Yorkshire Recipes


Parkin Pigs

This is a recipe for Parkins Pigs suggested by Michael Armstrong of Laycock. Michael writes the popular ‘Baker Mike’ recipe articles in the ‘Keighley News’, and has a special interest in Yorkshire recipes. And they don’t get any more Yorkshire than Parkin Pigs – especially if you are on a mission like Mike. Read on …

Mike writes:

The parkin pig, this an elusive character, often found hiding in the hedgerows of toffee, rolling in the golden syrup or snuffing its snout in the forests of ginger and perhaps no match for the gingerbread man.

The parkin pig is very local to us Keighley folks being in the middle of the Leeds, Bradford and Halifax Yorkshire triangle where this traditional delicacy used to be eaten on plot night around the bonfire. Sadly due to the small bakeries closing down (me included) making way for the big boys the parkin pig has decline in numbers over the years and almost vanished without saying goodbye.

So, this year I’m on a mission to bring him back PIG STYLE!! through my baking and future columns leading up to bonfire. My recipe is a great one to get the kids baking on a wet weekend project designing the recipe to suit them more, being less brittle and gentle on the pallet.

If you are lucky to own a pig cutter like me, dust him off.  If not simply use templates from the internet tracing onto cardboard cutouts, but be warned the little piggy must have a recognisable pig-like profile, snout and pointed ears.

Above all, the eyes should be made from the sweetest biggest currants you can find. So please help me on my mission this year to bring back this traditional Yorkshire cuisine before the ever popular Peppa Pig takes his place and vanishes forever!!



Pig Dough – yields nine large parkin pigs or 12 small pigs

  • 100g (4 oz) unsalted butter
  •  50g (2 oz) soft brown dark sugar
  •  150g (6 oz)  golden syrup
  •  225g (8 0z) plain flour
  • 10g (half ounce) bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • Currants for eyes


  1.  Pre-heat oven to a hot setting (200C/400F/gas mark 6)
  2. Sieve the flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl ensuring the ingredients are all well mixed in
  3.  In a large pan gently melt the the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup on a low heat, stirring continuously to prevent any burning
  4.  Once melted add to the dry, mixing well with a wooden spoon to combine fully
  5. Place your sticky mixture into a fridge for half an hour to firm up before rolling out
  6. Roll out your dough on a floured worktop to the thickness of a £1 coin
  7.  Take your time stamping out your parkin pigs and placing on a greased or papered baking tray allowing plenty of room to bake
  8. Gently knead together all the scrap dough until it’s used up, adding a large currant for each pig’s eye.
  9. Bake for 5-6 mins, until golden brown. The biscuits will still feel soft but will harden almost instantly as you transfer them to a cooling rack.


Read more of Baker Mike’s recipes in the Keighley News at  Friend in Knead


11 Responses to Parkin Pigs

  • June

    Hi i bake parkin pigs for bonfire every year using my grandmas old parkin pig cutter.
    I am from Bradford and parkin pigs were always on sale but now do not seen them anywhere.

  • Leanne

    Bonfire night at Myrtle Park in Bingley remains one of my most favourite childhood memories and the parkin pigs bought from the local bakery were a must.  I bake a parkin every year, but had totally forgotten about parkin pigs – thank you so much for reminding me!

  • Tracey Leach

    I use a Parkin cutter that was my grans.  Always used to make pigs for plot night.

  • Debbie

    I have my Mum’s Parkin pig cutter passed down to me, looking a bit battered now as it must be 70 years old.  We make them every year for our Plot night party.

  • Julie Viney (nee Pullen)

    Just collating initial thoughts for party to celebrate the big 60 next year (4th Nov) . Decided that I had to introduce my southern friends (I am afraid i now live in Hampshire) to the delights of a good Yorkshire Plot Night, Parkin Pigs and all.  My first recipe search lead me straight to you and i can’t wait to have a go at making them. Thanks!

    • Colin Neville

      Thanks – and what a great Yorkshire treat for your friends!

  • Klaus Bondar

    I was born and bred in Bradford (Great Horton then Heaton) but have been living in Pennsylvania for 38 years. My 32 year old American born son (middle name of Bradford) loves Bonfire Night. I went chumping and built the fire behind our house. His friends love the night and love the Parkin pigs. Maybe we’ll also toss some potatoes into the edge of the fire.

    • Colin Neville

      You can take the man out of Yorkshire, but not Yorkshire out of the man!  Enjoy your Parkin Pigs!

  • Pauline

    I did this recipe and the mixture was too soft. I could not, no matter what I did. lift the cutter up without the mixture still attached, it just fell away slowly.  When I eventually made them into a form of biscuit, they spread into each other.

    • Colin Neville

      Sorry to hear that. This can happen with many biscuit mixes. This particular mixture needs to rest in a refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, and often longer, to firm up.

  • Joanne

    Made my baby Parkin pig’s today. Turned out lovely,had these as kids,(Bradford West Yorkshire)

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