Alfajores are sandwich cookies that are popular in South America especially Argentina and Peru. They are filled with dulce de leche (a rich, creamy confection made by heating sweetened milk) and the sides are then rolled in desiccated coconut or powdered sugar. I didn’t have dulce de leche so made the short cut version using condensed milk (recipe below). They tastes super yum…Add it to your Xmas cookie list, I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Ingredients (Makes around 15 cookies)
Recipe courtesy – Preppy Kitchen
- Corn starch – 1 1/4 cup
All purpose flour – 1 cup
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
2. Unsalted butter – 3/4 cup, softened
Lemon zest – 1 tsp (optional)
Granulated sugar – 2/3 cup
Egg yolks – of 3 eggs
Vanilla extract – 2 tsp
Almond extract – 1/2 tsp
3. Dulce de leche (store-bought or see the homemade version below)
Desiccated coconut – to roll
- Sift all the ingredients numbered 1, whisk and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat softened butter, sugar and lemon zest using a stand mixer or hand held mixer, for 2 – 3 minutes till light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract. Beat till combined. Scrape the bowl in between. Add dry ingredients numbered 1 in 2 – 3 batches and combine over low speed. Separate the dough in half, form into two dough (makes it easier to roll later) and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes – 1 hour.
- Preheat oven at 350 F.
- Lightly flour a parchment paper. Place half dough on a parchment paper and flatten slightly with palms. If the dough is difficult to handle, let it rest for 5 minutes at room temperature. Sprinkle some flour on the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough (underneath the parchment paper as shown in the pic below) into 1/4 inch sheet. Using a round cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Reroll the excess dough and cut into circles. Roll the other dough half similarly. If the cookie rounds are very soft, refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking.
- Bake at 350 F for about 8 – 10 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through (I forgot to rotate the pan, but it was fine). The cookies should not develop golden color, they are supposed to be light colored as below.
6. Cool down the cookies completely. Spread 1.5 tbsp dulce de leche on the bottom part of a cookie and sandwich to the bottom of another cookie. Press down gently. Roll the sides in desiccated coconut or powdered sugar. Alfajores tastes best after a few hrs. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Enjoy!! Do give it a try..it tastes super yum!
To make dulce de leche (manjar blanco)
- Preheat oven at 425 F.
- Pour condensed milk into a baking dish (that can fit inside a larger baking dish).
- Place the small baking dish inside the larger baking dish. Cover the small baking dish with an aluminium foil. Pour water to the larger baking dish until half way. Transfer carefully to the oven and bake for about 1 hour or until the desired color and thickness is achieved. Check in between and refill with water as water can evaporate.
- Remove it from oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Take out the smaller baking dish and remove the foil. Pour the dulce de leche into a bowl and whisk till smooth. It will get thicker as it cools. It will stay in the fridge for a week.