Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookie Sandwiches)

This is another one of those Latin American treats I miss from back home.  It’s essentially a shortbread-like sandwich cookie filled with one of my favorite things in the world – Dulce de Leche. It’s practically impossible to go wrong with this baby. In fact, it’s practically impossible to go wrong with ANYTHING you slather Dulce de Leche on.

There are many variations of the actual cookie, but I like this one in particular because it’s simple to make and has an incredibly buttery texture that complements the Dulce de Leche perfectly.  As for the Dulce de Leche itself, you can go two different routes. You can either use store bought Dulce de Leche – which is recommended for convenience – or make your own.  I find there are plenty of wonderfully tasting store bought options that justify buying versus making. Either way, rest assured your cookies will taste spectacular.


Ingredients

~   2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

~   1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

~  1/2 teaspoon salt

~  1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened

~   1 1/2 cups dulce de leche, at room temperature

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter. Alternately, you can knead the dough with your hands. Pulse (or knead)until dough comes together into a ball. If the dough is too sticky add a little more flour so that you can shape the soft dough into a ball. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.

Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and roll the dough 1/8-inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bring the dough scraps together and gently press into a ball. Flour your work surface, re-roll 1/8-inch thick and cut out more rounds.

Bake the cookies until they are golden and firm, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely, about 25 minutes. This recipe should yield 16 – 18 sandwich cookies, which is about 32 – 36 single cookies.

Spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the dulce de leche on the flat side of a cookie and sandwich with the flat side of another cookie. Place the cookies on a platter, dust with powdered sugar, and serve. You can also press the cookies until the dulce de leche oozes out slightly on the sides, and then roll them in shredded coconut.


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