How to Make Homemade Alfajores

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When I first began surfing food blogs back in 2007, the first recipe that caught me eye was for these delicious sandwich cookies that had caramel oozing out the sides:  Alfajores.  Here it is 2009, and I have finally- just now- gotten around to making them.

Our neighborhood’s Gourmet Club had a Spanish-themed Paella dinner party last weekend, and I begged to contribute alfajores as a dessert choice.  An alfajor consists of two sweet biscuits sandwiched together with dulce de leche (or jam) and sprinkled with powdered sugar. It’s a traditional cookie found in some regions in Spain and in countries of Latin America. Our dinner party hostess grew up in Peru and is quite fond of the traditional alfajor. She was happy to learn that I was willing to make them.

I scoured the blogaverse for the best recipe and settled on one found at La Vida en Buenos Aires.

Here’s the How-To:
Mix the ‘biscuit’ dough by hand and then chill until slightly firm. Roll out the dough, and cut out rounds. (I used biscuit cutters- some 2-inch and some 1-inch).
If you use a 2-inch cutter, you’ll get about 50 biscuits- enough for 25 sandwich cookies. Take some time to find good pairs that are like-sized and place them together.
Set up an assembly line of biscuits, dulce de leche and grated coconut. Make the dulce de leche homemade (instructions HERE). You can locate finely grated coconut in the bulk bins at Whole Foods for a cheap price. If you can only find the shredded sort, go ahead and grind it up in your food processor. You don’t want big shreds of coconut.
Take some time to scoop up your dulce de leche and admire its gooeyness.
Spoon a dollop of dulce onto the flat part of one cookie. alfajores10
Place the flat part of the matching cookie pair on top and squeeze lightly together.
Roll edges in grated coconut, and place on rack to set. If it will be a while before serving (or if it’s a warm day), you may with to place them in the refrigerator to set.
They’re good as is, but the classic alfajor is sprinkled with powdered sugar. You can do this just before serving to avoid the possibility of getting smudgy fingerprints on the cookies.
I made some small ones that were a nice little treat for us to keep at home!
The larger sized ones were brought to the dinner party, and they were served with Lucuma ice cream that they hostess had made. Lucuma is a fruit that is native to Peru and it is rarely seen in the United States. Since the fruit cannot be brought to the US on the airplane, our hostess brought back Lucuma powder to make the ice cream. In Peru, Lucuma ice cream is more popular than chocolate and vanilla. I thought it was delicious. If I ever get myself to Peru, I’d love to try the real thing.

The alfajores were a big hit at the party. They were a perfect garnish for ice cream, and the few that were left over were gone before the end of the night.

Note: If you don’t like coconut, you can always leave it out… however, I’m one who doesn’t like coconut but loved it in these cookies. It doesn’t take on an overwhelming flavor at all.

This recipe can be found HERE.

Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

Meet The Author: Lori Lange

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  • AKorup wrote:

    Hi … I make theese all the time … lovely cookies, but I roll mine in chopped dark chocolate in stead of coconut.

    • Lily wrote:

      Rachel, you’re the most bitter person I’ve heard, it said that ignorance is bold. In all countries of the world there is violence and crime, have not you noticed?, or did you live in Fantasyland?
      about the Lucuma, educate before making any comment

  • Sig wrote:

    I’m sure these came out nicely, but if you’re going to do them the best way (the Argentine way like my grandma), they need to be much thicker and the sides HAVE to be entirely covered in dulce de leche and coconut. None of this thin strip of coconut business.

    Then they will be perfect.

  • Dana wrote:

    These look yummy, but the kind I fell in love with are more flaky, like pie dough. By looking at recipes, I think they may be the ones that have cornstarch and flour (like these:

    My faves so far are sold at Market Hall bakery in the Piedmont area of Oakland, CA ( and across the street at the Cactus Taqueria (made at neither place, but by the same woman). I also just found these in the area, but haven’t tried them yet:

  • biscuit lover wrote:

    Cant wait to try these babies out

  • Angie wrote:

    I tried these cookies last night at a Diversity Night school function. I could not wait to get home so I could find the recipe to make my own. I could have eaten the whole platter. But I decided to save some for the all the other families.

  • Kevin wrote:

    Those dulce de leche sandwich cookies look so good!

  • Jude wrote:

    Alfajores are so good especially when homemade. Love the dulce de leche filling.

  • Donna wrote:

    Oh, yum. these are one of my most favorite cookies, ever, ever, ever.. Usually I roll them in powdered sugar, I like this idea better.

  • Jerri wrote:

    These look nice. And I love the new site by the way.

  • brilynn wrote:

    Those look awesome!
    I made alfajores a couple years back but didn’t make my ducle de leche properly, (it wasn’t thick enough) so all my alfajores were oozy. Still tasty, just not easy to eat.

  • food librarian wrote:

    Oh, I love these! These are beautiful and you make everything look so simple and yet elegant!

  • Ivy wrote:

    These cookies are really FANTASTIC!!!! I posted a recipe today I bookmarked from you. Sorry I had to make some changes but I had to omit the butter and eggs so I made a few changes.

  • CakeSpy wrote:

    YES! I am an alfajore-addict! You just keep getting better and better!

  • Katrina wrote:

    These look awesome! That’s really all I can say. Awesome! 😉

  • Girl wrote:

    The pictures are more and more amazing each and every time… caramel rolled in coconut speaks to my cookie loving side.

  • sharon wrote:

    A friend of mine brought me some of these from Argentina and I never dreamed I’d be able to make them on my own. Thanks for the great instructions & recipe!

  • Sophie wrote:

    These are very yummy and pretty–like little flowers. They came out flawless.

    I really love your dulce de leche tutorial!

  • Peter wrote:

    Screw Oreos…Alfajores are where it’s at. This dulce de leche ride is most welcome!

  • Esi wrote:

    Swoon! The dulce de leche sounds amazing. This is a great idea for a party.

  • Cher wrote:

    LOVE the pic with the stacks of cookies and the spoonful of drizzling caramel held above the bowl of caramel! It is the BEST alfajore pic I’ve seen because it really gets you with the caramel, an important element in this cookie … moreso than a seeing a caramel filling peeking out of the sandwich. I guess, tho, if someone wanted just one picture to show “alfajores” (as opposed to illustrating steps), you would have to include a couple of the finished cookies, too … but I am loving that photo. All the photos are well done, I’m just getting off on caramel! I can’t imagine having the patience or skill to set up these shots and create the photos. Just so you know, we sure enjoy the photos accompanying the recipes!

    • RecipeGirl wrote:

      Thanks Cher! Glad you enjoy the step by step. Yes, it’s a pain at times, but very helpful when explaining the process.