Updated: Aug 2, 2020
These popular powdery cookies filled with creamy dulce de leche are a popular snack from South America. The Spanish version is somewhat different as these are filled with a variety of fillings unlike the South American version, which are filled with dulce de leche (a creamy caramel like filling) What makes these cookies so “melt in your mouth” soft is because of the corn starch (Maizena).
In South America alfajores are found mostly in Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and Brazil. The traditional cookie is typically covered with powdered sugar. You will also find alfajores covered with grated coconut or chocolate. Dulce de Leche is sweetened condensed milk which has been caramelized in its own can.
Yields: about 24 cookies
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C fan oven)
· 225 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
· 1 cup powdered sugar
· 4 egg yolks at room temperature
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 1/2 cup cornstarch
· 1 1/2 cup flour without baking powder
· Powdered sugar for dusting
In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar, until creamy, about 3 minutes.
While the machine is running, add the egg yolks one at a time, about 2 minutes.
Add vanilla and mix
Add the flour and cornstarch and mix until crumbs are formed,
Once it is crumbly, use your hands to form a soft dough.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for minimum 30 minutes or overnight.
Divide dough into 2, roll it to a thickness of 1/2 cm
Make sure you do not roll them too thin as they will break.
With a cookie cutter or food ring, cut circles of 2cm in diameter
Bake on a baking sheet lined and covered with parchment paper for 13-15 minutes until they are lightly browned
These cookies do not expand in size while baking so you can place them close together
Cool completely on the baking sheet on a cooling rack
When completely cooled, fill the Dulce de Leche (I use a piping bag to fill the cookies)
Use a sieve and cover evenly with powdered sugar
For best results, let stand for about 2 hours before serving
They can be stored in an airtight container for at least 2-3 days
RECIPE: DULCE DE LECHE
I make my Dulce de Leche in a pressure cooker, but you can also use a regular pot, but it will take at least 2-3 hours to cook vs the 20 minutes in the pressure cooker.
2 cans Sweetened Condensed Milk (enough to fill one batch of 24 cookies)
Enough water to submerge the can
Place the cans of sweetened condensed milk in a pressure cooker
Fill the pressure cooker with enough water to cover the can.
Put the can on its side to make sure it is fully submerged while not exceeding the "maximum capacity" of the pressure cooker
Close the lid and set the valve to pressure cooking position.
Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 15 minutes at high pressure. Stovetop pressure cookers: Lock the lid and cook for 20 minutes at high pressure.
Once time is up, open the pressure cooker with the natural release method and move the cooker off the burner
Wait for the pressure to come down on its own. · When the pressure cooker unlocks, be careful when removing the lid
Some important safety precautions:
Remove the label from the can unless it is printed
DO NOT remove the can from the pressure cooker while the water is still warm
The contents of the can are still under pressure
DO NOT shake the pressure cooker containing the heated can.
DO NOT open nor move around the can while it is still warm as the contents may still be under pressure
Once cooled, remove from the water in the pressure cooker and place in a bowl with ice water or run it under cold water for a few minutes
Let cool completely before opening