Lesson 4: Homemade Alfajores

Since moving to Buenos Aires, I've discovered a new food group that makes up a large portion of my nutritional pyramid: alfajores. Alfajores- dulce de leche-filled cornstarch cookies- come in lots of different shapessizes and flavors. You can't walk three blocks here without passing a bakery that sells them. And if, like a certain someone, you lack self-control in the face of anything with the formula fat + sugar + dairy, then you too will justify replacing the entire "grains" section of the pyramid with these delightfully gooey gems.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of crappy alfajores out there. Yesterday, I tried to make a batch that I hoped would avoid the common pitfalls (too sweet, stale cookies, etc.).

You know what's hard? Baking when you don't have a temperature gauge on your oven. My options range from "big flame" to "little flame."

So far, I've been eyeballing it to roast veggies, but "medium flame" didn't fly with these babies. Starting with dough that should have made 15 sandwich cookies, I ended up with...four. But what an addictive four they are.

The recipe:


  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 cups cornstarch (corn flour)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Dulce de Leche
To make cookie dough:
Cream the butter and sugar together, then mix in the remaining ingredients except the dulce de leche until well blended. Knead on a floured work surface until the dough is smooth and let rest for 15 minutes.

Make the cookies:
Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch and cut into 2-inch rounds. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 300°F oven for 20 minutes. When cool, spread some dulce de leche on the bottom of half the cookies and press another cookie on top, allowing some of the dulce de leche to squeeze from the sides.
1) To make your own dulce de leche, buy a can of sweetened condensed milk; empty into a bain-marie OR a 9-inch pie plate covered with foil; if using the pie plate, place into a larger pan filled with hot water (without letting water into the pie plate); bake at 425 degrees F for an hour or until caramel colored.
2) You can also dip these in melted milk, dark or white chocolate or roll them in coconut!

And by the way...dulce de leche. They sell it by the spoonful here, but I highly recommend buying it by the jar (oh hey, iron!).

1 comment:

  1. I went to Argentina in 2008,and stood at one of the Buenos Aires apartments in Recoleta. I ate "alfajores", they are fantastic!!
    I wanna eat them again, but didnt know where to find them, so thanks about this!


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