A few blocks west of the plaza, nestled between Palace Avenue and San Francisco Street you’ll find Burro Alley, paved with cobblestones and the resonance of old Santa Fe. At one point the alley served as a place for burros to park and unload firewood. Now it’s a quiet, pedestrian-friendly, just off-the-beaten-path home for a handful of local businesses.
One of my favorite shops in town, Modern Folk Ware owned by potter Jennie Johnsrud, recently moved next door to Chainé, a dessert shop owned by Chainé Pena with creative, made-from-scratch, small-batch French macarons and cookies. Both shops have loyal and passionate followings so it feels almost too good to be true that now they are right next door to each other.
On the day I walked in with my kids to celebrate their last day of school for the year, Pena, a 6th generation Santa Fean, had just pulled a batch of biscochitos from the oven. Her mom was helping her in the open kitchen, while my boys carefully eyed an array of generously portioned cookies and row after row of colorful macarons. They eventually both made the same choice — a bright red “Santa” macaron, filled with a chocolate cookie & mint cream.
So when Pena offered to share her famous Pinon & Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe with all of us here, it felt like such a gift. Pena started baking as a hobby before she took a macaron baking class in France where she fell in love with this technically intricate cookie. When she began posting her creations on social media and people started asking if they could place orders, it’s then she knew she was on the right path. Pena says,
“I love that cookies are a straightforward treat that most people love. What really makes me excited about my cookie offerings is playing with texture and flavor to create something a little different like our lemon meringue cookie or creme brulee. It’s fun to pack an unexpected dessert flavor into a few inches of a cookie.”
Thankfully for us, she is giving us one of her most beloved recipes for the always classic chocolate chip cookie spiked with a hefty dose of piñon nuts.Print
Discover Santa Fe’s Sweet Haven: Chainé’s Piñon Chocolate Chip Cookies
Explore the charming Burro Alley in Santa Fe, where Modern Folk Ware and Chainé create a sweet haven for locals. Dive into the story of Chainé Pena’s passion for desserts and her famous Piñon Chocolate Chip Cookies. Learn the art of baking these treats at home with Chainé’s exclusive recipe.
- Prep Time: 1.25 hours
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1.5 hours
- Yield: Around 30 cookies
- Category: Dessert
- Method: bake
- 1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature, and the best quality you can get your hands on
- 3/4 c. light brown sugar, loosely packed
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 t. vanilla paste or extract
- 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, her favorite is Bob’s Red Mill
- 1 t. baking powder
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. sea salt, she uses pink
- 2 t. cornstarch
- 2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, her favorite is Ghirardelli 5mm baking chips
- 2 c. piñon nuts, unsalted & shelled
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or with a wooden spoon by hand), cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until it’s fluffy and fully incorporated.
Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl one to two times between mixing to ensure all the butter and sugar remnants combine with the eggs.
In a separate bowl, using a sifter or a fine mesh strainer, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and cornstarch. Add ¾ of the dry mixture to the wet. Mix just until it slightly comes together. Add the chocolate chips and the nuts to the remaining flour mixture and give them a toss. (this step helps the chocolate and nuts disperse evenly throughout the dough).
Using a cookie scooper, a large tablespoon, a ¼ c. measuring cup, or a scale (about 2 oz) portion out rounds of dough. Refrigerate pre-portioned cookie dough for 45 min to one hour.
Time to bake! Preheat your oven to 375. On a parchment-lined cookie sheet place your cookies and give them plenty of room to grow. Bake for about 11 – 13 minutes until the edges and top are just browned. Allow cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
Keywords: Santa Fe, dessert shops, local businesses, French macarons, chocolate chip cookies, piñon nuts, Modern Folk Ware, Chainé, made-from-scratch, family-friendly, holiday treats, recipe sharing, hidden gems