The traditional Argentinian cookies, the Alfajores, luscious dulce de leche are sandwiched between two buttery, crumbly cookies and rolled in shredded coconut. Perfect to accompany your afternoon espresso!
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Today, I’m excited to share the recipe for this time-honored Argentinian recipe: the Alfajor (pronounced al-fah-hor) cookie. Straight from Argentina, this recipe comes via my best friend’s mother, Susana. Born and raised in Cordoba, Susana ate her fair share of these delicate sandwich cookies and generously shared her family recipe with us.
These cookies are cornstarch-based, creating a very delicate and melt-in-your-mouth treat. The dough is crumbly due to the lack of liquids in it, but comes together nicely.
Generously filled with dulce de leche, a confection that’s luscious and sweet, true alfajor fans wait a day or two to consume them. They slightly soften after being sandwiched, lending to their familiar texture. Dulce de leche can be bought in cans, the most familiar brand, Nestle La Lechera, is most commonly found in the international or baking aisle of your local store.
Can’t find dulce de leche? You can make your own by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk for a couple hours. The slow, simmering water softly cooks the condensed milk into a deep, rich dulce de leche. Another great substitute is cajeta, which is dulce de leche made with goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk. Our favorite brand of cajeta is Fat Toad Farm! Bakers Royale has an oven method of making dulce de leche, worth checking out.
You can find a variety of these cookies all over Latin America, in countries like Paraguay, Uruguay, and specially Argentina. Local grocery stores, shops, and gift boutiques always have a stock of these special cookies (or so they say, since I’ve never been to any of these countries!)
Give these sandwich cookies a try, you’ll be surprised at how delicious they are. Slightly sweet, they’re perfect with your coffee or as an addition to a dessert table. Sprinkling them with powdered sugar is a classic way to serve them and adds a touch more of sweetness. Thanks again to Maria and her mom, Susana, for graciously sharing this recipe!
Classic Argentinian Alfajores Cookies
- 200 grams all-purpose unbleached flour
- 300 grams cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 200 grams unsalted butter softened
- 150 grams granulated sugar
- 3 large egg yolks room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
- 13 ounce can dulce de leche
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- Preheat your oven to 325F.
- Sift flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- Make sure your butter is very soft! Not melted, not warm, just perfectly soft. This will achieve the dough texture we need. Cream the soft butter and sugar for 5 minutes.
- Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and lime zest.
- Add all the dry ingredients at once and mix until completely incorporated.*
- Roll dough out (in portions so it's easier to work with) on a lightly floured surface**, to a 1/4 inch and cut into circles. Place on an unlined cookie sheet, no need to grease it. Also, you can place cookies pretty close together - they won't spread at all, so make sure you're cutting them out the size you're going to want the baked cookie to be.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes and don't let them brown. Cool before filling.
- Slather or pipe dulce de leche on the underside of a cookie and sandwich using another cookie. Press together so the dulce de leche slightly seeps out and roll the edges in shredded coconut.
- Store in an airtight container.
**Note: If you can roll out the dough with NO flour at all, even better. When working quickly with this dry dough, you will only need to flour your rolling pin, avoiding incorporating more flour into the already dry dough.