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Alfajores Recipe & Video

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Alfajores. Have you heard of them? If not, then you're in for a treat. This sandwich cookie takes two buttery crisp shortbread cookies and sandwiches them together with a gooey caramel filling called Dulce de Leche. You can sprinkle the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar, dip the sides of the cookies in dried coconut, or even enrobe the whole cookie in chocolate.

I have read that Alfajores (al-fah-HOR-ays) are very popular in Latin America. Which makes sense as they are filled with another Latin American favorite, Dulce de Leche (DOOL-say day LAY-chay). Dulce de Leche means "sweet of milk" or "milk candy" and it is also known as cajeta, arequipe, manjar or manjur, and doce de leite. You could use either homemade or store bought Dulce de Leche. Now, some recipes make homemade Dulce de Leche by simply cooking a can of sweetened condensed milk until thick and golden colored. Another way (recipe given here) is to boil down cow's or goat's milk, mixed with sugar, corn syrup (glucose), baking soda and salt, until thick and golden colored.

Shortbread Cookies use only a few key ingredients, butter, sugar, flour and salt. While I have used unsalted butter, you can use salted butter, and just omit the salt called for in the recipe. Bake the shortbread cookies until the edges start to brown as we want the cookies quite crisp. Keep in mind that the day the shortbread cookies are filled with the Dulce de Leche they are nice and crisp and you will taste its buttery flavor against the sweet complex caramel flavored filling. But after storing the Alfajores for a day or two the shortbread's texture softens and the flavors mingle. Delicious both ways.

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Shortbread Cookies: In a bowl, whisk the flour with the salt.

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer or by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon), beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and, on medium low speed, beat until smooth. Beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated. 

Divide the batter in half (about 225 grams for each half) and then roll each half between two sheets of parchment or wax paper until it is about 1/4 inch (.6 cm) thick. As you roll, periodically check the top and bottom sheets of parchment and smooth out any wrinkles. Place on a baking sheet (along with the parchment paper) and put in the refrigerator until firm (about 30-60 minutes). 

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) with the rack in the center of the oven.

Cut the chilled shortbread into rounds using a lightly floured 2 inch (5 cm) round cookie cutter. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Gather up the scraps and re-roll, chill, and cut into cookies.

Bake the cookies for about 10 to 13 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges (the longer the cookies bake the more crisp they will be). Cool completely on a wire rack.

Alfajores: Take two shortbread cookies and sandwich them together with a heaping 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of Dulce de Leche. Can be covered and stored for several days in the refrigerator or they can be frozen.

Makes about 22 - 24 Alfajores cookies.

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Alfajores Recipe:

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt

1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar

1 cup (280 grams) Dulce de Leche (store bought or homemade)

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