Learn how to make Traditional Alfajores with this easy recipe. These melt-in-your-mouth Dulce de Leche filled cookies are a popular dessert throughout Latin America.
What are Alfajores?
Alfajores are a beloved Latin American treat, popular in countries like Argentina, Chile, and Peru. These sweet, and crumbly cookies are made with a rich and buttery dough that’s sandwiched together with a sweet filling, often made with dulce de leche. They truly melt in your mouth!
Alfajores are a delicious treat that originated in Spain but are now a beloved South American delicacy. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the history and variations of alfajores, and provide you with a step-by-step recipe to make them at home.
History of Alfajores:
The origin of alfajores can be traced back to the Middle East, where a similar cookie called “alajú” was made with honey, almonds, and flour. During the Moorish occupation of Spain, this cookie was introduced and adapted, and eventually became known as alfajores. When the Spanish colonized South America, they brought the recipe with them, where it was further adapted to suit local tastes and ingredients.
Variations of Alfajores:
Today, alfajores are enjoyed throughout South America, and each country has its own variation of the cookie. I remember only eating them with powdered sugar back home in Venezuela, so I wanted to share that memory with you. But feel free to experiment and try them with grated coconut – it’s most traditional variation.
Here are some of the most popular variations:
- Argentinean Alfajores: Made with a buttery and crumbly dough and filled with dulce de leche. These are often coated in chocolate or grated coconut, or dusted with powdered sugar.
- Chilean Alfajores: Similar to Argentinean alfajores, but with a softer texture and a thinner layer of dulce de leche. They’re also often coated in powdered sugar.
- Peruvian Alfajores: These are made with a slightly firmer dough and filled with manjar blanco, a similar sweet filling to dulce de leche, but made with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
- Uruguayan Alfajores: These are made with a flaky pastry dough and filled with dulce de leche. They’re often coated in grated coconut or dusted with powdered sugar.
This recipe is very similar to the Traditional Alfajores I grew up eating in Venezuela.
What is Dulce De Leche?
Dulce de leche is a sweet and creamy caramel-like sauce that’s a popular filling for alfajores. It’s made by cooking sweetened condensed milk until it thickens and turns a caramel color.
Dulce de leche originated in Argentina and Uruguay, but it’s now enjoyed throughout South America and beyond. The name translates to “sweet milk” in Spanish, and it’s used in a variety of desserts and pastries, from alfajores to ice cream to cakes.
Making dulce de leche is simple, but it requires time and patience. I have a blog post on how you can make your own with only one ingredient. I’ve always been able to find it at my local Mexican grocery, Amazon Prime and Target.
The traditional method involves boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk for several hours until it thickens and turns into caramel. However, this method can be dangerous, as the can can explode if not properly monitored. A safer method is to cook the sweetened condensed milk in a double boiler or a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until it thickens.
Dulce de leche can also be made with goat’s milk or a combination of cow’s milk and goat’s milk, which results in a tangier flavor. In some countries, such as Colombia and Venezuela, dulce de leche is known as “arequipe” or “cajeta,” respectively, and may be made with different ingredients or methods.
Traditional Alfajores Filling
When used as a filling for traditional alfajores, dulce de leche adds a rich and decadent flavor that complements the crumbly cookie dough. It can also be used in other desserts, such as flan, churros, and tres leches cake.
How much is too much Dulce? Dulce de leche is probably my favorite part about these cookies. So what better excuse to eat dulce de leche -other than straight out of the jar- than sandwiched in an Alfajor? If you’ve never had one, you’re truly missing out.
How to Make Traditional Alfajores
If you’ve never tried alfajores before, you’re in for a treat. And even better, with this easy recipe, you can make them at home and enjoy them anytime you want. Here’s how to make delicious and authentic alfajores:
- Always use room temperature ingredients, including your eggs and butter.
- Sift the flour, cornstarch and baking powder so that its easier to mix in with the wet ingredients.
- This recipe calls for egg yolks. I like to separate the eggs while they’re cold so it’s easier, just allow them to come to room temperature before using them.
- Add lemon zest to give your alfajor cookies a delicious kick!
Steps to make Alfajores
- Start by creaming the butter and sugar until smooth. Add one egg yolk at a time, followed by vanilla extract and lemon zest. Work in batches and add the sifted dry ingredients, mixing until well combined.
- Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a ball. Cover with plastic and chill for at least an hour. Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature, around 10 minutes.
- Knead for until it’s easy to handle. Divide the dough into 2 balls. Roll out the dough, using as little flour as possible to around 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough using a small round cookie cutter and transfer to a lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, allow to cool and using a spoon or piping bag fill the center with dulce de leche.
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There you have it, friends! The perfect afternoon treat for all you dulce de leche lovers. Hope you love them as much as I do! If you make them and love them, leave a comment here or share them with me on Instagram.
Happy Baking! x