I took these on for an Argentine feast I put on for our location Community Center program, “Windows of the World,” and fell deeply for these beauties. Light and lemony shortbread cookies, sandwiched with caramel-y dulce de leche filling and rolled with coconut. Seriously, to make these is to fall in love.
1-1/2 cups (200g/7 oz.) all-purpose flour
2-1/8 cups (300g/10.5 oz.) cornstarch
2 tsp. (8 g) baking powder
1/2 tsp. (3 g) baking soda
1 and 3/4 sticks (200g/7 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g/5.3 oz.) granulated sugar
2 tsp. (10 g) grated lemon zest
3 large egg yolks (54 g)
2 tsp. (10 ml) vanilla extract
350 g (12 oz.) dulce de leche, for filling
1/2 cup (47 g) unsweetened shredded or desiccated coconut, for rolling
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract just until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture and beat just until combined. Do not overmix or the cookies will turn out tough.
Form the dough into a ball, then flatten slightly to form a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until firm enough to roll.
If you don’t want to use the dough right away, you can refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to a month, then thaw it overnight in the fridge.
Take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly for easy rolling. On a lightly floured surface (or between two pieces of parchment paper), roll the dough to a 1/8 or 1/4-inch (3-5mm) thickness. Cut out into rounds using a 2-inch (5cm) fluted or round cookie cutter, and place the cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
If at any point the dough becomes too warm, place it back into the fridge for a few minutes. Re-roll the remaining scraps and repeat. Place sheets with cookies in the freezer or fridge for at least 15 minutes, until firm, so that they will be less prone to spreading.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until cookies appear golden brown at the edges. Allow cookies to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Spoon the dulce de leche into a small bowl. In a second bowl, fill with the coconut. Spread the bottom half of a cookie with dulce de leche (about 2 tsp.). Sandwich together with a second cookie, but avoid pressing the cookies too much as they are very delicate at this point. Once assembled, use a knife to spread a small amount of dulce de leche around the sides. Roll them in the shredded coconut.
Store the alfajores at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week (or freeze for up to 2 months). To thaw, leave covered on the counter or overnight in the fridge.
Adapted from Prettysimplesweet.com