Alfajores are THE traditional cookie of Argentina. Every home in Argentina eats these on a regular basis. You’ll see these cookies at every family gathering and every holiday, but especially at Christmastime. I make them every Christmas and they are definitely one of my family’s favorite treats. But beware, one is not enough. They are extremely addicting!
The dough is a bit tricky to get to come together and because it is primarily made of cornstarch, the dough is very crumbly and delicate. The dough is similar to to a shortbread cookie in its consistency, but even more crumbly. It does contain regular flour also, so it is not gluten free. A gluten free all purpose flour would work well in place of regular flour and cornstarch is gluten free, so you can use that ingredient.
The cookies are baked for about ten minutes but they should not brown. Your Alfajor needs to stay very pale in color. If your oven is hotter than other ovens, you may want to adjust your temperature because you don’t want to brown the tops of the cookie. The flavor will be fine and they’ll have a crunch, and if that’s what you like, than don’t worry about it. But traditionally they should be very soft and crumbly.
Let’s talk about the filling. The filling is called Dulce le Leche. (Sweetened Milk) Basically, it’s sweetened condensed milk. I buy cans of sweetened condensed milk and simmer them in water for three hours. Yes three hours! I know it may sound crazy, but you’ll end up with a thick sweet caramel sauce that’s great for fillings or to spread on toast, like they do in Argentina.
You can find dulce de leche at most grocery stores in the Latin food aisle or you can purchase some amazing dule de leche at Tader Joe’s.
*I’ll post a sweetened condensed milk post soon to teach you how to make the caramel sauce.
To make a sandwich cookie, place a heaping teaspoon of dulce de leche on a cookie and place another cookie on top to make a sandwich.
Place a cup or so of shredded coconut on a plate and roll your cookie edges all the way around in the coconut.
I know you and your family will love alfajores just as much as mine do.
After you bake the cookies, cool on a cookie rack before filling the cookies.
Make sure your dulce de leche and cookie are cool before filling them or they will ooze out of your cookie.
- 2 ½ cups cornstarch
- 1 ⅔ cup flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp. Baking powder
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 sticks of butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tbl vanilla
- Zest of one lemon
Sift cornstarch with flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl.
Beat butter, sugar, and add yolks one at a time. Add vanilla. Mix well.
Combine dry ingredients with wet ones and form a paste without rolling the pin. Add lemon zest.
At this point, it will still be difficult to combine the crumbs into a dough. Slowly add milk, one teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together. Do not overmix or your cookies will be tough.
Flatten dough into disk and refrigerate.
Regrigerate dough 30 minutes to one hour.
Roll out over floured surface and cut using small circle cookie or biscuit cutter.
Bake in lightly greased pan for approx 10-12 minutes. Do not let them brown.
*oven temps vary, you may cook for only 10 minute. Just in case, set your oven for 10 minutes an check it.