12 Days of Recipes: Alfajores

Alfajores 1 12 Days of Recipes: Alfajores

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.

Alfajore Sugar cookies 12 Days of Recipes: Alfajores

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.

Alfajores 2 12 Days of Recipes: Alfajores

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.)

Alfajores

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.

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December 04 2013 10:59 pm | cookies & squares

13 Responses to “12 Days of Recipes: Alfajores”

  1. Seth on 04 Dec 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    My Fathers family is from South America (Chile) and when these are made they almost always have their exposed carmaly sides rolled in coconut! A real delicious addition if you have the time :)

  2. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche on 05 Dec 2013 at 3:19 am #

    I’m not usually a huge fan of biscuits but I’ve always thought alfajores look gorgeous and yours are no exception! They look so light and buttery and that caramel looks luscious! Great job! :)

  3. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) on 05 Dec 2013 at 4:33 am #

    I LOVE alfajores. I’d like one right now with my breakfast, actually! Printing this recipe :)

  4. Danielle on 05 Dec 2013 at 6:06 am #

    Can you please post up your dulce de leche recipe?

  5. Julie on 05 Dec 2013 at 6:50 am #

    Hey Danielle, I added it! It’s not dulce de leche per se, but totally works!

  6. Laurie from Richmond on 05 Dec 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    I love shortbread cookies, and i love caramel, so these should suit me :D

  7. Susan on 05 Dec 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    I am not a cookie person, but these really make me question that!

  8. rose thawer on 05 Dec 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    Shortbread is a must for Christmas! This one goes above and beyond! Thank you Julie!

  9. Jen on 05 Dec 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    Oh my. These look amazing!

  10. Erin B on 07 Dec 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    Hey Julie,

    Have you tried adding dulce de leche to your coffee instead of cream and sugar? Totally delicious :)
    I will be making these to go with my coffee for sure!:)

  11. Krista on 07 Dec 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    Made these tonight-they are delicious! I was lazy and used eagle brand new dulce de leche sweetened condensed milk. Just let it boil for 5 mins and then cooled and spread it. Super easy and worked well!

  12. Agustin A. Castro on 07 Dec 2013 at 11:26 pm #

    My previous recipe for chicken with mango and coconut is light and summery, but the following recipe is more likely to appeal to hearty eaters. It is a chicken dish for meat lovers. In French kitchen terminology it is called poulet mignon a la chasseur but don’t let fancy names deter you. A chicken mignon (pronounced min-yon) is merely a chicken breast wrapped in bacon and sauce chasseur is brown mushroom sauce made with brown stock and roux (flour and butter). I have cheated by using gravy powder instead, because it is quick and easy. Gravy powder can be quite salty so I did not use any of the salt depicted in the ingredients.

  13. Nanda on 08 Dec 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    all the recipes are very good and simple to make … Congratulations, and continues to give us good things to do and enjoy with pleasure

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