RECIPE: Alfajores

People & Culture

Alfajores Argentine cookies

There’s something about freshly baked cookies and the holiday season that just seem to go hand in hand. Aside from the inviting scents coming from the kitchen, it’s a great time to get together with loved ones and create various festive treats – both traditional and something a bit extraordinary. Alfajores are certainly no ordinary cookie.

Popular in South America, these decadent butter cookies are sandwiched, featuring a filling of dulce de leche. The sides are then rolled in shredded coconut.

This Argentinean-style recipe offers a melt-in-your-mouth cookie texture, making it a divine treat for sharing at any holiday party or as a special hostess gift – if you can part with any of them!

Colourful neighborhood of La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Colourful neighborhood of La Boca in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Servings: Approx. 36 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1-2/3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup softened, unsalted butter
  • 3/4 white sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla rum or brandy (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 jar dulce de leche (approx. 12oz)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the egg yolks one at a time, allowing each to blend into the mixture before adding the next. With the last egg, beat in the vanilla rum or brandy, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest.
  5. Gently fold in the flour mixture with a spoon, making a crumbly dough. When the dough becomes cohesive enough, press it together into a ball with your hands. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. Roll out the dough, using as little flour as possible, to about 1/4 inch thick. The dough will have an unusual consistency. Cut with a small round cookie cutter. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until set but not browned, approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookies immediately to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Gently spread the underside of a cooled cookie with a teaspoon of dulce de leche, then sandwich together with another cookie until the caramel oozes out the sides.
  9. Roll the sides in the shredded coconut.
  10. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Make it Festive
Try adding colour to the shredded coconut. In a glass bowl, place a few drops of your desired food colouring. (If using a few colours, first blend well together with a small whisk.) Add the coconut, and with a fork, lightly combine the mixture.