These delicate Alfajores Cookies are filled with Dulce de Leche and guava jam and rolled in desiccated coconut. The fine crumb texture of the cookies is achieved by a large proportion of cornstarch in the dough.
Cinco de Mayo is one day behind us! What did you do yesterday? Any Latin-inspired cooking? A margarita at night?
We had a few Latin-inspired culinary experiences yesterday. No actual margaritas for me right now, being pregnant and all, but I had a Strawberry-Margarita-inspired smoothie.
While picking a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket, Konrad went for "Smokin' Habanero" flavor (let me just sum it up as YUM!!) AND I made these Alfajores cookies.
The Wonder of Alfajores in Paraguay
I was introduced to Alfajores on our trip to Paraguay last month. Alfajores can be found in one form or another from Spain to Central and South America. The Alfajores I tasted in Paraguay were part of the breakfast buffet at our hotel. And cookies for breakfast is just my thang... If you are on the same wavelength, then you can understand...
The sandwich cookies are only slightly sweet with a delicate texture, a filling of Dulce de Leche or Guava jam and edges rolled in desiccated coconut.
The Secret is Cornstarch
Once I started looking up recipes I realized the secret for the light fine crumb of the cookies. A large proportion of cornstarch goes into the dough. Voila!
Admittedly, the dough is not the easiest to work with. We live in a very dry prairie climate (unlike most Latin American countries), so I had to add an extra egg yolk to make the dough hold together.
After chilling, the dough tends to break when being rolled out, but it can easily be pushed back together. See my notes in the recipe on thickening the filling if you want to use guava or any other jam as filling.
Keep the Summer Coming!
Alfajores will definitely have to make it into my Christmas cookie baking routine. But don't let the weather hear me talk about winter already. Right now all I want is SUMMER!!! So, let's get to the recipe!
- 1 cup cornstarch
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour more for rolling
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter softened
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 large egg yolks +1 more if needed
- 1 tablespoon cream or liquor like pisco, brandy or rum
- ½ teaspoon rum flavoring if using cream above
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup Dulce de Leche and/or thickened (guava) jam
- unsweetened desiccated coconut
- In a medium bowl whisk together cornstarch, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- With the paddle attachment of your stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and light in colour. Add the egg yolks one at a time and continue beating. Add and mix in cream/liquor and extracts.On low speed gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. (We live in a very dry prairie climate so I had to add an extra egg yolk to make the dough hold together).
- Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a flat disk. Wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets.
- Sprinkle flour on a piece of parchment paper and on top of the dough disk. Roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thickness. The dough might break but you can easily push it back together. Cut out 24 circles (about 2 inches) and place ½ inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Reroll the dough as needed.
- Bake one baking sheet at a time for about 10-13 minutes until cookies are set but still light. Immediately transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- If using jam for filling thicken it by heating it either in the microwave for about 2 minutes (it should come out bubbly) or in a small saucepan on the stove top while stirring often. Let cool completely.
- Spread a little jam or Dulce de Leche on a cookie and top with another one. Press together lightly until the filling shows and roll the edges in desiccated coconut.
- Store in an airtight container.
Recipe adapted from Chow.com
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Alfajores are delicate sandwich cookies typically made with a dough that includes a significant proportion of cornstarch, resulting in a fine crumb texture. The cookies are often filled with either Dulce de Leche or guava jam and sometimes rolled in desiccated coconut.
Alfajores have their roots in Spanish cuisine and can be found in various forms across Central and South America. They are a popular treat in many Latin American countries, each region often adding its own twist to the recipe.
The term "alfajores" refers to the delightful sandwich cookies that have a delicate texture and are often filled with a sweet filling such as Dulce de Leche or guava jam. The name "alfajores" is believed to have originated from the Arabic word "al-fakher," which means luxurious or excellent.
Alfajores are not traditionally a part of Mexican cuisine, as they have stronger associations with Spanish and Latin American culinary traditions. However, with the spread of cultural influences and global culinary trends, it's possible to find variations of alfajores or similar treats in Mexico, especially in areas influenced by Latin American flavors.