’s a lot of cookies. And bolillos (French bread). And marranitos (gingerbread made in the shape of a pig). Deep in Houston’s East End, La Ojarasca is the place for fresh, hot Mexican delicacies. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish — you don’t have to know how to say marranitos for them to sell you one.
Images of Harlingen, TX
The Power of Panaderias
November 13, 2007 – 10:25 am
While in Harlingen, I learned about panaderias, or bakeries specializing in pan dulce (Mexican sweet breads). There is a whole family of breads that fall into this category, with names such as conchitas, cuernos and empanadas. But my favorites, so far, are marranitos and pan de muerto. I tried marranitos for the first time at Lara’s Bakery, located at 403 W. Polk St. in Harlingen. I was drawn to them by their whimsical pig shapes and instantly hooked on them after experiencing their dense, cake-like texture and delicious molasses and gingerbread taste.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Tuesday, January 08, 2008 • Permalink

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