Two crisp, buttery cookies sandwiched with soft caramel is a Very Good Thing. I’m in full-on Christmas cookie mode here – eating and baking – today was the Upscale Bake Sale in support of the Calgary Food Bank, and we collectively raised over $4500. (Mine was a very small percentage, with bags of homemade granola, biscotti I baked with my niece, and three vanilla-blueberry loaves that were still warm and steamy when the first customers came by.) Hurray for the amazing bakers who donated their time and baked goods for the cause.
I’ve already made these alfajores a few times in the past few weeks; an alfajor or alajú is a traditional sweet found in some regions of Spain and Latin America; in North America, the term alfajores most often refers to shortbread or sugar cookies sandwiched with dulce de leche, a soft milk caramel that’s perfect for spreading on just about anything, but especially cookies.
This is one of a dozen recipes I compiled for a holiday recipe booklet London Drugs put together – you can download it for free, or pick up a hard copy in some of their stores, I hear. Last year I did a huge chunk of my shopping at LD – I love that it’s small, open early and late, has a great selection of small kitchen appliances and obscure food imports, like truffle oil and Rose’s Lime Cordial – and last year we scored some Lego W had asked Santa for that we couldn’t find anywhere else – on sale, even. So when they asked me to come up with ideas for some of their kitchen toys – like a KitchenAid stand mixer, one of the things I use most often in my own kitchen – I was happy to oblige.
But the recipe book, which they pulled together in record time for an event a couple weeks ago, made me think – how much fun would it would be to make your own cookbook at the London Drugs Photolab? And you can do it all online, in your PJs and wooly socks, with help from your kids (what a fun family project!) using their downloadable London Drugs Photolab home edition software, and then get copies of your own custom recipe book printed for all the people you want to share it with. A personalized recipe book! So awesome. And there’s still time!
I’ll be back on Friday with a new giveaway – a new kitchen toy or $100 gift card – ’tis the season for giving, after all. Meanwhile, I hope you’re staying warm and baking cookies too.
Note: the first time I made these, they were inspired by the last of a batch of soft caramel I made for something – and can’t remember what. I’ve since made them with bottled dulce de leche and using this recipe, which is really simple, and resembles dulce de leche because it contains sweetened condensed milk. (It makes a lot, but that wasn’t a problem.)
1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
dulce de leche or homemade caramel, for filling
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes, until pale and light. Beat in the vanilla.
Add the flour and salt and beat just until the dough comes together; gather it into a ball, divide it in half, shape each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic or waxed paper. Refrigerate for half an hour or so.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough out 1/4-inch thick and cut into 1-1 1/2 inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and prick each once or twice with a fork.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Once completely cooled, spread half the cookies with dulce de leche or caramel and top with a second cookie.
Makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies.