If you're a fan of soft, melt-in-your-mouth treats filled with rich and creamy dulce de leche, then this recipe is perfect for you. Alfajores are traditional South American sandwich cookies that are loved for their delicate texture and irresistible flavor. Whether you want to indulge in a sweet treat for yourself or impress your friends and family with a homemade delicacy, this easy recipe will guide you through the process.
What are alfajores
Soft crumbly cookies sandwiched together with a sweet dulce de leche filling (caramelized condensed milk). These sweet and yummy cookies are my favorite! They were first made in Spain and later on in South America. Many versions exist worldwide and each country has a slightly different recipe. My recipe tends to be more like the South American recipe that uses cornstarch, therefore the cookies are soft and melt in your mouth - heaven!
As I mentioned, the Alfajor cookies are filled with Dulce de leche, a caramelized condensed milk spread. You can make your own homemade Dulce de leche but I used store bought that was good enough. If you do not like caramel taste (who are you?) than you can fill them with chocolate spread / chocolate ganache instead or any other spread that you prefer.
To create these heavenly cookies, you'll need just a handful of simple ingredients that you may already have in your pantry. Butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder and cornstarch. For the filling you will need dulce de leche or any other spread that you prefer to use.
how to make alfajores
Preparing these delightful cookies is a breeze. I find it convenient to utilize a stand mixer to bring the dough together. It's crucial not to overmix it; simply stop when the dough is well combined. To allow the butter in the dough to firm up, it's important to let the dough rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This step ensures that the dough is easier to roll out later on.
Once the dough has sufficiently chilled, roll it out and use a cookie cutter or even a cup to shape the cookies. While the traditional round shape works perfectly fine, I personally like making them in heart shapes because I just love alfajores!
The best part is that these cookies bake up quickly, requiring only a short amount of time in the oven. This makes them ideal for summertime when spending too long in a hot kitchen is less than ideal!
After baking, allow the cookies to cool completely. Then, match up two cookies and generously fill the space between them with your preferred filling, creating delectable sandwich cookies. For an extra burst of flavor, roll each sandwich in shredded coconut, which adds a delightful touch.
What to serve with alfajores cookies
Alfajores cookies are delicious on their own, but they can also be complemented by a few accompaniments to enhance the overall experience. Here are some delightful options for serving alfajores:
- Hot Beverage: Alfajores pair wonderfully with a hot cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. The warm and comforting flavors of the beverage enhance the sweetness of the cookies, creating a delightful combination.
- Milk or Milkshake: For a classic and nostalgic pairing, enjoy alfajores with a glass of cold milk. The creamy milk balances out the sweetness of the cookies and creates a refreshing contrast. Alternatively, you can indulge in a milkshake made with your favorite flavor, such as vanilla, chocolate, or caramel.
- Traditional Mate: If you want to experience an authentic South American combination, enjoy alfajores with mate. Mate is a traditional herbal tea enjoyed in many South American countries, particularly Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. The earthy and slightly bitter flavors of mate complement the sweet and buttery taste of alfajores.
- Ice Cream: For a decadent dessert experience, serve alfajores with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Whether it's classic vanilla, dulce de leche, or a fruity flavor like strawberry, the combination of the creamy ice cream and the soft, delicate cookies creates a delightful contrast in texture and temperature.
- Fresh Fruits: Add a touch of freshness by serving alfajores with fresh fruits such as berries, sliced bananas, or citrus segments. The juicy fruits provide a refreshing element and help balance the sweetness of the cookies.
where are alfajores from
Alfajores originated in Spain and are popular in many Latin American countries, particularly Argentina, Uruguay, and Peru.
Are there any variations of alfajores?
Yes, there are regional and personal variations of alfajores. Some variations include adding ground almonds or other nuts to the cookie dough, using different flavors in the dough (such as lemon or orange zest), or incorporating spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.
What is dulce de leche?
Dulce de leche is a caramel-like sauce made from condensed milk. It is a common filling for alfajores and adds a rich and creamy flavor.
Can I make my own dulce de leche?
Yes, you can make dulce de leche by simmering sweetened condensed milk. There are several methods to make it, including stovetop simmering, oven baking, or using a pressure cooker. Be sure to follow a reliable recipe for safety and best results.
Can I use a different filling instead of dulce de leche?
While dulce de leche is the traditional filling for alfajores, you can certainly experiment with other fillings. Some alternatives include Nutella, fruit preserves, caramel, or even a buttercream frosting.
What kind of toppings can I use for alfajores?
The most common toppings for alfajores are shredded coconut, powdered sugar, or cocoa powder. However, you can get creative and use other toppings like chopped nuts, sprinkles, or even a drizzle of chocolate.
How should I store alfajores?
Alfajores are best stored in an airtight container at room temperature. They can be enjoyed for a day or two, but they may soften over time due to the moisture from the filling.
Can I freeze alfajores?
Yes, you can freeze alfajores. It's best to freeze them before adding any toppings. Place them in a freezer-safe container or bag, separating the layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Thaw them at room temperature before adding any desired toppings.
Can I make alfajores gluten-free?
Yes, it is possible to make gluten-free alfajores by using a gluten-free flour blend or substituting the wheat flour with alternatives like rice flour, almond flour, or a gluten-free baking mix. Just ensure that all the ingredients you use are certified gluten-free.
Can I make alfajores vegan?
Yes, you can make vegan alfajores by using plant-based ingredients. Substitute butter with a vegan butter or margarine, condensed milk with a non-dairy condensed milk alternative, and eggs with a suitable egg replacer. Follow vegan recipes or adapt traditional recipes with vegan substitutions.
Other cookie recipes you should try:
For all my cookie recipes check out my cookie recipe index.
Make these Alfajores cookies today!
With minimal effort, you can whip up a batch of these mouthwatering alfajores cookies. The heart-shaped, coconut-rolled treats are sure to impress both visually and in taste. Enjoy them as a treat for yourself or share them with friends and family. Either way, they are bound to be a hit!
- 2 sticks (200 grams) unsalted melted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3½ cups (500 grams) cornstarch
- 1 cup flour
- Dulce de leche/chocolate spread and shredded coconut for the filling and garnish.
- In a stand mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract.
- Add the eggs one at a time and continue beating.
- Sift in baking powder and cornstarch gradually.
- Mix well.
- Sift in the flour and mix until it’s a unified dough.
- Place the dough on baking paper and shape it as a disc.
- Place the wrapped dough in the fridge for half an hour to rest.
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F with fan.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough and cut the cookies into the shape you want.
- Place the cookies on a baking pan lined with baking paper.
- Bake the cookies for 7 minutes - they need to stay very pale.
- Cool the cookies on a wire rack.
- Pair every two cookies into a sandwich with Dulce de leche "glue" in the middle.
- Roll the cookies in shredded coconut so it will stick to the sides.
- Have an Alfajor cookie and enjoy!