Hi there! Today I am honored to be featuring one of our #SundaySupper contributors. Paula, from Vintage Kitchen Notes is a fabulous cook, blogger and a large part of #SundaySupper. I love her blog and look forward to every post she publishes because the recipes are always fabulous and ones I can’t wait to try. Although Paula and I have never met, I consider her a friend and was honored when she was featured in The Tampa Bay Times with me. She lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina and we can’t wait to meet one day soon. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have. These Cornstarch Sandwich Cookies, Alfajores, are out of this world!
This guest post is really a treat for me. The idea of sharing one of my heritage recipes with Isabel and her audience, is something to get me excited. She and I met through the incredible movement she started to bring people around the family table, called Sunday Supper. Of course, if you´re reading this, you probably know about that. And you know what a positive, warm person she is. It comes through in her blog.
So I wanted to share something that would talk about my background and my kitchen today. This recipe is for alfajores. If you´re not familiar with the name, it´s a cookie sandwich. Two cornstarch cookies held together with a good dose of dulce de leche.
Any bakery you enter in Buenos Aires (where I live), or the whole of Argentina, will offer some kind of alfajor similar to this one. Most of them will have the sides coated with coconut. Here I used ground toasted nuts, based on my own personal taste. The coconut adds too much flavor and messes up with the final result. That is, the magic combination that are dulce de leche and a sweet cornstarch dough that is enhanced with cognac, lemon zest and the tiniest splash of vanilla.
The cookie dough comes together easily, is very pliable and good to roll and cut. The rounds bake into barely colored, crumbly pucks that combine incredibly well with the milky, sweet jam that is dulce de leche. Together they melt-in-you-mouth. Literally, I´m not kidding. It´s a sensational flavor.
My ideal size for an alfajor will give you four or five bites. And with a lot of filling. But my grandmother made small, one bite wonders. They were legendary. I´m using her recipe here, which I believe is perfect. It comes from Doña Petrona, a famous cook, similar to Julia Child in the US. Back in the day, her books where on every bride´s wedding list and in every house.
My grandmother changed the flour/cornstarch ratio and the flavorings just a tiny bit. These alfajores are ideal for afternoon tea, as a snack, take on a picnic or as a hostess gift to a friend´s house. Everyone will rave about them.
Thanks Isabel for having me here, and to all of you for taking the time to read this. Hope you make and enjoy this recipe, you won´t be disappointed.
- 150g (scant ¾ cups) unsalted butter, at room tº
- 200g (1 cup) sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbs cognac or other liqueur
- 100 g (¾ cup) all purpose flour
- 320 g (2 ¼ cups) cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- A few drops vanilla extract
- Zest of ⅓ lemon
- Dulce de leche
- Toasted ground nuts or shredded coconut, for garnish
- In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix butter and sugar until very creamy.
- Add egg yolks and whole egg and mix well to incorporate.
- Add cognac, vanilla and lemon zest.
- Then add flour and cornstarch gradually, mixing very well until no streaks of dry remain. The final dough will be very soft and silky but not sticky. Let rest for 10 minutes. If I´m not baking the alfajores immediately I wrap the dough in film and put it in the refrigerator like any sweet dough.
- Preheat oven to 170ºC / 325ºF
- On a floured surface, roll dough to ½ cm thick (about ¼ inch). Using a round cutter, cut circles and place them on a buttered and floured cookie tray (I use a silpat). Thickness and size is totally up to you; I suggest you try different combinations and see which one works best for your taste.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until barely starting to color. Let cool completely in a rack.
- Put dulce de leche in a piping bag or you can use a spoon, and fill one round, flat side up. Press lightly with another round, flat side down forming alfajores.
- Put ground nuts or unsweetened coconut in a small plate and roll sides of alfajores so that you have an even coating. You can also use grated chocolate, or leave it plain.
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