ALFAJORES

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Alfajores, alfajores, alfajores.  Have you had them? You would know if you did.  They would haunt your dreams like La Llorona, wailing at you, ” Devorame…devorame.” These delicious little sandwich cookies are popular all over latin America, but particularly so in Argentina.  Two tender, melt in your mouth shortbread cookies filled with rich and gooey dulce de leche, rolled in a little coconut, and just because we can…dusted in powdered sugar too. So good, not too complicated, and almost gone immediately, so make sure to make a bunch.

ALFAJORES

ALFAJORES

HOW TO MAKE SHORTBREAD COOKIES:

INGREDIENTS

Makes 20 shortbread cookies

8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Sift together the flour, salt, and powdered sugar. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the flour and sugar a third at a time on low speed, then add the vanilla.

Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and press into a disc; chill until cold, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Sprinkle your work surface with powdered sugar and roll out the dough until 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out cookies with a 1 1/2 inch cookie cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. (This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked.) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

INGREDIENTS (DULCE DE LECHE)

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup desiccated coconut (finely flaked)

1 cup powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS

To make the dulce de leche, take the wrapper off of the can of sweetened condensed milk and place it in a sauce pan filled with water.  The water should cover the can by one inch.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. If you’re concerned about the can popping or exploding (it’s rare, but has happened), pop a hole in the top of the can and only bring water up to the edge of the can, rather than submerging it. Just keep adding hot water if the water evaporates and gets low. Remove the can from the water and let it cool to room temp.

To put together the alfajores, spread about 2 teaspoons of the dulce de leche on a shortbread cookie and sandwich with another one.

Sprinkle the edges of dulce de leche with coconut and sprinkle the cookies with powdered sugar on both sides. Enjoy!

  • Norma

    So excited to try this recipe! I grew up with a different kind of sweet under the name of alfajor–a very sugary coconut bar with a pink top. I love seeing all these Latin-American recipes on your blog–keep them coming!

  • These are some of my favorites cookies in the universe!! Thanks Claire!

  • These sound amazing! I’m a sucker for shortbread, and filled with such yumminess…..might be in love.
    Connie

  • Esti

    these look really delicious! i’ve had alfajores in/from argentina and i’m spanish/venezuelan but i’ve never seen them rolled in coconut … usually just merengue or powdered sugar. i do have to say it looks very tasty and an interesting take on the original!

    and of course, beautiful photos 🙂

  • Flor

    Nice recipe! I’m from Argentina actually 🙂 you can also cover them with chocolate or add chopped nuts to the dulce de leche, will taste amazing

  • kerrye

    Flor, can you help me to please find sugar shaped in little pieces (a bit like chopped up spaghetti) for an Argentinian friend of mine who lives in Australia. Do you know what its called please?

  • Mookie

    You need cornstarch to make Alfajores
    They are not “Shortbread s”

    • TheKitchyKitchen

      Hi Mookie, You’re right, cornstarch is commonly found in alfajores recipes across Latin America. I wanted to do my own spin and thought the recipe would be delicious with my favorite shortbread recipe. Hope you enjoy! xo

  • uncreative

    I am not a gourmet anything, so call me dumb! can you please elaborate on simmering the can? do you mean we should leave the can sealed so that is completely submerged (which is the definition of “cover”) by about 1″ or cut the lid off and make sure it sits in water 1″ deep? what size can do you recommend?

    • TheKitchyKitchen

      Hey, No worries! I updated the ingredient list to reflect a standard 14 ounce can. Simmer means that the water is just barely boiling around the edges – imagine tiny bubbles and the water sort of shimmering. When you bring a liquid up to boil and then turn the heat to low, it’ll simmer, or continue to cook, at low heat. Hope this helps! xo

  • Joanne

    These cookies look delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

  • TashPlain

    I just made these and my timing was all off!! 20 minutes baking and they were like crispbreads, 15 minutes still too brown, so I ended up with 13 minutes. Filling them tomorrow when I have guests, however have opted out of the can boiling (very Australian) and substituted with a can of Nestle Dulce de Leche.

    • TheKitchyKitchen

      Hey, Yeah, it’s pretty crazy how a small amount of time changes the texture of these cookies. Also, even oven is a little different, so if yours runs hot, it might not take as long to bake. xoxo