Pinipig crunch, that magnolia ice cream bar variant with vanilla ice cream coated with chocolate, studded with bits of toasted pinipig, was one of my favorite sweet things as a kid. Pinipig crunch and orange twin popsies were COVETED whenever the magnolia man with the bell announced his presence on our street. It’s the only reason I knew of the word pinipig, though for many years, I had no idea what it really was.
In the past few years, I had come across fresh pinipig at markets, and first wrote about it here, learned more about duman, and started to see it in use in rice cakes and other delicacies. I don’t buy it often, but think of it as a uniquely Filipino ingredient (lots of puffed rice in other cultures, but not sure if they have the smashed and dried glutinous rice).
Sister bought a kilo or so of pinipig at the Nasugbu market recently, and I asked her what she was going to use it for… apparently, back in New York, she likes to make simple butter cookies that have toasted pinipig incorporated into the batter for that characteristic crisp/chewy texture they provide. I don’t think I remember having these cookies so I decided to cook up a batch yesterday, but incorporating some chocolate as an homage to my childhood favorite, pinipig crunch bars…
I googled recipes on the internet and top finds point to a recipe of Romy Dorotan and Amy Besa in their cookbook “Memories of Philippine Kitchens” published in 2006, but I knew the recipe went back much earlier than that. Other recipes on the internet seemed to be lifted (some of them at least) directly from the Dorotan recipe, without attribution (don’t you just hate that?), but I wasn’t quite happy yet and kept searching. I found a recipe for “Pinipig Biscuits” in a book dedicated to Philippine rice entitled “Beyond Rice” written by Ma. Elena Paterno-Locsin, and she credits the source for the recipe to “Philippine Magazine, October 1933”! So the treat does go back nearly a century at this point… This early recipe relied on shortening or lard and milk, and I was wanting a more modern richer cookie with butter and perhaps some muscovado sugar.
Trying to clean out our larder/pantry, I had cans of queensland butter, mini-chocolate chips, pinipig and suddenly the “aha!” moment was to make a chocolate chip style cookie, with lots of pinipig taking the place of the nuts. This would have the butter and muscovado and it would hopefully bring back memories of the pinipig crunch bars.
Here is the recipe I used, and it is credited to the back of the toll house chips package, though with some slight changes. I made a huge double batch, yielding over 100 thin but medium sized cookies, so feel free to cut the recipe in half or a fourth if you prefer. In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients: 4.5 cups flour (I used unbleached all-purpose), 2 teaspoons baking soda, 3 teaspoons salt (the pinipig is bland, hence more salt). In your mixer bowl, add two cups of butter (I used canned Queensland, to use up stocks but unsalted butter would do nicely as well) and cream this together with 1.25 cups of white sugar and 1.5 cups of muscovado or dark brown sugar. Add 2 teaspoons of good vanilla extract, and incorporate 4 eggs, one at a time until fully mixed in. Add the flour mixture then 3 cups of mini-chocolate chips and 2 heaping cups of toasted pinipig and your batter is done. If you are not in a hurry, chill the batter for say an hour or so before scooping onto your pan and putting them in a 360-370F oven. Btw, photo above has some pinipig “garnish” on top, to make sure you knew what the cookie contained, but you can skip that step… they were just as good all mixed in.
The results? I LIKE THEM A LOT. They have that somewhat unnerving quality to them borne out of the crispy/chewy pinipig (how do you translate makunat?) but the flavors of chocolate and butter and muscovado with the texture of the pinipig is delicious. And I have one more way to make use of this cookie, up next. :)