Coyotas: Sonora Style Pastries

Let me introduce you to Coyotas, a flat and filled kind of cookie from the state of Sonora in Mexico. These cookies are delicious and so simple to make at home, but be aware: They’re addictive!

What are Coyotas?

Coyotas are simple stuffed cookies that were invented back in the 50’s in Villa de Seris, today a neighborhood in the city of Hermosillo in Sonora but which was a remote community at that time.

At that time, mestizo women (a girl of mixed spanish and native heritage) were called coyotas and coyotitos to children of the same origin. These women and children were the ones who will bring the cookies to town and sell them in the streets. So, when they came to the city to sell their famous cookies, people will recognized them with that nickname, which remained as the cookies name until now.

The recipe is said to have Spanish origins since it was precisely Agustina Araiza, the wife of a Spanish military man, who shared her recipe with Doña María Ochoa, who popularized it by sharing these delicious cookies with her neighbors.

To this day, these cookies from Sonora are an icon of the city of Hermosillo and are prepared in various versions and served in Mexican restaurants or sold in shops and supermarkets.

The traditional recipe

The traditional recipe for Coyotas is very simple: Wheat flour, lard, salt and piloncillo (or sugar) to prepare the dough. The filling is simple piloncillo, a raw form of pure cane sugar that is commonly used in Mexican cooking.

The traditional way of baking these cookies in Sonoran bakeries is in a wood-fired oven, which gives them a very particular aroma and the spotty appearance of the real Coyotas of Sonora.

Of course, it is not always possible to make use of wood-fired oven at home, so the home-made version for Coyotas is simple made in a conventional oven.

The variations

Coyotas have now evolved and are now made with different fillings, such as marmalades, cajeta (mexican caramel sauce), fruit, chocolate, etc.

Fillings for Coyotas: Piloncillo + flour, cajeta and nutella. Displayed in bowls.
Some fillings for Coyotas

Can be frozen?

Personally I do not recommend that you freeze the cookies, but what you can do is prepare the dough and freeze it, so when you feel like making them you can defrost the dough overnight and make and bake the cookies in the morning.

The ingredients for Coyotas

The ingredients are very simple and surely something that almost everyone has in the family pantry. Piloncillo can be replaced with brown sugar and/or molasses which is something that can be found almost in every single country.

In the old days, Coyotas were prepared using pork lard because it was the cheapest fat available at the time, as well as being the most popular.

Related Recipe: Mexican Polvorones.

As time went by, Sonoran cuisine evolved and was influenced by the use of vegetable shortening in cooking. So, today Coyotas are traditionally prepared with shortening instead pork lard, even though many homemade version still prefer the old fashion way of making these cookies.

I leave it up to you, personally I use the lard that I can find in the Italian supermarkets, which has white color and a mild flavor.

Ingredients for coyotas: All purpose flour, salt, baking powder, piloncillo, water and lard.

How to crush piloncillo

You’ll need to break up piloncillo into small pieces. To do so, first put piloncillo in a bowl and pop it in the microwave for about 10 seconds, this will soften it a bit and will be easy to break it.

Now you can either use a food processor or two pieces of parchment paper and use a roll pin to break piloncillo into small pieces, as shown in the photo below.

crushed piloncillo between two layers of parchment paper.

Coyotas Recipe – Sonora style

Prepare the filling: Put the crushed piloncillo in a bowl, add the flour and mix perfectly. Set aside.

Prepare the piloncillo syrup: In a small saucepan place piloncillo (or brown sugar) and the water over low heat, stir until it dissolves very well and thicks lightly. Set aside and let it cool completely.

Prepare the dough by hand

In a large bowl, place flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add lard and piloncillo syrup. With your hands, start to knead little by little inside the bowl to integrate the ingredients.

Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until you get a smooth, lump-free dough that comes off easily from your hands. If you notice the dough is too dry, add one to two tablespoon of cold water.

Make the dough with an stand mixer

Place all ingredientes in the mixer bowl and using the flat beater knead until everything is combined (about 2 minutes).

Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead for about 1 minute to achieve a smooth dough. If you notice the dough is too dry, add one to two tablespoon of cold water.

Make the cookies

Flour the working surface and with a rolling pin roll the dough until it is approximately 3 mm (0.11 inch) thick.

Using a round cookie cutter of about 10 cm (approx. 4 ″) cut circles as close together as possible.

In the middle of half of the circles place one or two teaspoon of the filling, spreading it well in the circle but taking care that it is not too close to the edges. Use any filling you like, even Nutella, Cajeta de Celaya or marmalade.

Cover each cookie with the other half of the circles, placing them carefully on top and fitting the edges of both pieces.

With a fork lightly press the edges of each cookie to seal very well. Next, click in the middle to make some small holes (SEE NOTES).

Grease with butter or place parchment paper in a cooking baking tray and transfer the cookies leaving them al least 2,5cm (1 inch) separated to each other.

OPTIONAL: At this point you can brush the cookies with egg wash and sprinkle them with sugar on top. Or just bake them as suggested.

Bake at 180 ° C (360F) for 20 minutes or until Coyotas are lightly browned on top and edges are slightly darker.

Carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool completely before storing or you can go ahead and eat them while they’re still warm!

Watch How to Make It

Coyotas: Sonora Style Pastries

Let me introduce you to Coyotas, a flat and filled cookies from the state of Sonora in Mexico. These cookies are delicious and so simple to make at home, but be aware: They’re addictive!
PREP 10 minutes
COOK 20 minutes
TOTAL 30 minutes
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 7 cookies
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

For the cookies

  • 3 ⅓ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cup lard, or vegetable shortening
  • ½ Tbsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt

For the Syrup

  • ½ cup piloncillo, crushed, or brown sugar
  • ½ cup water

for the filling:

  • ½ cup piloncillo, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp all purpose flour

optional:

  • 1 medium egg
  • sugar (for garnish)

Instructions

Prepare the filling:

  • Put the crushed piloncillo in a bowl, add the flour and mix perfectly. Set aside.

Prepare the piloncillo syrup:

  • In a small saucepan place piloncillo (or brown sugar) and water over low heat, stir until it dissolves very well. Let it cool completely.

Make the dough by hand

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add lard and the piloncillo syrup. With your hands, start to knead little by little inside the bowl to integrate the ingredients.
  • Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until you get a smooth, lump-free dough that comes off easily from your hands. If you notice the dough is too dry, add one to two tablespoon of cold water.

Make the dough with a stand mixer

  • Place all ingredientes in the mixer bowl and using the flat beater knead until everything is combined (about 2 minutes).
  • Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead for about 1 minute to achieve a smooth dough. If you notice the dough is too dry, add one to two tablespoon of cold water.

Make the cookies:

  • Flour the working surface and with a rolling pin roll the dough until it is approximately 3 mm (0.11 inch) thick.
  • Using a round cookie cutter of about 10 cm (approx. 4 ″) cut circles as close together as possible.
  • In half of the circles put one or two teaspoon of the filling, spreading it well in the circle but taking care that it is not too close to the edges.
  • Cover each cookie with the other half of the circles, placing them carefully on top and fitting the edges of both pieces.
  • With a fork lightly press the edges of each cookie to seal very well. Next, click in the middle to make some small holes.
  • Grease with butter or place parchment paper in a cooking baking tray and transfer the cookies leaving them al least 2,5cm (1 inch) separated to each other.
  • OPTIONAL: At this point you can brush the cookies with some egg wash and sprinkle them with sugar on top. Or just bake them as suggested.

Bake

  • Bake at 180 ° C (360F) for 20 minutes or until Coyotas are lightly browned on top and edges are slightly darker.
  • Carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool completely before storing or you can go ahead and eat them while they’re still warm!
Nutrition
Serving: 1grams | Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 65mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 3mg
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10 Comments

  1. I’d not heard of coyotas before, but they sound delighful. I love learning about authentic recipes, so thanks for all the info.

      1. Thank you for this recipe, just as important is the story. Brings back so many beautiful memories of my beautiful mother and her beloved home town of Hermosillo, Son. Gracias, bendiciones 🌹

  2. 5 stars
    I have never made filled cookies before, and these look adorable and so delicious! Looking forward to trying them.

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