Creamy milk caramel, sandwiched between two crisp and buttery shortbread cookies. These Argentinian Dulce de Leche Cookies are a recipe worth indulging in.
Alfajores (pronounced AL-fa-HO-res) are a sandwich cookie that is incredibly popular in Argentina and all over Latin America. They are so well-loved that they are widely considered the national cookie of Argentina. You will find these sweet treats eaten not only as a dessert or snack, but also at breakfast with coffee or tea.
Two Cookies, One Name
It is believed that these sweet and crumbly cookies have been enjoyed for over 100 years. They were brought to Latin America from Spain, where they are a traditional Christmas cookie. However, the name is the only similarity between the Spanish and Latin American cookie today.
While the Latin American adaptation cuts the cookie dough into rounds when then form a sandwich with the creamy Dulce de Leche, in Spain, the dough is shaped into a cylinder, creating a longer, crisp cookie, without any creamy filling. Spanish Alfajores are made with honey, almonds and spices, and they are crumbly, but not quite the melt-in-your-mouth sandwich cookie that they became in Latin America.
The Latin American version that we are sharing with you today starts with two crisp and crumbly shortbread cookies that get a unique texture from the use of cornstarch as well as flour. The cornstarch is what gives the cookies their incredibly crumbly texture. The cookies themselves are only mildly sweet, which is perfectly acceptable because they are sandwiched with a Mexican milk caramel (literally “candy milk”) called Dulce de Leche (pronounced DOOL-say day LAY-chay). You can find Dulce de Leche in Mexican grocery stores, or you can make it yourself by slowly heating sweetened condensed milk until the sugars caramelize. (We have include instructions for making your own in the recipe below.)
A Fusion Of Textures
We love the way the crumbly texture of the cookies contrasts with the smooth and creamy Dulce de Leche. The cookies are so crumbly, that you must be careful to fill and sandwich them while still slightly warm, so they don’t crack and crumble. However, once the sandwiches set overnight, the cookies start to absorb moisture from the Dulce de Leche filling, softening them just enough and giving them an incredibly rich feeling in your mouth with each bite.
- 3 Tbsp butter, unsalted
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- ⅛ tsp lemon zest (fresh)
- ½ Tbsp brandy
- ½ c cornstarch
- ¼ c + 2 Tb flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 8 oz Dulce de Leche*
- In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer. Add the egg yolk, lemon zest, and brandy. Beat until smooth and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch, flour, and baking powder. Sift the dry mixture into the butter mixture and beat over low speed until the mixture looks like even, wet crumbs.
- Using your hands, knead the mixture just until it forms a dough that will hold together. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour, up to 3 days, to let the flavor develop.
- When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 350F.
- Roll the dough ¼ inch thick and cut it into circles using a 1 ¾ inch cookie cutter (or the mouth of a shot glass), Re-roll any dough scraps and cut additional cookies. You should have 24 cookie dough rounds. Place the cut dough onto a baking sheet, ½ inch apart.
- Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes, until they are firm, but just before they start to turn a light golden brown. (These cookies are traditionally white.)
- When the cookies are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for about 1 minute on the baking sheet. Then, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- When the cookies cool to room temperature, place roughly 1 tsp of Dulce de Leche on one cookie and top it with a second cookie. Press down gently and evenly, so that the cookies do not crumble.
- (If desired, sprinkle the cookies with powdered sugar or dried coconut.)
- Enjoy the cookies immediately to really appreciate the crisp and creamy texture contrast, or store for up to 1 week in an air-tight container for the cookies to absorb some flavor and moisture from the Dulce de Leche.
And, to get you in the Holiday cookie spirit, the Sunday Supper crew has put together a special collection of their favorite cookies!
- Adaptable Marshmallow Bars by Get the Good Stuff
- Alfajores by Curious Cuisiniere
- Amaretto Apricot Oatmeal Cookies by Magnolia Days
- Amaretto Balls by Palatable Pastime
- Brown Eyed Susans by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Chewy Gingersnaps by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Chocolate – Pear Biscotti by What Smells So Good?
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies by The Bitter Side of Sweet
- Coffee Cake Cookies by Pies and Plots
- Cowboy Cookies by Party Food and Entertaining
- Cranberry Orange Rugelach Cookies by My Imperfect Kitchen
- Dark Chocolate Mint Cake Mix Cookies by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
- Espresso-Ginger Sandwich Cookies by Wholistic Woman
- Espresso Snickerdoodles by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Frosted Ginger Spice Cookies by Daily Dish Recipes
- Funfetti Marshmallow Cookies by Brunch with Joy
- Gingerbread Snowflake Cookies by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Gluten Free Hazelnut Truffle Cookies by Gluten Free Crumbley
- Gluten Free Nutella Stuffed Linzer Cookies by Fearless Dining
- Green Tea Macarons with Chocolate Ganache by Tara’s Multicultural Table
- Holiday Nutrolls by Delaware Girl Eats
- Kolaczki by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Lemon Thumbprint Cookies by Cookin’ Mimi
- Macadamia Nut Butter Crisps by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Mocha chocolate Chip cookies by Monica’s Table
- Mudslide Cookies by Books ‘n Cooks
- Nana’s Russian Teacakes byThe Crumby Cupcake
- Pfeffernüsse by Feeding Big
- Pistachio oatmeal cookies by Caroline’s Cooking
- Pizzelles by The Freshman Cook
- Snowball Cookies by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Spiked Eggnog Cookies by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Thai-Kissed Cookies by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Tipsy Chocolate Cherry Cookies by Christmas Tree Lane
- Toffee Squares by Ruffles & Truffles
- White Chocolate Dipped Gingersnaps by Sunday Supper
Plus, 20 Cookie Baking Tips and Holiday Cookie recipes from Sunday Supper
Join the #Cookielicious conversation on twitter on Tuesday! We will be tweeting throughout the day and sharing cookie recipes from all over the world. Our chat starts at 7:00 pm ET on Tuesday, December 1. Follow the #Cookielicious hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great cookie recipes visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.