Coricos are ring-shaped cookies made with corn flour, very traditional in some northern Mexican states. From the mountains and caverns of La Sierra Madre and Copper Canyon in Chihuahua – where Tarahumara people use ground toasted corn (pinole) – to small communities and rural settlements in Baja California, Sonora, and Sinaloa, homemade batches of these sweet treats are baked year-round, and especially for Catholic Holy week and Easter. In larger communities and cities, packages of coricos are omnipresent at supermarkets and corner store displays; in the photo below, coricos may be seen, looking dapper on the top and bottom shelves, amongst other packed sweet treats and baked goods, outside a convenience store in a small town in Sinaloa:
In Sinaloa, coricos are made with nixtamalized corn flour, such as Maseca™, and sweetened with sugar or piloncillo, a type of raw sugar. I used Bob’s Red Mill™ organic masa harina and piloncillo. Some recipes call for additions of cinnamon, cloves, star anise, or even vanilla, but I prefer them as plain as possible, to highlight the perception of flavours in the beautiful corn and sugar combination. Commercial formulas often use vegetable shortening, but many cooks, including myself, have moved away from hydrogenated fats; I have solved this severance by using a mix of butter and margarine in my recipe.
Ring-Shaped Corn Cookies – Coricos
Ingredients (for approximately two dozen)
2 cups nixtamalized corn flour (masa harina, such as Maseca™, or Bob’s Red Mill™)
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup non-hydrogenated margarine
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup water
100g piloncillo or other raw sugar, or ½ cup brown sugar
Place water and piloncillo (or sugar) in a pot over high heat, stirring (photo below, left). Continue cooking and stirring for two to three minutes, until the sweetener is completely dissolved and the mix is bubbling (photo below, right):
Remove from heat and allow to cool down to room temperature.
Meanwhile, beat butter and margarine in a mixing bowl until creamy, then incorporate egg (photo below, left). Add half the corn flour, and sprinkle baking powder and salt on top (photo below, right):
Continue mixing, slowly adding half the reserved syrup (photo below, left). Add the rest of the corn flour, and the rest of the syrup, and mix to incorporate (photo below, right):
Finish kneading with hands until a soft dough is formed; cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and allow dough to rest for 20 minutes (photo below, left). To form the rings, take approximately a teaspoon of dough, roll into a ball, then into a cylinder between hands. Place on working surface and roll to thin into a rope, about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) in diameter, and 4 inches (10 cm) long. Bring ends together and overlap, then lightly press junction with one finger (photo below, right):
Continue with the rest of the dough, being careful not to overwork it; should it become too brittle, allow to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
Transfer rings to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until the bottom of the cookies are golden brown:
The cookies will be very brittle while hot so, after removing from the oven, allow to cool down completely on the baking sheet before serving:
Coricos may be stored in an air-tight container for a few days. They are delicious as a snack on their own, along with coffee, or complementing a bowl of ice cream, or pudding.
For your convenience, click on the highlighted text below for products available on Amazon™. DISCLAIMER: Any reviews included in this post are my own, for items I have purchased, not provided by any company; as an Amazon Associates Program affiliate, I might receive a commission for any purchases originated from the links below, at no extra cost to you (thank you to readers who have bought other products starting with a click from my links!):
I am also sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #535, with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.