Alfajores

Kitchen Tested
  • Yield 27 pieces
  • Prep 25 mins
  • Cook 190 mins

Lovely light cookies with just a touch of cognac or pisco, the South American brandy

Alfajores

Serve these delicate cookies with coffee or an herbal tea as a light dessert or a delicious afternoon treat. Do not be alarmed by the amount of cornstarch. It’s a traditional cookie ingredient and makes them very tender and delicate. Pisco (PEE-skoh) is a South American brandy often made from muscat wine. Rather than making the filling, you can use canned dulce de leche instead.

Ingredients

Filling:
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, unopened
Cookies:
11 tablespoons (1 1/3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 tablespoon pisco or cognac (optional)
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cornstarch, sifted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  1. To prepare filling, fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Remove label from can of condensed milk. Shake can well and place, unopened, in water. Always keeping the water level above the can, boil 3 hours. Remove can from saucepan using tongs. Let cool before opening. Milk will be a beautiful caramel color.
  2. While filling cooks and cools, prepare cookie dough. Beat butter with a mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy. Add sugar and salt; beat well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well until incorporated. Add pisco, lime rind, lime juice and vanilla; beat well.
  3. Combine cornstarch, flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Scrape butter mixture into flour mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
  4. Divide dough into thirds. Place 2 portions of the dough back in refrigerator to keep cool, and place remaining portion on a board or Silpat mat dusted with cornstarch.
  5. Preheat oven to 325F.
  6. Roll dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Using a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut dough into 18 rounds. Gently transfer rounds to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies start to brown around the edges. Repeat with remaining dough.
  7. Cool cookies completely. Spread about 2 teaspoons of caramel filling on half the cookies. Top with remaining cookies to create a sandwich. Dust liberally with powdered sugar before serving.

Recipe by Doris Rodriguez de Platt.

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