Coyotas

Coyotas are an empanada-like filled yeast pastry (not a cookie) from Sonora, Mexico. The dough is infused with a cinnamon brown sugar tea, cut into rounds, and stuffed with a sweet filling made of brown sugar and flour. Coyotas are great at any time of the year or for gifting at Christmas.

Coyotas

Ingredients

Starter

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 teaspoons grated piloncillo or dark brown sugar*
  • 1/4 ounce (2 tablespoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose) flour

* Piloncillo is an unrefined brown sugar popular in Mexican cooking; the same kind of sugar is also known as panela. Sold in hard blocks or cones, piloncillo is usually shaved or broken up before use. You can use brown sugar instead.

Dough

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces**

** As an alternative to all butter, you may use half vegetable shortening and half butter, or use all vegetable shortening.

Filling

  • About 1 3/4 cups grated piloncillo or dark brown sugar*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

* Piloncillo is an unrefined brown sugar popular in Mexican cooking; the same kind of sugar is also known as panela. Sold in hard blocks or cones, piloncillo is usually shaved or broken up before use. You can use brown sugar instead.

Instructions

  1. Starter: Combine the lukewarm water, piloncillo or dark brown sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together until the yeast has dissolved. Whisk in the 1/2 cup flour and combine well. Cover and place in a warm, draft-free spot until foamy and bubbling, about 30 minutes.
  2. Dough: Add the 1/4 cup water, 3 cups of flour, salt and butter to the starter and place the bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Turn on low speed and as soon as the ingredients are blended together turn the speed to medium. Beat for 5 to 6 minutes, until the dough gathers around the dough hook, slaps against the bowl and is very smooth.
  3. Remove the dough and shape it into a ball. Butter one or two baking sheets. Divide the dough into three equal pieces, then divide each of these pieces into 8 equal pieces (24 in all). Roll each of the small pieces into a ball and place them on the buttered baking sheet or sheets. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free area of your kitchen for at least an hour and up to 2 hours.
  4. Arrange oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and Heat to 375 degrees F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment.
  5. Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball into a 5 inch tortilla-like round, about 1/8 inch thick. If you want perfect rounds you can trim your rolled out rounds with a 4 1/2 to 5 inch) cookie cutter.
  6. Filling: In a bowl, combine the grated piloncillo or dark brown sugar with the flour and mix well.
  7. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons filling onto the center of 12 of the dough rounds. Cover with the other 12 rounds and press together well to seal. Go around the edges with a fork and press to seal and also to decorate. Prick the top of each pastry twice with a fork (as shown) or make a small hole in the center of each coyota with the tip of a small knife, or gently cut an approximately 1/2 inch line through the top dough, taking care not to cut through to the bottom round. Place six coyotas on each baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, switching the trays front to back and upper to lower halfway through until coyotas are golden brown and filling is bubbling and bursting out of the holes or cut line on top.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  10. When completely cooled, keep covered.

Yield: 12 pastries

Photo credit: [email protected] / CC BY

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