Alfajores are butter cookies filled with caramel. Growing up these were my favourite, I was always asking my mum to bake me some. It isn't clear where these cookies are from, or at least not to me, but the most common version is the Argentinian one, covered in white or dark chocolate and sometimes rolled in coconut.
My version is a little different, I'm not a fan of the taste of cornflour so I've changed to a shortbread cookie that I fill up with dulce de leche and dust with icing sugar on top. The presentation of the cookie is all my mum's, she used to cut out a little circle off the cookie sitting on top and to me that's been the only way an alfajor should look.
This recipe makes 18 sandwich cookies.
For the cookies:
- 266 grams butter, at room temperature
- 60 grams icing sugar plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 260 grams all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the dulce de leche
- 1 can (397 grams ) condense milk
First, let's start with the dulce de leche, all you have to do is put the can of condensed milk in a pan, cover it with water and bring it to a boil at a high temperature, once is boiling, lower the temperature to medium/low. Boil for about 2 1/2 hours, checking it once in a while and adding more water if necessary. Once the time is up, carefully remove it from the pan. Once is completely cold open the can carefully and ta-dah... You have a can full of yummy caramel.
Now, for the cookies, beat the butter and sugar at a low speed. After a minute increase the speed to medium high and beat until smooth, add the vanilla and beat for a further minute.
Stir in the salt and flour in a large bowl, then add the flour to the butter and sugar. Mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until you get a breadcrumb like dough.
Lightly dust a surface with flour, empty the dough into it and without working the dough too much shape it into a disk, wrap it in cling film and leave it in the fridge for at least one hour. You can leave it all night in the fridge or if you are in a hurry, put it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with grease paper and set aside.
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 5mm thickness. Cut out circles using a 70mm round cookie cutter and using a 30mm round cookie cutter cut a hole in the centre of half of the cookies.
Bake them for about 12 minutes or until golden. Let them cool completely on a wire rack. Once they are cold, spread the dulce de leche on the back of one cookie and press it on top with one ring shaped cookie. Using a colander, dust icing sugar on top.
These cookies make the perfect edible gift for this Christmas.