Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Alfajores ...to celebrate World Dulce de Leche Day & Cookie Month

NOT the right kind of Dulce de Leche to use...
If you live in a multi-cultural, bi-lingual home, certain things are bound to happen on a somewhat regular basis.  Or at least sporadically.  Or maybe it's just me?  Either way.  I often run across something or another that I want to cook or bake with its common name said in Spanish.  Now, I do realize that Mexico is not the only country to speak Spanish, but at the same time I always assume Mexi is going to get excited when I make something "in Spanish".  Or at least know what it is.  Occasionally it's confirmed that I often don't know what I'm talking about.  Take for instance, Alfajores.  For some reason I thought they were a universal Latino-type cookie.  Ummm...not so much.  At least not for mi esposo.  When he called me from work today, I told him in a somewhat conspiratorial tone that I was making Alfajores.  He promptly responded, "Oreos?"  Sigh.  "No...alfa-hoar-ays", I said.  Silence.  "I don't know what that is..." finally came back over the line.  Oh.  Turns out they may be more of a South American treat than a Central American treat.  Fine.  I'm making them anyway.
And just to add insult to injury...when I was at the market the other day, I saw this cool squeezable bottle of Dulce de Leche and figured I should definitely pick it up.  I mean, it was bound to make filling the alfajores I was soon to make way easier.  Right?  Wrong!  Turns out the stuff in the bottle is thin.  Go ahead, try squeezing it between two cookies.  Oh, it'll go on...but it won't stay on.  And neither will the top cookie.  Nope. Sliiiiiiide.  That's what it'll do. Sliiiiiiide.  So, after a carnival of a photo session with the few cookies I filled with the thin stuff, I decided it was time to go back to market and grab a tin of the good, thick, spreadable stuff.  Problem solved.
Alfajores
adapted from The Cookiepedia
yield: ~3 dozen single cookies (~1½ dozen sandwiches)

6 Tbs. unsalted butter, room temp.
½ c. sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
¾ c. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

dulce de leche, for filling
powdered sugar, for dusting (uummm, yeah...forgot this!)

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and egg yolk, one at a time.  Add vanilla and mix again.  Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt into the bowl and beat again until everything comes together.

Turn dough out and quickly form it into a ball.  Wrap in a double-layer of plastic wrap, and press into a disk.  Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325° F.  Line sheet pans with parchment or a silpat.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to ¼" thickness.  Use a 1½"-2" cutter (any type you like) to cut out cookies shapes and carefully transfer them to the prepared sheets, ~1" apart.  Chill the sheets for 15-20 minutes, until dough is very firm.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until tops of cookies have just firmed and bottoms are starting to color slightly.  Let cool before filling.

Drop, pipe, or spread as much dulce de leche into the center of half of the cookies, then top with the other half.  Sift powdered sugar over the sandwiches (unless you forget) and serve.
That's more like it!
October 11th is World Dulce de Leche Day...and October is Cookie Month!

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