…although I’m not entirely sure where August went.
Today, I am sharing a recipe for the most delightful & heavenly cookies – Alfajores!
A couple months ago when my friend Kelly was in town, we ate our body weight during Sunday brunch at Caracol. If you live in Houston and never been – I highly recommend it! It’s a concept by Chef Hugo, and their menu is described as a “culinary tour along the Mexican coasts.” Their brunch is buffet-style and it’s super worth it. One of my favorite parts of their brunch is their DESSERT TABLE, which is an arrangement of traditional Mexican fresh based breads, cookies, candies, and pastries. I nearly peed my pants when I saw all the freshly baked goods, and amongst all the goodies, there was a plate of dime-sized alfajores.
I don’t remember much, but I must’ve eaten at least 10. They were melt-in-your-mouth kind of PERFECTION. While I’ve had alfajores before, none compared to those at Caracol. Since then, I’ve been craving them every. single. day.
I’m not an excellent baker (it’s too exact). But I also knew that I can’t possibly afford to eat at Caracol every single Sunday, so I sucked it up & I grudgingly researched recipes on how to make them myself. After a couple of trial & errors, I think I’ve finally got it down.
I think the most important thing is not to overbake the cookies. Other than that, these little cookies are SUPER easy to make (if you have tons of experience with baking, you can probably do this in your sleep).
Here’s how to make them:
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup room temperature butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks (about 2.5 yolks if you have small eggs)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 13.4oz can Dulce de Leche (You can be an overachiever and make your own, or you can make life 10,000x easier and just buy a jar of dulce de leche! This one is my favorite.)
- Flour for sprinkling your work surface & rolling pin
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Rolling pin
- Scallop cookie cutter, 1 or 2 inch (Option 1 or Option 2), but if you have regular round cookie cutter, that works too
- Stainless steel strainer, optional for easy dusting
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Add the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and, with the paddle attachment on, cream the mixture until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until incorporated. With a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- On low speed, gradually add the cornstarch, flour, salt, baking powder and soda and mix until just incorporated.
- Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape it into a disk and wrap it tightly. Place in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.
- When the dough is ready, preheat your oven to 350 F.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough & the rolling pin.
- Roll the dough to 1/4 (ish) inch thickness (the dough will crack but can be easily patched back together).
- Cut out 20 to 24 rounds using a cookie cutters, re-rolling the dough as necessary until all of it is gone (If I’m using a 1-inch cookie cutter, I can cut about 44-48 rounds = 22-24 cookies. If I’m using a 2-inch cookie cutter, I can cut about 20-24 rounds = 10-12 cookies).
- Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets and bake them in preheated oven for 10-11 minutes. (You can essentially place the cookies with 1/4″ space in between. They don’t expand, so they won’t touch each other in the oven. Also, make sure you don’t overbake! You’ll know it’s done when the dough has set, but the bottom hasn’t browned. Check the cookies after 9 minutes to make sure you don’t overbake.)
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Spoon on half of the cookies about a tablespoon of dulce de leche. Place a second cookie on top and gently press to create a sandwich.
- Dust with powdered sugar.