Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies

Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies | Magnolia DaysThe dough transformed at every point in the process. It’s not unusual for this to happen with bread. On the other hand, cookie dough has expected qualities. Making cinnamon and piloncillo cookies brought forth surprise, doubt, and amazement. The journey started with a challenge of baking cookies to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It turned out to be quite an adventure.

Ingredients were a big part of recipe selection. I wanted to be as authentic as possible. The search began with two; ceylon cinnamon and piloncillo. I used both of them when making candied pumpkin (click on the link to that post to see a photo of them). The search turned up ones for traditional Mexican cookies and soon I was on my way to the Latin market to get the ingredients.

Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies | Magnolia DaysThe surprise came with the method of these cookies. Normally cookies start with beating or creaming fat and sugar together. That is not the case with these. You boil sugar and water to make syrup. Then butter and honey are stirred in the hot syrup and melted. Pour the liquid into flour and stir it all together. Eggs are added at the end. This is where the transformation begins. It starts as wet, sticky, and rather gooey dough. It gets more difficult to stir with each passing moment.

Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies | Magnolia DaysRefrigeration brings the next transformation. The dough firms up to the firmest cookie dough I’ve ever made. Rolling it out took some serious elbow grease. It seemed to take on an almost rubbery quality. I really doubted these cookies at this point. The dough was so dense and tough to roll. There was even a little extra pressure needed to cut them.

Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies | Magnolia DaysHeat brought the last transformation. The cookies puffed up while baking. I was completely amazed. That incredibly tough dough produced these lovely soft cookies. How do they taste? There is a distinct molasses flavor and only a hint of cinnamon. They are not as sweet as typical American cookies; about a 3 or 4 on a sweetness scale of 1-10.

Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Or simply enjoy baking cookies? Scroll down to find recipes by the Creative Cookie Exchange bakers. Also take a look at Shrimp and Avocado Ceviche, a recipe I shared in celebration last year.

Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Yield: Makes 3 dozen cookies
  • 12 ounces piloncillo, chopped or grated*
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 ceylon cinnamon stick, about 4-inches long
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, cold
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Confectioners sugar
  1. Combine piloncillo, water, and cinnamon in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally.
  2. Once the piloncillo dissolves, lower the heat to keep it at a medium-low simmer for 15 minutes (it will thicken to a light syrup consistency).
  3. Remove pan from the heat. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Add butter and honey into the hot liquid and stir until melted and combined.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the liquid mixture.
  5. Stir until it is well incorporated. Beat 2 eggs and stir into the dough. The dough will be sticky and gooey.
  6. Place plastic wrap in the bottom of a mixing bowl with extra hanging on the sides.
  7. With a spoon or your hand, push the dough onto the plastic wrap and up the side of the bowl.
  8. Wrap the dough with the plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment or non-stick liner.
  10. Make an egg wash by beating remaining egg with about 1 teaspoon of water.
  11. Lightly dust work surface and rolling pin with flour. Divide dough in half.
  12. Roll out half the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cutout cookies with cutters pressing down on the dough and moving it slightly to make it easier to lift the cut dough.
  13. Place cookies 1-inch apart on baking sheets. Gently brush tops of cookies with egg wash.
  14. Bake cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, until cookies are just beginning to turn light brown around the edges.
  15. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 1 minute then transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.
  16. Repeat steps with remaining dough. You can gather up excess dough after cutting the cookies, shape into another disk, and roll out for more cookies.
  17. Cool baking sheets completely between batches.
  18. Dust top of cookies with confectioners sugar.
*If you cannot find piloncillo you can substitute 1¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar.
Amount of cookies vary depending on size and shape of cookie cutters. Time stated does not include chilling dough overnight.

Recipe adapted from NBC Latino – Piggies: Cinnamon and Piloncillo Cookies

The Creative Cooke Exchange theme this month is Cinco de Mayo and what better way to celebrate than baking cookies! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura via email (thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com) and she will get you added to our Facebook group where we coordinate events.

You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Facebook page, our Pinterest Board, and our monthly posts. You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

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  1. says

    Your story reminds me once more that baking is a science. We hear it all the time but this brings it home. What a transformation, Renee! Well worth all the doubt and effort at the end of the day. I was surprised by the wedding cookies not being that sweet as well. Having spent some time in South America, I expected Mexican cookies to be sweeter than our typical ones, not less sweet!

    • says

      Interesting how you thought Mexican cookies would be sweeter. I figured they wouldn’t be as sweet. I really haven’t found many desserts to be as sweet as ones found in the USA.

    • says

      Piloncillo is raw sugar that is pressed into a cone. There is a link in my post to another one of my recipes where I used it and there is a photo showing what it looks like.

  2. says

    Thank you for the education, Renee. Now I know that piloncillo is a kind of molassesy tasting sort to sugar…Sure does look like your superb mixing and rolling translated into superb-looking cookies.


    • says

      I don’t usually start watching the cookies until it is the last couple of minutes. That is the critical time. I’ve had some cookies that a few seconds make all the difference.

  3. Leslie says

    Instead of rolling – could you roll logs and slice (icebox cookie style) or just scoop the dough onto the baking pan? Do they spread?

  4. says

    Yes! We celebrate Cinco de Mayo but not in the way you might expect. May 5th is our son’s birthday! It’s also my hair stylists and since we’ve been together for 14 years, I always buy her a big present too. And we celebrate the son’s birthday with Tex-Mex and these cookies should be an addition to that meal!

  5. says

    LOVE these cookies! I have to say every time I think about using piloncillo I chicken out of using those hard chunks of sugar lol! Great job!


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