This post is a little bit out of left field, but I decided at the last minute to show something I baked just for the fun of it. To clarify, I basically do all of my baking “just for the fun of it”, but typically I plan out the recipes that are featured on the blog so that there’s some tie to the season or upcoming holidays and some diversity in types of foods. But, I do a whole heck of a lot of cooking and baking every week that doesn’t make the blog, and these cookies are an example of that.
I made alfajores for the first time in seventh grade when tasked with creating something to demonstrate an element of Argentinean culture. Naturally, I chose to bake. I haven’t made them much since, but was recently reminded of these tasty, crumbly little bites and decided to experiment with them again.
The Americanized version will essentially create standard shortbread cookies, but the more classic Argentinean version uses a whole lot of cornstarch to create the ultimate crumbly cookie. To make the process a little bit simpler, I used pre-made dulce de leche, but of course you could make your own as well.
Classic Argentinean Alfajores
Yield: 36 sandwich cookies
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 and ¾ sticks butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 12 ounces dulce de leche, for filling
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, for rolling
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla and lemon zest until just combined. Add the dry ingredients and continue to mix until the dough begins to come together, 5-7 minutes.
Roll the dough out in portions on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into circles using a two-inch round (or round fluted) cookie cutter and transfer to a baking sheet. Place the sheets in the refrigerator for approximately 15 minutes prior to baking, to firm up the dough.
Bake for about 10 minutes until cookies are set, but not browned. Allow to cool completely on wire racks. Fill the cooled cookies with one teaspoon of dulce de leche and gently roll the sides in the shredded coconut. Dust with powdered sugar prior to serving.
- After adding the dry ingredients, the dough will seem very dry, but do not add any liquid. Continue to beat until the mixture pulls from the sides and comes together into a large mass.
- Use as little flour as possible when rolling the dough to avoid drying it out even more.
- The cookies can be placed fairly close together on the baking sheet since they will not spread during baking.
- Even if you’re not a coconut fan, the flakes add a very subtle flavor that cuts the sweetness of the dulce de leche.