Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Alfajores are a shortbread-sandwich cookie originating in South America, often with dulce de leche in the middle and rolled in coconut or powdered sugar. I have been wanting to try making them ever since one of my virtual friends, who is originally from Paraguay, brought them up in passing. She got me really curious about them and even shared her Dad's recipe! I used a slightly altered version of it, after doing a bit of looking on the web, adding some cornstarch and egg yolks (which she said he often does anyway).

Dulce de Leche
First I needed to make the dulce de leche. I had often heard you can make it using cans of condensed milk, boiled in a pot, but that freaked me out a little, so I looked around until I found a recipe that didn't come with kitchen-explosion warnings. I didn't really know what color I was going for, but I'm suspecting I could have and should have baked it longer.

Because here's the thing. I'm pretty sure the cookies were spot on - they are dense and a little crumbly and very much a shortbread texture. But the dulce won't stay inside, even after cooling all night and chilling in the fridge. It oozes out the sides making an embarrassment of the coconut I tried rolling them in. I still took pictures of their shaggy selves, but I expected the caramel to be a thicker layer on the inside. (Should have cooked it longer).

Alfajores with cherry jam
With some of the cookies, I tried jam in the middle. If anyone has a magic formula for sandwich cookies, I'd love to hear it. When they are this substantial they are impossible to eat without everything oozing everywhere!


David T. Macknet said...

The alfajores I recall (from spending a summer in Argentina) weren't shortbread, they were more of a tea-cake.

Try the recipe at La Vida en Buenos Aires y Afines (she blogs in multiple languages - that's the English version).

Unknown said...

This is the exact recipe I ended up using! It seemed like a lot of blogs were pointing to it, and my friend's Dad's recipe was in grams, and I didn't feel like pulling out the scale (lazy).

David T. Macknet said...

Hmm. Well. Could it be the dulce de leche was too thin? You can recycle it into iced cream, now, if so.

The dulce de leche I'm familiar with is thick enough to spread upon bread, without getting too runny. Once it's spread, it really won't run off. It's more the consistency of a smooth peanut butter than caramel.

Unknown said...

mmm they look so tasty

Eliana said...

They look perfect Jenny.