Recipe by Pati Jinich

Slightly sweetened and subtly spiced, coricos are most commonly enjoyed throughout northwestern Mexico. Made with masa harina, these cookies are naturally gluten-free and pair well with an afternoon cup of coffee or a glass of milk. Don’t be surprised to see your coricos crackle as you shape them — and even more as you bake them! That’s part of the essence and charm of this cookie. Our thanks to Pati Jinich of PBS’ Pati’s Mexican Table for sharing this recipe with us.

30 mins
16 to 20 mins
2 hrs
16 cookies
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Corico (Sweet Masa Harina Cookies)


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  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly butter (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

  2. To make the syrup: In a saucepan, combine water and piloncillo (or brown sugar) and set over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the piloncillo melts. Once the sugar has melted, add the anise seeds. Stir and let simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to 1 1/2 cups. If the liquid has reduced too much, add a bit more water to be sure you have 1 1/2 cups. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

  3. To make the dough: Weigh your masa harina; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together the masa, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

  4. In a separate bowl, beat together the shortening and butter until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in the vanilla.

  5. Add the masa harina mixture alternately with the cooled syrup in several additions. Beat until smooth.

  6. Gather the dough into a ball and divide it into 16 portions (about 85g each).

  7. To shape the cookies: Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a ball and then into a rope about 5” to 7” long.

  8. Gently press the ends of the rope together to make a ring or doughnut shape. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet.

  9. To bake the cookies: Bake the cookies for 16 to 20 minutes, until they feel set and the bottoms are golden brown.

  10. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool them right on the pan.

  11. Storage information: Store completely cooled cookies, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Masa harina (translation: dough flour) is flour made from corn that’s been soaked in a solution of slaked lime (nixtamalized) to loosen its hull and soften it, which improves its texture and helps release its nutrients. The soaked corn is ground into a paste (masa), dried, and then ground again, this time into a fine flour. Due to the corn’s special treatment, neither cornmeal nor corn flour are good substitutes for masa harina.

  • Piloncillo (also called panela) is an unrefined whole cane sugar that’s often used in Central and Latin American cuisine. It's slightly more earthy and caramelly tasting than conventional brown sugar. Find it at specialty grocery stores or online at retailers.