I’ve made a few different types of biscuits before, but like everyone else I’m always looking for something new. Then I discovered Alfajores in a local Argentinean café and it was love at first bite. Alfajores (pronounced alfa-HOAR-ays) are popular cookies in many Latin American countries especially at Christmas time. There are loads of different familial and regional versions of Alfajores, but this version with dulce de leche and coconut is my personal favourite. The biscuits are so small, light and crumbly and they are so much nicer than a heavy mince pie. They can be made in different sizes, but I like them no bigger than an espresso cup. They’re crumbly and delicate and are the perfect complement to a rich, dark cup of coffee. I always try out a new batch on my work colleagues (and the OH’s colleagues) and these were especially popular – that’s always a good sign. They’re simple to make and I guarantee people will be asking for more.
– 250g cornflour
– 200g flour
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 200g butter at room temperature
– 75g sugar
– 3 egg yolks
– 1tbsp brandy /Cognac
– 400g of Dulce de leche. (Available in most gourmet supermarkets)
– 25g of desiccated coconut
Preheat the oven to 175C. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Sieve the cornflour, flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together into a medium sized bowl. In a separate large bowl beat the butter, sugar and egg yolks together with an electric mixer until all well combined. Add the brandy/cognac. Reduce the speed of the mixer and slowly add the dry ingredients until it comes together. Then turn off the mixer and gather the mixture in your hands to form a dough. Divide the dough in half (it’s just easier to work with half the dough at a time.) Flour a clean surface with a dusting of flour. Roll the first half of the dough out evenly until it is about a quarter inch thick. Using a fluted cutter (2inches in diameter) cut out the cookies and place on the sheet of parchment paper, leaving about half an inch distance between each cookie. Once you have rolled and cut both halves of dough into cookies, place the baking sheets in the preheated oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway in the cooking to ensure an even bake. The cookies should be only very slightly coloured. They should be more of a pale golden colour rather than golden brown. Remove from the oven immediately and allow to stand for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack. They are very delicate at this stage, so handle with care.
Once the biscuits have fully cooled, gently spoon a small teaspoon of Dulce de Leche on the flat side of the cookie and sandwich with the other half of the cookie. Place the desiccated coconut in a large pile on a baking sheet. Make a well in the centre of the coconut and place the biscuit in the centre. Gently push the coconut onto the sides of the cookie, so that it sticks to the Dulce de leche. Once the biscuit is coated with the coconut, remove and place on a serving plate. These biscuits keep for about 2 days in a sealed airtight tin.