Alfajores are soft, melt in your mouth cookies, sandwich together with a generous layer of dulce de leche and then rolled in shredded coconut.
Alfajores are a very common dessert in South America. You can find them in the bakeries, or in the small neighborhood store.
The price varies from store to store, as well as the quality of the cookies and the quantity of dulce de leche.
One of the most common recipes is the cornstarch alfajores recipe that has part all-purpose flour and a part of cornstarch.
With this type of alfajor, there are recipes that use only egg yolks and others use all the egg.
I have to confess that although I love alfajores, I don't make them at home, precisely because it is easy to buy delicious alfajores in Paraguay.
Today's recipe is an adaptation from my friend Gaby's recipe.
There are a lot of recipes for alfajores, but I find that the majority are in grams. I know a lot of my friends who lived in South America would like to have a recipe measured in cups.
This is the only recipe I've ever tried, and the taste and texture are the same as the alfajores that I buy from the bakeries.
I hope you enjoy making these alfajores at home.
Dough for Alfajores
For this recipe, it is important to have all the ingredients at room temperature. Remove butter and yolks from the refrigerator 30 minutes before starting.
My friend's recipe says to add brandy or cognac. I didn't have any but reading about these ingredients, what you want is the acidity they offer that helps the formation of gluten in the dough, something that lemon juice can also do. Use what you have on hand.
Start by mixing the butter, yolks, icing sugar, and lemon zest until creamy. Then add the vanilla and lemon juice.
Add the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder. Mix with a wooden spoon or your hands.
The dough is soft, it looks a bit like playdough. Wrap it with plastic film and store it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until firm to the touch.
Once the dough is cold and firm, you can roll it out by sprinkling cornstarch on a flat surface.
Roll out the dough, and then cut it with a round cutter, a glass, or lid.
The truth is that you can give it the shape you want. The round shape is the most common one.
Bake the cookies for just 12 minutes. They are not going to brown at all, but you can touch them with the tip of your fingers to see if they are cooked (they should feel firm).
Dulce de Leche Filling
Dulce de leche filling is the most common one throughout South America.
Some say it is the ingredient that Argentines added to the recipe for alfajores that came to South America with the Spaniards.
Dulce de leche is another very common dessert or spread that South American love. It is the reduction of milk and sugar; some add vanilla, and others a little baking soda.
The dulce de leche needs to spread over the edges a little for the coconut to stick.
The easiest way I found to do this step is to place the dulce de leche in a bag and cut off the tip.
Then grab a cookie in one hand, and with the other, squeeze the bag and begin to add the dulce de leche around the edges going towards the center.
Top the alfajor with another cookie and press gently so that the dulce de leche squishes out a little. Then roll it over the shredded coconut.
These alfajores can be stored at room temperature for about 5 days but in an airtight container. If they are not covered well, they will dry out.
Recipes you might like:
Alfajores are soft, melt in your mouth cookies, sandwich together with dulce de leche.
- 1/4 cup butter at room temperature (50g)
- 1/2 cup icing sugar (50g)
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon cornstarch (133g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup dulce de leche (190g)
- 1/4 cup grated coconut (25g)
In a large bowl, beat the butter, icing sugar, egg yolks and lemon zest with an electric mixer until creamy (about 2 minutes). Add the lemon juice and vanilla, mix well.
Add flour, cornstarch, and baking powder. Mix with a wooden spoon or your hands. Wrap the dough with plastic film and store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until the dough is firm.
Preheat the oven to 176C/350F and grease the baking sheet.
On a flat surface, sprinkle some cornstarch. Roll out the dough to 1/4 centimeter thick. Cut the dough into the desired shape.
Bake for 12 minutes. Cookies don't brown much, but they have to feel firm when touched. Let them cool.
Place the dulce de leche in a bag and cut off the tip. Pipe dulce de leche on the cookies, starting with the edges. Gently press the second cookie on top of the dulce de leche, making sure that the dulce de leche comes out of the edges a little. Roll alfajores in shredded coconut.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days if it is not too hot. Or in the fridge, if the weather is very hot.
These alfajores were cut with a 4 cm cutter (1-1/2 inches).