If you have visited my blog for a while, you should know that Alfajores are one of the most popular cookies in Sout America. Each country has their own version and I think each of them are very delicious and special. There is one kind that always got my attention since I was a kid in Peru, they came in a box from the Argentinian brand Havanna. They were 2 delicate cookies with a slight chocolate, orange, honey flavor filled with dulce de leche and coated in chocolate. I never imagined that someday I was going to come up with my own version but guess what, here I am with these homemade alfajores which are splendid with your cup of tea or coffee.
This is my third time trying to develop this recipe. The first time I was not happy at all. The dough was dry and the taste was not right. Second try was much better because I nailed the flavor so I decided to share the recipe here on my blog 2 years ago. But, for some reason I’ve been thinking about these alfajores and I was not very happy with the way the dough was when I rolled it out on the floured surface before cutting the circles, it was a little too delicate to work with. I really wanted it to be perfect, so perfect that I if someday I decide to share it with people from Argentina, I want them to tell me: “Yes, Sandra! This is it! You got it right!”
Today, I can tell you that this is the best recipe for homemade Alfajores Marplatenses that you will ever find. I will give you the right amounts of each ingredient plus all the tips you need to know to achieve the perfect texture and flavor.
Let’s start with the recipe and if you would like to watch the video of how I made these cookies, visit me on Instagram @pastry_tales
Yield about 2 dozen regular size alfajores
For the cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
10 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon expresso powder (optional)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 egg yolks at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey
zest of 2 small oranges or 1 big one
2 teaspoons brandy or dark rum or 1/4 teaspoon orange extract. This time I used orange extract.
For the filling
1 can dulce de leche
For the chocolate coating and white drizzle
1.- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
2.- In a bowl mix flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder. Mix well, set aside.
3.- In another bowl and using a mixer, beat butter for 2 minutes. Then, add granulated sugar and mix both ingredients in medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
4.- Add in egg yolks and mix well in medium speed.
5.- Add in vanilla extract, mix for 30 seconds. Add honey, mix for 30 seconds again. Add orange zest and orange extract or brandy (if using), mix for one minute.
6.- Finally, add dry ingredients mix in low speed for the first 30 seconds and then mix in medium speed until everything is well combined. The dough should resemble play-doh.
7.- Make them a ball and flatten them. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 45 minutes.
8.- Take one half of the dough out of the fridge and place it on top of a floured surface. Dough will harden up but it can get soft super quick that is why I recommend to roll it out 1/4-inch thick and in a careful way.
9.- Using a round cookie cutter, cut circles. Use the help of a small spatula or knife to transfer each circle to your prepared sheet pans. You will have leftover dough but it will be soft by now, so make a ball , cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate again before rolling again.
Chill the cookie sheet in the fridge for 10 and then bake. Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes. The cookies should have a slighttt golden brown around the edges but not black. When cookies come out from the oven should be a bit soft but they will get hard when they cool off.
10.- Let the cookies stay in the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Then, transfer them to a cooling rack so they can cool completely.
For the filling
1.- Use a pastry bag and a round piping tip. Pour all the dulce de leche into your pastry bag.
2.- Grab half of your cookies and spread some dulce de leche on top. I usually make a big dollop in the center and then cover it with another cookie and press down gently so the filling spreads to the edges.
3.- Repeat this process with all the cookies. Place all your cookies on top of a cookie sheet and chill them for 15 minutes. We are doing this so the dulce de leche filling hardens up a bit so it helps when we coat them into the chocolate.
For the chocolate coating
1.- In the microwave, melt your chocolate into a bowl/cup. Always check your chocolate every 60 seconds and stir.
2.- Stir pretty good so your chocolate is all melted and smooth. Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable/canola and stir. This helps to thin out the chocolate. Wait for your chocolate to cool off but do not wait too long because it can get hard again.
3.- Take your alfajores out of the fridge and start dipping one by one into the melted chocolate and place it on top a a cookie sheet lined with WAX PAPER OR FOIL. Be sure to get rid of any chocolate excess.
4.- Let the chocolate rest so it can get hard or you can place them into the fridge again to speed this process.
5.- When the chocolate is all hard now it is time to melt your white chocolate in the microwave and using a fork just drizzle the tops of your alfajores, let the white chocolate harden up too
Storage them into a container or wrap them individually with foil paper (that is what i do). If you live in a humid place like me (Texas), I recommend placing them in the fridge, so the chocolate does not melt or get sticky.
6.- These alfajores taste even better the day after you make them.