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)