I’ve been wanting to make alfajores for some time now. For those who don’t know, alfajores are a delicacy commonly found around South America. There are different versions, with every country taking the recipe in a slightly distinctive direction, but most of them center around two main ingredients: a sugary, crumbly biscuit and a thick, creamy filling of dulce de leche.
I first tried alfajores in an Argentinian café, I was curious and didn’t know what to expect. I’ve never been a huge fan of dulce de leche, but decided to give it a try and man, I was in for a treat!
This is the kind of biscuit I love to munch on while sipping on a nice warm cup of coffee. The soft buttery texture paired with melting dulce de leche is just divine. The recipe below doesn’t require homemade dulce de leche, I went for the easiest thing and bought some (I highly recommend the brand Havanna).
This recipe has been the perfect breath of fresh air and inspiration I needed to fall back in love with baking. These days as I’ve stepped a bit away from vegan baking, and discovered a lot of traditional recipes that are both delicious and fun to make, I’ve started to enjoy it a bit more. The recipe took me a few tries to get right but now I think I’ve hit on the right combo that ticks all the boxes I was looking for. There are lots of different recipes for alfajores, some of them have only corn starch and no flour but I like the texture more when using both. Corn starch alone gives a chalkier/crumbly version that some people prefer, but now I’ve found my perfect ratio, a sort of Argentinian style using a mix of flour and corn starch, and I’m sticking with it.
After trying out this recipe, I had to give them the real test. My boyfriend helped me out, he has an Argentinian colleague who could give them a try and let me know her verdict. She actually said they reminded her of her childhood! I think this is the best compliment I could have asked for. I hope you like these as much as I do, and hopefully they’ll bring you back some nostalgic memories too.
Alfajores - Dulce de Leche Biscuits (Argentinian Style)
- 130 g cornstarch, sifted
- 225 g baking flour, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla powder
- 2 tsp baking powder, sifted
- 2 egg yolks
- 150 g sugar
- 200 g margarine or butter, softened
- Dulce de Leche
- Shredded Coconut
In a bowl, mix together the sifted flour, corn starch vanilla powder and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and margarine until smooth. Add the egg yolks, one at a time until fully incorporated.
Next, add the flour mixture little by little until it's all mixed together. Form a ball with your hands and if you have time, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge to chill for about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
If your dough was in the fridge, take it out and let it get back up to room temperature. Place your dough between two parchment sheets and roll it out until it's about ½ cm thick.
Using a cookie cutter, (mine was about 6cm large), stamp out cookies. Transfer the cookies (using a spatula might be easier as the cookies might break) to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Repeat until you're done with all the dough. I had to roll mine another two times.
Transfer to oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. You want the biscuits to stay pale but be firm with a crumbly texture. Allow to cool.
When the cookies have cooled, flip half of the cookies on their opposite side. Using a butter knife or a piping bag add some dulce de leche.*
Top each of the cookies with another cookie and lightly press it down.
Once all the biscuits are sandwiched together, roll in desiccated coconut. If you find that the coconut isn't sticking, you can add a bit more dulce de leche around the sides of the alfajores.
Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for a couple of days.
*About a tablespoon should do the trick but it all depends on your taste and how much dulce de leche you like 😉