It's time for another short and photo-filled post. Not that that's a bad thing. I think these cookies are super pretty. Alfajores. These are one of my favorite cookies...ever. They're nothing fancy, really. They're just shortbread cookies that have been sandwiched together with a little dulce de leche and then rolled around in a little shredded coconut for a finishing touch, and added sweetness.
Alfajores are a very popular cookie in Argentina, and you can find them in bakeries and shops all over Latin America (which is a good thing, because these cookies are just so good!) They're light and delicate, and I would think they would be nice to serve with other little light and delicate goodies at a tea-time of sorts...Mother's Day tea perhaps?
Like any other cookie that requires rolling out and shaping via a cookie cutter, these cookies take some time and prior planning, because the dough needs to be refrigerated for a couple of hours before any of that can happen. But it's no biggie, really. It gives you time to make the dulce de leche for filling the cookie sandwiches. Never made dulce de leche before? Don't worry. It's really easy. All you need is a can of condensed milk, a pressure cooker, and 35 minutes. Alternatively, you may also use store-bought dulce de leche. I chose to make it myself because you should all know by now that I am always lazy about going to the supermarket to pick up extra ingredients. I didn't have a jar of dulce de leche, but I did have a can of condensed milk. You'll never be able to tell the difference between home-made and store bought; my mom has been making dulce de leche this way for as long as I can remember, and it has always come out perfectly.
They're also assembly-type cookies...I don't know about you, but I actually really love assembly type cookies. I just find them super fun to make. These are fun because they're little sandwiches...its kind of like making homemade Oreo cookies, but better, because these are filled with dulce de leche (I'm slightly obsessed with it) and then you get the added step of rolling them around in shredded coconut. So much fun.
Stay tuned later this week (aka Thursday/Friday, after I finally finish finals...!!!!!!!!!!!!!) for a really awesome post. You won't want to miss it! But until then, I am going to go back to studying/procrastinating/stressing/not sleeping, and you should make yourself a batch of alfajores. They're delicious!
recipe from Alfajor Argentino
100 grams unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup cornstarch
1 can condensed milk (to make dulce de leche)
Begin by making the dulce de leche. Fill a pressure cooker with water, and add the can of condensed milk. Cover the pressure cooker with its lid, and heat your stove to medium high heat. Allow the pressure cooker to cook for about 35-40 minutes, just until you hear the first whistle. Turn the heat off, let the pressure cooker cool slightly, and carefully remove the can from inside. Allow the can to cool COMPLETELY (this is very important) before even attempting to open it. Once the can has cooled completely, open it, and you have dulce de leche!
While the dulce de leche cools, make the cookies. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and corn starch. In the bowl of a standard electric mixer, combine the room temperature butter and sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and beat in until well incorporated.
Gradually begin to add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture, and mix just until everything is incorporated and has come together into a ball of dough. Gather up all the dough, and place in a plastic bag. Allow the dough to rest for several hours in the refrigerator, or at least until the dough has firmed up enough that it can be rolled out.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Once the dough is ready, remove it from the fridge, and let it sit out for a little bit, just until it comes to room temperature. On a well-floured surface, begin to roll out the dough with a rolling pin, just until it is about 1 centimeter in thickness. Using a round cookie cutter (I used one that was about 5 cm or 2.5 in in diameter), cut out circles of dough, and place them onto the prepared cookie sheets. Re-roll the scraps of dough to get as many cookies as you can.
Bake the cookies in the preheated oven until they just begin to turn golden brown, about 9-11 minutes. Be sure to check on the cookies as they bake, you don't want them to turn golden brown! They should have just a slight hint of color. Remove the cookies from the oven, allow to cool slightly on the cookie sheets, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cookies have cooled completely, it is time to assemble the alfajores. Using the dulce de leche that was prepared earlier, spread a small amount onto a cookie before topping it off with another cookie. Roll the edges of the cookies in the shredded coconut, making sure to cover the dulce de leche that is oozing out of the sides completely. If you find that your dulce de leche is a little on the thin side and is oozing out a bit too much, place the cookies in the fridge to allow them to firm up a bit. Enjoy!
Makes about 2 dozen alfajores, or more, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.