Tuesday, April 26, 2011

That's one Saucy little cookie (Peruvian Alfajores)

The day after Thanksgiving last year I babysat for my cousin's then 3 month old baby so she &; her hubby could do the Black Friday shopping thing and after they got home that night they treated me & the kid to dinner from a local Spanish restaurant... wonderfully roasted chicken and veggies & stuffs and for dessert there were Alfajores.  I had never tried them before and they were so good, light and sweet buttery cookies sandwiched with dulce de leche in between.. Heavenly.

When I set my mind to make something I can almost always go ahead and make it with no problem and these cookies were no exception.  They are incredibly light due to the fact that most of the dry ingredient part of this recipe consists of cornstarch and very little flour.  They are Amazing!!  I made the cookies really small, for no particular reason other than my large round cookie cutter is no longer so round anymore and I wanted these to look perfect.

I think I did pretty darn well if I could say so myself.. Next up to test them on the Peruvian relatives and see what they say :)


1 2/3 cups cornstarch
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp. cognac or brandy
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
4 egg yolks
dulce de leche, for filling cookies (I used canned because it's readily available or you can make it yourself, recipe following)

Preheat oven to 350°

 In a large bowl, sift together cornstarch, flour, and baking powder; set aside. 

In a mixer fitted with a paddle, beat together sugar and butter until fluffy. 

Add cognac and zest; beat. 

Add yolks one at a time; beat well until each is fully incorporated.

 Add dry ingredients; mix until fully incorporated

Transfer dough to a floured surface, knead briefly and divide into 3 pieces. 

Working with 1 dough piece at a time, roll dough to 1/4″ thickness. 

Using a 2 1/2″ round cookie cutter, cut out cookies; transfer to parchment paper lined baking sheets, spaced 1″ apart. 

Re-roll scraps and repeat. 

Bake until golden, 10–12 minutes. 

Let cool. Flip half the cookies over and top each with 1 teaspoon of dulce de leche. 

Top with remaining cookies.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Dulce de leche:
 In a heavy 4-quart saucepan mix together the milk, sugar, vanilla bean and baking soda and bring to a boil over medium heat. 

Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking. 

As it begins to thicken, stir constantly and cook until caramel-colored and very thick that you can see the bottom of the pan as you stir; this will take about 1 hour. 

If using vanilla extract, add it at this point. 

Remove from heat and let cool. 

Cover and refrigerate.