Alfajores are delicious little cookies, eaten in most Spanish speaking countries. The version that has become the most popular comes from South America, specifically Argentina. These fabulous cookies are a simple affair, a soft crumbly shortbread, made with cornflour, sandwiched together with dulce de leche. Traditionally the edges are likely to come rolled in coconut but for my version I have topped them with the coconut for a slightly different look. The coconut also toasts as the cookies bake so it amps up the flavour. You can of course make your own dulce de leche but to be honest making it properly (not the more common method of boiling a can of condensed milk) is a bit of a pain, especially getting it to the right thickness, and its so easy to find a really good version these days.
250g unsalted butter, room temperature
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
85g icing sugar
250g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
50g desiccated coconut
dulce de leche, to sandwich the cookies
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
To make the alfajores dough place the butter into a large bowl and using an electric mixer beat together until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the icing sugar and beat until combined. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, cornflour and salt. Add to the bowl and mix together on low speed until the mixture forms a uniform dough. Tip out onto the work surface and use your hands to bring together. Divide into two equal pieces and roll into logs about ?? thick. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for a few hours until firm.
Remove the dough from the fridge and use a thin sharp knife to cut into cookies, about 1/5cm thick. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking trays leaving a couple cm’s between each cookie as these do spread a little.
Brush the cookies with the beaten egg white, just enough to moisten the tops of each round of dough. Before the egg white has a chance to dry out sprinkle with desiccated coconut, pressing into the cookie a little. Bake in the preheated oven for about 11-13 minutes. The cookies should still be pale but the coconut will have started to toast. Remove the trays from the oven and allow the cookies to cool fully on the trays, they’ll be soft when they come out of the oven and need to cool fully to crisp up.
To assemble sandwich each cookie together with a spoonful of dulce de leche. Kept in a sealed container these cookies will keep for up to three days, they will soften the longer they sit.