Oh my goodness, you guys. Have you ever heard of Argentine alfajores? If not, prepare to have your taste buds blown away. These sweet little sandwich cookies are a staple in Argentina and other parts of South America, and for good reason. They’re made with two buttery, crumbly cookies filled with rich, creamy dulce de leche and rolled in coconut. Yes, please!
But let’s back up a bit. What exactly are alfajores? The word “alfajor” comes from the Arabic word “al-hasú,” which means “filled” or “stuffed.” And that’s exactly what these cookies are: two discs of dough filled with something sweet and delicious. In Argentina, that filling is almost always dulce de leche, a caramel-like spread made from sweetened condensed milk.
Alfajores have been around for centuries, with roots in the Middle East and Spain. When the Spanish colonized South America in the 16th century, they brought the recipe for alfajores with them. Over time, the recipe evolved and adapted to local ingredients and tastes, resulting in the delicious Argentine alfajores we know and love today.
One of the key ingredients in Argentine alfajores is cornstarch. It might seem like an odd ingredient for a cookie, but it’s what gives alfajores their signature melt-in-your-mouth texture. The cornstarch makes the dough more tender and crumbly than regular flour would.
But enough about the history and ingredients. Let’s talk about the taste! Argentine alfajores are sweet, but not overly so. The cookies themselves are buttery and crumbly, with a hint of lemon zest for added flavor. The dulce de leche filling is rich and creamy, with a deep caramel flavor that pairs perfectly with the cookies. And the coconut on the outside adds a nice touch of texture and sweetness.
The best part? You can make Argentine alfajores at home! They’re surprisingly easy to make and don’t require any fancy equipment or ingredients. All you need is some basic baking supplies and a little bit of patience (the dough needs to chill for a bit before you can roll it out).
So what are you waiting for? Join me on this culinary adventure as we explore the delicious world of Argentine alfajores. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.
- 3.5 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3.5 oz powdered sugar
- 3 eggs (of which we will use: 1 whole egg yolk and 2 whole eggs)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Lemon zest
- 3.5 oz all-purpose wheat flour
- 7 oz cornstarch
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
For the filling:
- 8.8 oz dulce de leche
- 1 oz grated coconut
- First things first: sift together your wheat flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set it aside.
- Next, grab another bowl and mix together your butter and powdered sugar until it’s nice and creamy. Add in some lemon zest and vanilla extract for extra flavor.
- Now it’s time to add in your eggs. First goes the egg yolk, then one whole egg and half of another once beaten. Mix everything together until it’s smooth and creamy.
- Gradually add in your sifted flour mixture while continuing to mix with a fork. Once everything is combined, turn out your dough onto a floured surface and knead it until it’s nice and smooth.
- Roll out your dough until it’s about half a centimeter thick, then use a round cookie cutter to cut out circles. Place them on a tray lined with parchment paper and bake for about 12 minutes at 350ºF.
- Once your cookies are baked and cooled, it’s time to fill them with that delicious dulce de leche! Spread some on one cookie, then sandwich it with another cookie. Roll the edges in some grated coconut for a little extra texture and flavor.
- Alfajores are traditionally filled with dulce de leche and rolled in coconut flakes. However, you can get creative and use other sweet fillings such as Nutella or jam. In Venezuela, there is a version called “alfajores de yemas” which has a filling made of manjar blanco (a milk-based spread similar to dulce de leche) mixed with coconut, peanuts, chestnuts, and honey.
- You can make some substitutions in the recipe for Argentine cornstarch alfajores. Here are some possible substitutions:
- Instead of wheat flour, you can use gluten-free all-purpose flour to make the recipe gluten-free.
- If you don’t have powdered sugar, you can use granulated sugar instead.
- If you don’t have vanilla extract, you can use vanilla essence or vanilla paste.
- If you don’t have dulce de leche, you can use another sweet filling such as Nutella or jam.
- Keep in mind that making substitutions may change the texture and flavor of the final product. It’s always a good idea to experiment and see what works best for you.
- Traditional Argentine cornstarch alfajores are made by baking the cookies in an oven. However, if you don’t have access to an oven, you can try making no-bake alfajores using a different recipe. No-bake alfajores are usually made with crushed cookies or biscuits mixed with dulce de leche and other ingredients to form a dough that can be shaped into balls or discs and filled with dulce de leche.
- Alfajores can last for several days if stored properly. It’s best to store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They should stay fresh for up to a week. However, keep in mind that the texture of the cookies may change over time and they may become softer as they absorb moisture from the dulce de leche filling.