Last week I took part in a bake sale to benefit the ACLU along with so many inspiring lady cooks, bakers and makers. I’m still pinching myself that I got to be involved in such a beautiful event with so many women in the food community that I admire. I wanted to make a cookie that celebrated my Puerto Rican heritage. If you’ve never had polvorones, they are pretty much identical to Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes. They are buttery, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth perfection. I knew I had to step up my game a little, since so many of my idols (like Victoria and Yossy!) were going to be eating them. These cookies can verge on obscenely sweet due to the powdered sugar coating, so I thought earthy buckwheat flour and bitter cacao nibs would offset that a bit. The combination of the two with the toasted pecans was pretty sublime if I do say so myself. To see more from the event and drool over all the yummies search #hungryforliberty on Instagram.
Buckwheat-Cacao Nib Polvorones
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. buckwheat flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. pecans
1/4 c. cacao nibs, roughly chopped
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, diced
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 350ºF and position the rack in the upper third. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large, dry skillet, toast the pecans until fragrant. Let cool and finely chop. You can also do this in a food processor. Just be careful not to pulse too much or you will get pecan flour!
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flours, sugar, salt, chopped pecans and cacao nibs. Add the butter pieces and vanilla and use your fingers, a pastry blender, or mixer on low to work in the butter until there are no more visible chunks. The mixture should start to clump together after a few minutes.
Form 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar, dusting off the excess sugar back into the bowl. Repeat with all of the dough, placing them 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. You should get around 30 cookies.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden and slightly cracked and puffed up. Cool completely on the baking sheet before rolling them a second time in the powdered sugar.