Pumpkin Alfajores

Happy FALL! Finally it’s here and I can’t wait to keep posting pumpkin recipes like this one. Have you ever had Alfajor Cookies? Those are very popular in South America. They are shortbread cookies filled with dulce de leche (which is like a caramel but made from milk). I thought about this recipe a couple of months ago, I was just waiting for pumpkin season to start. Alfajores make me think of my childhood, I remember my mom baking these every year for my birthday when I was a kid. These sandwich cookies have for sure have a special place in my heart.

About the dulce de leche filling : You can buy a can of dulce de leche (you usually find it in Mexican stores OR in the Hispanic food aisle in your regular grocery store) the brand I like to use is LA LECHERA By Nestle). Don’t worry if you can’t find dulce de leche at the grocery store, just get a regular condensed milk, remove the label, put the can in a pan, filled it with water covering the can and let it simmer for 2-3 hours. Always make sure the pan has enough water to cover the can,  keep an eye on that. After 2-3 hours you’ll get dulce de leche! I think Trader Joe’s has dulce de leche too.

Do you want something new and fun to share with your friends during Halloween- Thanksgiving time??… you should make alfajores!

Let’s start with the recipe:

Yield 14 Alfajores (28 round cookies)

Ingredients

For the Pumpkin Cookies

1/4 pumpkin puree (I like to use the one from Trader Joe’s)

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup all-pupose flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp ginger

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the Filling

1 can of dulce de leche

For the decoration

Sifted powdered sugar

Instructions

1.- Preheat oven 350 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.- In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.  Set aside.

3.- Pumpkin has a lot of moisture. So… we have to  remove some of the moisture from the pumpkin puree. You have 2 options: spread the pumpkin puree on  layers of paper towels and press down squeezing the moisture out of (you have to do this 3 times) OR try to strain it through a cheese cloth . I used the paper towel method and it work really good.

4.- Melt butter in a medium saucepan and bring to simmer until it becomes a medium nutty brown color. Remove from heat.

5.- Add pumpkin puree to the butter and mix until well combined. Add vanilla. Set aside.

6.- Pour pumpkin mixture over the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. At first I used a spatula but it didn’t mix it very well, so I transferred the dough to a bowl of an electric mixer and with a paddle attachment I mix it until it was all combined.

7.- Place dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Place in the fridge  for about 15 minutes.

8.- Remove dough  from the fridge and cut 2 1/2 inch rounds. Use a spatula to transfer rounds to prepared baking sheet.  Then, re-roll  the scraps as necessary.

9.- Bake for 12 minutes until tops of the cookies are light brown.

10.- Transfer to cool them on wire racks

11.-  Spoon on half of the cookies about a tablespoon of dulce de leche. Place a second cookie on the top and gently press to create a sandwich. Sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar.

12.- Make some tea or coffee and enjoy!!

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