As you might have read in my previous article, alfajores are THE most popular and most appreciated Argentine sweet. If I have to pick one kind as a personal favourite, I must say it’s really hard to choose just one type. Though I do have to say that homemade ones are definitely at the top of the list, which of course, doesn’t narrow it that much.
I’m confident Alfajores de maicena (Cornstarch alfajores) are sure to be an all-time favourite. What is there not to love about twosweet melt-in-the-mouth cornstarch cookies which are lightly flavored with vanilla, lemon rind and cognac or brandy or whisky and delicately sandwiched together with dulce de leche and have their sides covered with shredded coconut. The cookies are crunchy and soft at the same time and the dulce de leche in the middle holding them together gives them the optimal combination of sensations and tastes. You have to trust me on this one, they are truly delicious!
I think that’s enough to get you tempted, but what if I tell you, they are quite simple to make?
You just need some basic pantry ingredients, a cookie cutter, shredded coconut and, of course, dulce de leche, and you a ready to start. Follow my lead and you’ll be enjoying these beauties in no time. I’m serious, if you follow my instructions, I warranty success.
These are the ingredients you need:
- Cream butter and sugar using a wooden spoon until soft and fluffy. Remember you need to use room temperature butter, ideally you should take it out of the fridge about 1 hour before starting.
- Add your desired flavours, personally I like to combine vanilla and a bit of lemon rind, but you can try your favourite combination and see which you like best. Mix well.
- Break you egg into a cup and mix lightly with a teaspoon. Add to the butter and sugar mixture and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, measure your dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, and baking powder. Mix well using a whisk.
- Add dry ingredients to previous mixture of butter, sugar, and flavours. About 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing gently after each addition. You can gradually increase the number of tablespoons you add until you have added all the dry ingredients and you obtain a soft and smooth dough that you will shape into a ball.
- Take a small plate and sprinkle with a little flour, place your ball of dough and gently pat down to flatten a little. Place it in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, turn on the oven at 180°C or a little higher than minimum.
- Prepare the counter. You will need to sprinkle with flour and rub your rolling pin with flour. Prepare your baking tray, you can use a non-stick baking sheet in which case, there is nothing you need to do, or butter and flour any metal baking sheet or alternatively line with parchment paper or a silicone mat. If you have any time left: just relax.
- Take your dough out of the freezer and rub your hand with a little flour.
- Place your dough on floured counter and slowly roll-out with the rolling pin until it is about a little less than 1 cm thick (you can measure this by placing your finger on the side of the dough, it should be a little lower).
- Cut out with your cookie cutter, traditional shape is round, but you can use other even shapes such as, hearts or squares. Size depends on your preference; they can be made as small as 3 cm in diameter up to about 8 cm. I don’t recommend any larger because they’d become very hard to handle and could easily break. Alternatively, if you don’t own a cookie cutter you can use a small glass which you would carefully flour on the edges.
- Transfer cut out cookies carefully to your baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until they are just very slightly golden.
- Carefully transfer to a wire rack for cooling.
- Fill with dulce de leche and roll in shredded coconut or sprinkles if you prefer or for a kid friendly version, or just leave them without. That’s entirely up to you. Enjoy!
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