Since moving to Argentina, I’ve completely fallen in love with alfajores, two delicate cookies sandwiched with a thick layer of dulce de leche repostero. There are as many varieties of alfajores in Argentina as there are cookies in the United States, with different fillings and coatings. My favorite alfajores are made with corn starch (de Maicena), rolled in coconut shavings, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
You can find alfajores at every bakery, café, kiosko, and supermarket in Argentina. They are everywhere. So, when I first started making my own, my husband laughed at me, not understanding why anyone in Argentina would go to the trouble of making something that can be purchased on every street corner. His laughter only lasted until he tasted my alfajores. He now wholeheartedly agrees that homemade alfajores just can’t be beat.
I’ve been tweaking this recipe for a long time, perfecting it before sharing it with the world. The dough is simple to make. The thinner you can get the cookies, the better; just watch the oven closely so that they don’t burn. Putting the alfajores together is my favorite part and a fun activity for the whole family to join in (as long as you don’t mind some disappearing).
- butter - 4 Tbsp., room temperature
- sugar - 1/6 cup
- egg yolks - 1
- vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp.
- cornstarch - 1/2 cup
- flour - 3/8 cup, more as needed
- baking powder - 1/2 tsp.
- baking soda - 1/4 tsp.
- salt - 1/8 tsp.
- dulce de leche repostero - 1/2 cup, room temperature
- coconut shavings - as needed
- powdered sugar - as needed
- dark chocolate - as needed (optional)
1. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together until creamy.
2. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract to the butter mixture and continue to mix until the egg is blended in.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (cornstarch, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Incorporate the dry mixture into the butter mixture a little at a time. Mix the dough until it is smooth.
4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a cookie sheet.
6. Roll the dough on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut circles (or hearts) using a 2-3 inch cookie cutter. Place the cutouts on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the leftover dough. (I like to work with the dough in small batches, keeping part in the refrigerator, as the dough tends to stick to the counter and becomes difficult to handle when it gets too warm.)
7. Bake the cookies 5-6 minutes until done. (Beware! The cookies are not supposed to brown; they should remain white. It is too easy to overcook these thin cookies, so better to err on the side of caution. Remove the cookies, let them cool for a few minutes, then break one in half to see if it's cooked all the way through. If not, put the cookies back in the oven for another minute.)
8. Let the cookies cool completely. Meanwhile, put the dulce de leche in an icing bag (a ziplock bag also works).
9. Gently squeeze a generous amount of dulce de leche on the "backside" of one cookie. Place a second cookie on top, and gently press the two together to create a sandwich.
10. Roll the alfajor through the coconut flakes and dust with powdered sugar. You can also drizzle the alfajores with chocolate (optional).