My dad, brother, and brother-in-law all served their missions in Argentina. The best food discovery from there (for me at least) are alfajores. Alfajores are traditionally from all over in South America, but Argentina is their number one consumer. Basically, alfajores are super delicious sandwich cookies with dulce de leche (really yummy caramel) in the middle. In my very limited research of these cookies, there seem to be two types. One type is made with very cakey layers, and the other type is with shortbread layers. I’ve only ever seen the cakey ones covered in chocolate (these look just like a Moon Pie), and the shortbread ones most often have the sides rolled in coconut rather than being covered in chocolate. I like to strike a balance and make the more shortbread layers, but also cover the cookie in chocolate. And sometimes I throw some coconut on top of it just to bring it all together.
I never thought to try making alfajores until my high school Spanish teacher made some and brought them to class. It was there I got my recipe, so shout out to Señora Collier! Up until that class, my supplier was a local Argentine Bakery. For those in Utah, this bakery is adjacent to the Orem Macey’s grocery store. It’s a great bakery!
As far as dulce de leche goes, you can buy a jar of it at the store if you like. There are also complicated recipes of how to make it on different websites. The method I prefer is easy and delicious, but it does take 4 hours. You simply get a can of sweetened condensed milk, place the unopened can in a pot or slow cooker, cover it with water, and boil it for 4 hours. And just like that you have a rich dulce de leche.
Have fun channeling your inner Argentine.
Alfajores De Maicena
1 Cup Softened Butter
¾ Cup Sugar
3 Egg Yolks
½ Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Flour
1 and ½ Cup Cornstarch
2 Tsp Baking Powder
For Dulce de Leche:
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (2 if you really like dulce).
Boil the can of sweetened condensed milk for 4 hours. Keep it at a soft boil and make sure it’s always covered in water. I’ve tried this with cans that have a pop top lid and cans without, they both work. Once done boiling, let cool before opening.
Combine butter and sugar. Mix in egg yolks and vanilla. Mix in soda, flour, and powder. Mix in cornstarch. Refrigerate until it’s stiff, but not rock hard. Roll out on a floured surface, cut in circles, and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. Let cool. Spread the desired amount of dulce de leche on a cookie and put another cookie on top.
• Eat it plain – easy option!
• Roll it in powdered sugar – who wouldn’t want extra sugar?
• Roll the sides in coconut – tropical
• Cover with chocolate – best way to get dipping chocolate is by melting chocolate chips down with some shortening added. 1 tsp (ish) of shortening per cup of chocolate chips will do the trick.