How to Make Argentinian Alfajores | Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

Alfajores Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

Have you ever tried Argentinian Alfajores? These Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies are heaven and a gift from the Gods! Check out the recipe and bonus: learn to make your own dulce de leche.

I have a vivid memory of my first Alfajores cookies, the most amazing Argentinian dulce de leche sandwich cookies you could ever savor. It was only a few months ago but I was blown away but how delicious they were. Anything made with dulce de leche is top notch, in my humble opinion. When I was researching Argentinian recipes for this month’s Eat the World I discovered these were one of Argentina’s traditional food delicacies. Of course, I had to make them for my blog, no question.

Alfajores Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

Exploring Argentina

The large and long country of Argentina is located on the South American continent and is bordered several countries but only one body of water, the Atlantic Ocean.

Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is a fun and colorful urban destination with lots of cultural activities.  Besides other wonderful cities to visit, the country is famous for natural wonders, such as glaciers in the Patagonia region, the Ibera wetlands, Nahuel Huapi National Park, and Iguazu Falls.

Lonely Planet Argentina Travel GuideCheck the latest price

Popular foods in Argentina

Many would be surprised to learn that Argentine cuisine is a mix of Mediterranean influences, like pasta and pizza, as well as Indigenous and Criollo dishes, such as the Argentinian empanadas recipe,  locro, humita, and mate.

The Argentina beef is world famous and Argentinians are huge red meat eaters. Argentina’s national dish is called asado, an Argentinian grill plate filled with various types of meats, often including chorizo, blood sausages, sweetbread, and chitterlings. You will find many wonderful Argentinian steak recipes and it is often accompanied by an Argentinian chimichurri recipe which is a sauce made of herbs. Also making up Argentina’s famous food is breaded and fried meats enjoyed in sandwiches or as a snack.

Desserts often include a milk toffee spread known as dulce de leche – dulce de leche cake, dulce de leche cheesecake, dulce de leche cookies, dulce de leche ice cream – as well as pastries and tortas fritas. And let’s not forget the famous Argentinian wines made with Malbec, Torrontés, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Chardonnay grapes.

orange zest

A touch of orange zest really gives a refreshing punch in the cookie’s flavor profile.

Alfajores de dulce de leche – Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

So what are alfajores exactly? The word alfajor, an Andalusian word, actually comes from the Arabic word al- fakhur, which means luxury. Around the world, Alajur is often made of a paste of almonds, nuts, breadcrumbs, and honey. In Spain, they are transformed into sandwiches with two round cookies held together by a sweet filling.

Now Argentina’s dessert recipes must have their own twist. You may see them called Alfajores de maicena. Maicena means cornstarch. These cookies are made with a mix of cornstarch and flour, and lots of butter. The dulce de leche sandwich cookies are like shortbread cookies but with a soft and crumbly texture. The cornstarch in the cookies is where the crumbly texture comes from.

And in Argentina, the filling of any Alfajores recipe is usually a dulce de leche filling. Alfajores are the most famous sweets in Argentina. They are one of my favorite cookies from around the world.

Argentinian Alfajores Assembling

Tips for making the perfect Alfajor cookie

Just like shortbread, the more you work the dough, the tougher the cookie will be. So we want to mix in the flour mixture to the fat with as little manipulation as possible. The flour is added in thirds, the first two and done with a mixer. The last one is added gently by hand.

Next, if you are not working with the dough or part of it, keep it in the fridge. This will help to keep the butter cold and the dough easy to handle. Also, we are looking for a decent thickness for the cookies, around 7 to 10 mm. Make sure to not over-bake the cookies. The cookies will remain pale in color, we are not looking for a golden color here.

Next, if you are not working with the dough or part of it, keep it in the fridge. This will help to keep the butter cold and the dough easy to handle. Also, we are looking for a decent thickness for the cookies, around 7 to 10 mm. Make sure to not over-bake the cookies. The cookies will remain pale in color, we are not looking for a golden color here.

Finally, for the perfect and professional fishing touch, swipe a clean finger around the sandwiched cookies so that the dulce leche has a perfectly smooth and clean finish. Now you want to keep it hygienic so if you lick your finger after ever cookie, make sure to give it a quick clean. Its tough job being a perfectionist 😉

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Alfajores Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookie

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How to make dulce de leche

In case you do not know what is dulce de leche, let me give you a quick explanation. Dulce de leche is caramelized sweet milk and it is achieved by simmering it for a long time over a low heat. So is it a caramel? No! Dulce de leche vs Caramel: dulce de leche is made with (often condensed) milk and sugar. It differs from caramel which is cooked down water, heavy whipping cream, sugar, and butter.

Did you know that there is more than one type of dulce de leche? I had no clue until I read up on this recipe. The standard dulce de leche recipe will have a heavy sauce consistency. But for these cookies, we need a filling that holds up to being sandwiched. Meet the baker’s dulce de leche, a thick dulce de leche that holds its shape.

Outside of Latin America, it may be hard to find a place where to buy dulce de leche, the bakery kind. But it turns out it is super easy to make at home, as long as you follow a few safety precautions.

The instructions are in the recipe below but I cannot place enough emphasis on 2 safety measures: never have part of the can of condensed milk sitting above the water level and never ever open the can until the insides are cooled down completely. Not even if just a bit warm. Both cases could result in the can exploding.

Yields 18 to 24 cookies

Argentinian Alfajores | Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

Have you ever tried Argentinian Alfajores? These Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies are heaven and a gift from the Gods! Check out the recipe and bonus: learn to make your own dulce de leche.

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 300 gr cornstarch
  • 200 gr all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 150 gr icing sugar
  • 200 gr unsalted butter, soften
  • 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 medium sized orange
  • thick dulce de leche ( or 2-300 ml (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk)
  • coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. If making your own dulce de leche, the day before baking remove the paper wrapping on the cans of sweetened condensed milk and place the cans sideways in a large pot. Fill the pot with water until at least 1 inch above the cans. Bring the water to a boil and lower to a simmer, cooking them for 3 hours. Put an alarm on every 30 minutes and check the water level and add water to top off as needed. NEVER let the water level fall below the can level as the cans could explode. After 3 hours, gently remove the cans from the water and leave the can to cool 100% completely (overnight best). Opening them before could again result in an explosion.
  2. Mix the cornstarch, all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the icing sugar and butter together. Add in an egg yolk at a time, beating well after each addition. Finally, mix in the vanilla extract and orange zest.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Repeat the process for another 1/3 of the flour mixture. Place remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture on the counter and place the dough on top. Gently fold the mixture onto itself and gently press the dough with your palm. Continue until the dough has absorbed the remaining flour. The less you handle the dough the softer to cookies will be. Wrap the dough with cling film and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  5. Preheat oven to 180 C (360 F). Take 1/2 the dough and place the other half back in the fridge. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 8-10 mm. Cut out circles using a 4.5 cm or 6 cm diameter cookie cutter. Place the circles on a greased and floured baking tray. Place the baking tray in the fridge and repeat with the 2nd batch on a 2nd tray. The smaller cookie cutter will give you 24 cookies (48 circles) and the bigger cookie cutter will give you 18 cookies (36 circles).
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked but the cookies should not become golden. Cool in a rack.
  7. Alfajores assembly: with the bottom facing uptake, spoon a good amount of dulce de leche on it and spread it with a knife right up to the edge. The dulce de leche should be the same height as the cookie. Top with another cookie like a sandwich lightly press. Run a clean finger around to smooth out the filling. Roll he sides of the cookies coconut flakes to cover the dulce de leche. Repeat until all the cookies are done.

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Product ImageItems you will need and Argentina booksLatest Price
The Food and Cooking Of ArgentinaCheck
ShengHai 12 Piece Round Cookie Cutter Set, Color Coded TopsCheck
Argo 100% Pure Corn Starch, 16 Oz, Pack of 2Check

Eat the World recipe challenge

Check out all the wonderful Argentinian dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Margaret: Red Chimichurri Sauce
Tara: Milanesa a Caballo (Argentinian Milanesa on Horseback)
Amy: Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce
Juli: Revuelto Gramajo
Camilla: Matambre with Chimichurri
Wendy: Chipas
Claudia: Carbonada Criolla, Argentinian Beef Stew
Evelyne: Alfajores, Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

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Alfajores Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookie

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