Alfajores are a classic in Argentina. I have yet to find an Argentinean who does not love alfajores. And I mean “love” not just “like”. The problem is that the best ones are processed at factories with God knows which ingredients so they are super tough to replicate. Alfajores are a kind of wafer sandwich with a rich caramel in the middle and tipically coated in a thin layer of chococolate. For simplicity purposes, I skipped the chocolate coating and simply rolled their sides on coconut. If you wait one day before you eat them, they taste even better since the humidity of the caramel (dulce de leche) penetrates into the cookies and leaves a faint moisture. Oh, they also freeze very well. To defrost them, simply leave them out of the freezer for 10 minutes.
This recipe is by Blanca Cotta from “Cocina Argentina – Clarin”. To soften the texture of the alfajor, I replaced part of the flour by cornstarch (Maizena).
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 oz soft unsalted butter
5 oz sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
5 oz chocolate
4 tablespoons of milk
For the filling: Thick Dulce de leche (caramel)
Note: Since I am not living in Argentina right now, I make my own dulce the leche and it is REALLY GREAT. This I do by pressure cooking a can of sweatened condensed milk. Once the pressure cooker reaches its boiling point and steam comes out of the valve, then it takes 40 minutes. Be careful handling pressure cookers. Only open the can once it is completely cool (refrigerate for extra hardness).
Melt the chocolate with the milk and let it cool. In a mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs one by one. In another bowl, sift the flour and the baking powder and then add the flour mixture to the mixer. The original recipe suggests sending the dough wrapped in a plastic film to the refrigerator for 1/2 hour and then roll it with a pin but I found this too hard. So I put the dough in parchment paper and gave it a tube shape (2 inches diameter). I froze the roll overnight and the following day I cut 1/4 inch thick disks. Either butter the pan or use a silpad and send them for 6 to 7 minutes in a 350F oven. Let them cool in the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes and then transfer them to a rack. Sandwitch them with the caramel and roll the edges over coconut or dip them in chocolate.