Alfajores (increasingly known as Alfies®) have a long-standing history in Argentina dating back to the 19th century. They are a huge part of the Argentinian culture and somewhat of a national cookie…and for good reason. Alfajores are made with two soft and crumbly cookies sandwiched around a luscious dollop of dulce de leche. Alfajores would be nothing without this traditional caramel filling, which is simply milk and sugar boiled down to its raw, creamy essence. Nothing beats the flavor of an alfajor with the right amount of "dulce de leche"!
The “alfajor” is considered a pastry or confection, but Argentinians eat them in the morning with coffee or tea, as an afternoon snack or after dinner for a decadent dessert. In fact, there is no “right” time to eat alfajores…any time is the right time to indulge in one. There are many versions of alfajores, and each Argentine province has its traditional type, including jam-filled alfajores. The most popular varieties are the ones filled with dulce de leche and either rolled in coconut or covered in dark or white chocolate. In every Argentine home, alfajores are the gold standard treat to have on hand. Each bite is absolutely delicious.
Makes 12 cookies
100 grams (about 7 tablespoons) butter, soft
40 grams powdered sugar
75 grams cornstarch
75 grams all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons dulce de leche
Cream the soft butter together with the powdered sugar until the mixture is fluffy. If your butter is very soft already, this should take no more than a couple of minutes with a handheld mixer.
Whisk together the cornstarch and the all-purpose flour, then combine it with the butter and sugar using a large wooden spoon until the dough starts coming together into a ball.
Briefly knead the dough to ensure that all of the ingredients are well mixed. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten it into a disk, and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C) and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the disk of dough on a floured surface, dust it with some extra flour, then carefully roll the dough out to a thickness of no more than 5 millimeters (less than 1/4 inch).
Using a 5 centimeter (2 inch) round cookie cutter, cut out 24 cookies (you will have to re-roll the dough a couple of times to do this), and place the dough circles on the prepared sheet pan, leaving about 1 centimeter (about 1/2 inch) of space between the cookies.
Place the sheet pan in the fridge for approximately 10 minutes, so that the cookies can firm up.
Bake them for 12 minutes, or until they’re just starting to color around the edges. Leave the cookies to cool.
Once they’re at room temperature, top half of the cookies with dulce de leche, using about 1 teaspoon on each one. Then sandwich those cookies with the plain ones.