What is alfajores?
Alfajores are very famous sweet snacks in Argentina. There are variety types of alfajores and the ones that I made for this video are cornstarch alfajores or also known as “Alfajores de maicena”. They are basically soft crumbly cookies sandwiched together with dulce de leche as the filling.
The cookies are made from cornstarch and all purpose flour, well amongst other ingredients but the combination of the flour is what makes the texture of the cookies so soft and crumbly.
Of all the types of alfajores that I’ve tried, I love the cornstarch alfajores the best.
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no extra cost to you, I will get a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Everything I mention in this post is what I personally use and recommend.
The cornstarch cookies
As I mentioned earlier, I used cornstarch and all purpose flour to make these cookies. Try to use the best quality butter that you can find because it all matters. Making the cookies is not difficult at all but there are several things to bear in mind.
One is, do not overwork the dough. As you can see in the video, at one time I couldn’t use my hand mixer to properly mix the dough. That was when I simply poured everything on my working surface. Then I used my palm to gently push the dough. Then I kind of fold everything and repeat pushing the dough with my palm until everything comes together.
For me, I noticed that this way I don’t overwork the dough and the cookies come out super soft, exactly the way we like them.
Second is, do not over bake the cookies. The cookies are supposed to be white even after baking. They’re not supposed to have any toasted color on them. Not on the top nor on the bottom of the cookies.
Third is, don’t roll and cut out the dough too thick nor too thin. Nice measurement would be between 5-10 mm.
Fourth is, use bakers dulce de leche as the filling. Never use regular dulce de leche because the texture is too soft to hold the shape of alfajores. In time it will make your cookies slide and the filling oozing out. You wouldn’t want that. Meanwhile bakers dulce de leche is firmer and hold the shape perfectly.
Last one, try to pipe the filling as the same thickness of the cookies. The filling should not be too little until all you can taste is the cookies. It should not be too much either that when you bite on the alfajores, the filling starts to fall.
The dulce de leche filling
Well as I mentioned earlier, the filling for these alfajores is dulce de leche. That’s what makes these cookies so delicious and decadent. That sweet creamy milky caramel taste of dulce de leche.
I did mention also that when you make these alfajores, use bakers dulce de leche. The texture is firmer, thicker and it will hold both of the cookies together perfectly.
Ok I will tell you one thing that I noticed. When I make my own dulce de leche using a can of condensed milk, I realised that the texture and the firmness of it is almost the same as store bought bakers dulce de leche. More when you store the homemade dulce de leche in the fridge overnight. So if you’re having difficulties finding bakers dulce de leche, you can try making your own version. Do read the tips and full instructions here.
Ok. Let’s continue. So after you have filled and sandwiched all your cookies, roll them in coconut flakes. Roll them good, covering all the dulce de leche.
My mother in law says that they are best eaten the next day. Well I can’t wait that long! When we were filming this video, I was eating them between piping the filling and rolling in the coconut flakes 😀
I hope you enjoy them as much as my family and I do. Happy baking!
Watch how to make Argentine alfajores in the video below:
Classic Argentine Alfajores
- 300 gr corn starch
- 200 gr all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 150 gr icing sugar , sifted
- 200 gr unsalted butter , soften
- 3 egg yolks , room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- zest of 1 medium sized lemon
- bakery dulce de leche , as needed for the filling
- On a bowl, sift together corn starch flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In another bowl, add in icing sugar and soften butter. Mix until creamy. Add in egg yolk one by one, mixing well to combine after each addition. Add in vanilla extract, lemon zest and mix to combine.
- Add in sifted flour mixture in 3 additions. Mix just until combine after each addition. For the 3rd addition, you will not be able to mix everything to combine using hand held mixer. When it's half mixed, pour the whole mixture onto the working surface. Start folding the mixture onto itself and gently push the mixture with your palm. Repeat the process until the mixture becomes a dough. Do not knead. Refer to the video for better understanding for this part.
- Wrap the dough with cling film and leave it to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Work with 1/3 of dough at a time to prevent the rest of dough comes to room temperature. Put 1/3 of dough on a cling film and cover it with another. Gently roll it into 8-10mm thickness. If the dough breaks, don't worry just gently push it back together. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes while you continue rolling the rest of the dough.
- Take 1 piece of rolled dough from the fridge and place it on the working surface. Remove the top cling film. Cut out circles using a 4.5 cm diameter glass. I used champagne glass. Flour the mouth of the glass to prevent the dough sticking to it.
- Using a flat spatula, remove the circles onto a baking tray that has been greased and floured before hand. If you're going to cut out circles for the rest of the dough before baking them, place the already cut out circles on baking tray in the fridge.
- Bake at 180ºC (360ºF) in a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until fully cooked without the cookies having any toasted color. Cool in a rack completely.
- To assemble the alfajores, take one cookie, bottom facing up and pipe dulce de leche on it, preferably the same height as the cookie. Normal dulce de leche can be used but it doesn't hold as good. Take another cookie and put on top of the dulce de leche, bottom facing down and lightly press. Take the sandwiched cookies and roll its side in coconut flakes, with the intention of covering the dulce de leche. Repeat with the rest of the cookies. Enjoy!