You may have never heard of Alfajores, but we promise that once you try them you’ll never forget them. Alfajores are tender, delicate cookies that sandwich a generous helping of sweet and creamy dulce de leche (a milk based caramel). They’re popular throughout Latin America, with many different variations in many different countries. (Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay… the list goes on.) They originated in Spain where they are made with honey, almonds, and spices and are traditionally served as Christmas cookies. The versions in Central and South America range from buttery to cakey, rolled in flaked coconut or dipped in sweet chocolate. Our favorite version, the one here, is the Alfajores de Maizena, which is a cornstarch based cookie that is soft and light, the perfect foundation for gooey, chewy dulce de leche. Dusting it generously in powdered sugar is an extra sweet touch.
The cornstarch creates a dough that is a breeze to work with and gives this cookie its signature soft and delicate bite. Dulce de leche is just sweetened condensed milk that has been cooked down, so it’s simple to make your own if you’re feeling so inclined, but you can also find a pre-made can in the international section of your grocery store. (Homemade or not, that stuff is soooo good.) They’re certainly a fun departure from your average chocolate chip cookie, but they won’t take any extra effort. We are just head over heels for the combination of the soft and crumbly exterior with the sweet and chewy interior. What it comes down to is that these little cookies have it all!
2 hours to prepare serves 12
- 2 cups dulce de leche
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine the granulated sugar and butter and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat to combine.
- Add flour mixture and mix on low, until just incorporated.
- Divide dough in half and roll each piece into a log about 1 1/2 inches thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.
- When chilled, unwrap dough and slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place on prepared baking sheets at least 1/2-inch apart.
- Bake until cookies are firm to the touch and pale golden on the bottom, about 10-12 minutes. (The cookies should be pale on the top.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Flip half of the cookies over and spread with dulce de leche. (You can also use a piping bag if you prefer.) Place a second cookie on top and gently press down.
- Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Enjoy!
Adapted from Chowhound.