A Recipe From the Chef: Koa Duncan's Abuelita Cookies

A Recipe From the Chef: Koa Duncan's Abuelita Cookies
A. Scattergood

If you spend much time at downtown's Nickel Diner, you will have eaten many maple-bacon donuts. You also will know that making them at home, while certainly possible, is not nearly as much fun as eating them at the counter, near the elaborately coiffed mannequin heads and in the company of the heavily tattooed chefs, owners, and, it seems, half the regular customers. So instead of making donuts, try baking the "abuelita" cookies that new pastry chef Koa Duncan has recently added to the pastry plate.

Composed of two supple snickerdoodle cookies sandwiching a thick layer of cinnamon ganache, the cookies are dusted with cinnamon sugar and are big enough to provide a happy mid-afternoon snack, or a fairly nice breakfast if that's more your speed than the vegan scramble that is on the diner's menu. For the recipe, turn the page.

Abuelita sandwich cookie
Abuelita sandwich cookie
A. Scattergood

The "Abuelita" Cookie

From: Nickel Diner pastry chef Koa Duncan

Note: Duncan uses Guittard chocolate, but says you can use whatever dark chocolate you have on hand.

Makes: about 12-16 cookies, or 6-8 sandwiches

Cinnamon sugar:

1 cup turbinado sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1. Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in medium sized bowl.

Snickerdoodle cookie dough:

12 ounces granulated sugar

9 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons honey

1 egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

15 ounces all-purpose flour

1. In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, honey and sugar and cream until smooth, scraping the sides as necessary.

2. Add egg and vanilla, scrape the sides and mix until smooth again. Add flour, salt and baking soda and mix and scrape until smooth again. Allow the dough to chill.

3. Preheat the oven to 325. Cover a sheet pan with parchment. Scoop the dough into 2 inch balls, roll the balls into the bowl of cinnamon sugar, and put onto tray a few inches apart. Flatten out the sugar-coated balls with the back of your hand and sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on top.

4. Bake until golden, but still light in the center, rotating once midway through baking. Set aside until completely cooled.

Cinnamon ganache:

1 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cinnamon sticks

11 ounces dark chocolate

2 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

1. In a small heavy-bottomed pot, heat the cream, honey, cinnamon, and cinnamon sticks until almost boiling. Set aside for 30 minutes to let the cinnamon sticks steep in the cream.

2. Chop the chocolate into small chunks and place in medium sized heat-proof bowl.

3. Heat the cream mixture back up to a boil, pour into the bowl of chocolate and let sit for a couple minutes. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, add the butter and whisk mix smooth again. (Be careful not to over-mix.)

4. Strain the cinnamon sticks out of the mixture and pour the mixtureinto shallow bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture like a skin. Let the ganache sit at room temperature until set, about 3-4 hour hours depending on the temperature of the room.

To make the sandwich:

1. Take 2 cookies and place them so their bottoms of the cookies are face up. Put a generous spoonful of ganache on one of them and gently stick them together (the bottoms face each other in the middle of the cookie). Repeat with remaining cookies.


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