Alfajores

This recipe has been featuring in a step-by-step post on The Recipe Girl Blog: How to Make Homemade Alfajores.

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Alfajores

Yield: 20 to 25 cookies, depending on the size

Prep Time: 45 min

Cook Time: 15 min

These little Latin cookies are a bite-full of deliciousness.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons brandy or cognac
1 teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup grated coconut
1 cup dulce de leche

Directions:

1. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy and creamy. Add egg yolks and mix. Add vanilla, brandy and lemon zest; mix well and set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add dry mixture to butter mixture and work together with your hands until all is combined and the dough is soft. Do not add any extra flour. You may wish to add a few drops of milk if the dough appears crumbly. Cover and chill for 2 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Working with half of the dough at a time (keep the other half refrigerated)-- on a floured work surface, roll out dough to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Cut into 2-inch rounds and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Repeat rolling/cutting with 2nd half of chilled dough. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until done. The cookies should be dry but not brown.

5. When cookies are cool, match them up into pairs of like-sizes. Turn one cookie over and spread a dollop of dulce de leche onto the flat part of the cookie. Place its partner on top (flat side down) and gently press so that the caramel comes to the edges. Roll edges in coconut and place on rack to set. Continue with the rest of the cookie pairs. When ready to serve, sift a light layer of powdered sugar over the tops of the cookies and place them on a platter.

Tips:

*Make sure that your room temperature butter is pretty soft. If it's too firm, your cookie dough will tend to be more crumbly.
*Don't be afraid to use the brandy! It does NOT give a liquor taste to these cookies. It works well with the lemon & vanilla, and I think it adds an element of flavor that wouldn't be there if you left it out. If you have to leave it out, be sure to add 2 Tablespoons of milk in its place.
*Be sure to use 'grated' coconut and not shredded coconut. I was able to find it in a bulk bin at Whole Foods. If you cannot find it, go ahead and whir your shredded coconut in the food processor to create much smaller pieces.
*Rounds are the typical shape used for these cookies. Try using different shaped round cutters. I made some 2-inch and then made some much smaller ones too.
*Take the time to make homemade dulce de leche- it's so easy to do and you'll be happy you did! Instructions HERE.

Source: RecipeGirl.com (Adapted from La Vida en Buenos Aires)

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13 Responses to “Alfajores”

  1. 1

    Melissa — April 27, 2009 @ 12:47 PM

    My dough is chilling, but I can’t keep my hands off the homemade dulce de leche. I was always reluctant to try it because the thought of boiling an unopened can scared me, but this method was easy as, well, pie, and it’s delicious!
    I can’t wait to bake and assemble!

  2. 2

    Louisa — February 8, 2010 @ 6:54 AM

    Hi Recipegirl! You found my post about your alfajores, so nice of you to leave a comment! I forgot to mention, I actually did the dulce de leche in a double boiler. And it was totally my fault that I burned it, nothing to do with the method. The cookie part was confusing though, since I followed the recipe exactly and my dough was super crumbly. But yeah they still were tasty and everyone loved them! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. 3

    Jessie — September 15, 2010 @ 2:34 PM

    My sister just sent me this recipe, and I’m so stoked to go home and make them tonight :)

  4. 4

    Jessie — September 22, 2010 @ 10:21 AM

    Do you have any hints for the cookie dough and rolling these out? My dough was super crumbly as well and I had a hard time keeping it all together, even after the time in the fridge.

  5. 5

    Audrey — November 18, 2010 @ 12:05 PM

    Also having issues with crumbly dough. Really crossing fingers it will get better, as I have to provide these for the preschool party on Friday!

  6. 6

    Lori Lange — November 19, 2010 @ 6:14 AM

    @Audrey, Shoot, I hope you can work it out! Did you see this post? http://www.recipegirl.com/2009/03/30/how-to-make-homemade-alfajores/ Add a little milk to bring the crumbles together maybe?

  7. 7

    Jennifer — May 2, 2011 @ 6:19 PM

    Regarding this: “4. Divide dough in half and keep one-half refrigerated.” It doesn’t say what to do with the other half. What do I do with the other half??

  8. 8

    Lori Lange — May 2, 2011 @ 11:32 PM

    Updated the directions- Keep one half of the dough chilled while you roll out the 1st half. Repeat rolling/cutting with 2nd half of chilled dough too.

  9. 9

    Annie — June 29, 2011 @ 8:41 PM

    I just made these (following the recipe to a T) and they’re fantastic. Everyone in the house adores them. Thank you!!!!

  10. 10

    Makenzie — July 13, 2011 @ 12:35 PM

    I lived in South America for a while and ate these alot. They also serve them covered in Chocolate!! So good!

  11. 11

    gloria eisenberg — March 2, 2012 @ 2:03 PM

    These sweets are very common in Chile, Peru & maybe some other countries
    in Latin America. In the old days in Chile we used to boil the can of condensed milk for 1.5 to 2 hrs., in a pot with enough water, & making sure the water was always covering the can. For the last 20 years or so they are available in the supermarket , made by many companies. In California you can find it in almost every supermarket as well. I like to buy my can of “dulce de leche ” from Nestle, already on the shelves because it has the right color & consistency. I found other brands, like the Mexican too runny. I made the alfajores once, many years back…Have not compared the Chilean recipe against yours to see the crumbly dough issue everydoby is having …Thank you for including such array of foods & going international as well….

  12. 12

    Jaclyn — September 21, 2012 @ 6:45 PM

    My husband is Peruvian, so I’m a big fan of these. In my experience, most restaurants don’t use alcohol in them. For anyone who doesn’t want to use brandy (or Peruvian Pisco), but doesn’t want to sacrifice the flavor, my mother-in-law said to sub the lemon zest for anise seeds. That is always how I’ve had them!

  13. 13

    Ginna — June 22, 2013 @ 8:18 PM

    It’s the second time I make this, my fiancé is peruvian and I really wanted to surprise him , he was amazed by my alfajores !!!!! Everyone who tried them said they taste really good and Even asked me for more ;)) thank you for u recipe