Food writer and recipe developer Francoise Villeneuve has been researching Peruvian food for an upcoming story and threw us her own formula for alfajores, caramel sandwich cookies that pair perfectly with Peruvian coffee.
My favorite Peruvian cookies are alfajores, vanilla cookies sandwiched with manjar blanco (Peruvian Dulce de Leche). Sometimes shredded coconut is pressed into the caramel, and they generally are always dusted with powdered sugar. Eaten with a bitter cup of coffee, they are still seriously sweet, but balanced. OK, now I want one.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
- 1 egg
- 1 jar dulce de leche
- powdered sugar (optional)
- shredded, unsweetened coconut (optional)
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a medium bowl.
- Add the salt, mix thoroughly and set aside.
- Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of standing mixer with a whisk attachment.
- Scrape the vanilla seeds from the vanilla bean into the bowl. (You can keep the pod in a container of sugar for vanilla sugar, if you like, instead of throwing it out.)
- Cream together until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
- Add the egg and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the flour mixture in 2 batches until just combined.
- Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours. You could also keep the dough in the freezer if you won’t need the cookies for a few days, and it thaws pretty well, for a quick sweet treat.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap. Using the extra flour and a rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness.
- Using a round cookie cutter about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, cut circles from the dough and put them on the baking sheets.
- Bake the cookies until pale gold; they will have a dry appearance on top when they are finished. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Place a teaspoon of Dulce de Leche in the center of every other cookie and sandwich together with the bare cookies. You could stop at this point, or roll the cookies sideways in the coconut and dust with powdered sugar.
Find more recipes for cookies with fillings on Food Republic: