11/12/15

Alfajores



While they have origins in Spain, these cookies are popular in South America. Alfajores are simple shortbread sandwich cookies filled with sweet caramelized milk (aka dulce de leche). There are many versions of Alfajores, but this recipe is from Chef Marisa Guiulfo's cookbook, the beloved icon of Peruvian gastronomy. The recipe calls for cornstarch, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth confection. One of my favorite cookies.

The original recipe comes in grams, but I convert grams to cups in case you don't have a scale. I use salted butter instead of unsalted butter and add some vanilla extract to the recipe.

Ingredients:
makes 40 (1.5" diameter)

125 g (9 tbsp.) salted butter, softened 
90 g (2/3 cup) powdered sugar, sifted
4 yolks
1 lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
140 g (2 cups) cornstarch
70 g (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder


Preparation:

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy. 
2. Add yolks, zest and extract. Beat until smooth on a medium speed. Scrape down the sides once.
3. Sift cornstarch, purpose and baking powder together. On low speed, gradually add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. 
4. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape it into a smooth disk, and wrap it tightly. Refrigerate for an hour.
5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 
6. Between 2 sheets of parchment paper, roll the dough out into 1/8" thickness, using 1.5" cookie cutter to stamp out circles. Rerolling the dough as necessary until all of it is gone.
7. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Freeze for 10 minutes.
8. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies should remain pale on top. 
9. Cool completely before filling them with dulce de leche. 
10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.












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