So at the beginning of this week I was full of all these plans of how I was going to post a series of recipes dedicated to Cinco de Mayo. Some of you guys have been posting up some DELICIOUS looking taco recipes and Lord knows I love me a good taco.
But the truth is, I should’ve been more realistic with myself about what I would and wouldn’t have time to do. It’s been a busy past couple of days, and what with all the activity going on, I feel kinda surprised I was able to carve out time to get this post up at all.
What’s the buzz all about? Oh well, you know…my older sister Ashley successfully defended her dissertation and earned her Ph.D yesterday.
I am SO proud of her. Earning a doctorate is probably one of THE most difficult things I’ve ever witnessed someone take on, but if there was anyone who was up to the task, it’s my sister. She’s brilliant, hardworking, flexible, resilient– pretty much everything I want to be when I “grow up”. And brilliant; did I mention that she’s pretty brilliant?
The “Defense” part of the process involves the candidate giving a brief presentation of their dissertation to their committee as well as any guests that attend, the committee conducting a questioning of the candidate regarding their research, briefly deliberating, then approving the dissertation itself.
It’s also an event where serving food is generally encouraged.
So, I ‘m sure you guys can guess where I came into this whole process. I ended up putting together a few dishes to serve to the guests at my sister’s defense, as well as at one of her best friend’s defenses the previous day who was also defending her dissertation. I was glad and even honored to be asked to do it, but it also meant that my plan for a Cinco de Mayo recipe series wasn’t gonna happen.
Today’s post is really all I got for ya.
But trust and believe: it’s still enough.
More than enough.
Alfajores are a traditionally South/Latin American sandwich cookie that I’ve wanted to make for a while. I took a looksie at several recipes and figured that they didn’t look very hard to pull off at all. In fact, the most ‘challenging’ part of making an Alfajor is really only going to come down to the ‘star’ ingredient of the filling: Dulce de leche. You can make it from scratch using multiple methods….or, you can do what EYE did in a pinch, and buy a can of it at the grocery store.
Look guys, don’t judge me.
It’s not like I don’t know how. If I had say, the 2-3 hours it takes to cook the condensed milk in the oven, then I would’ve. But this week was just too hectic for making caramel so I settled for just baking the cookies from scratch and letting Nestle do the rest.
I regret nothing.
So I’ll be perfectly honest, I think that the cookies themselves can stand alone even without the Dulce de Leche. They’re light, slightly crisp and oh-so buttery. Think of the perfect tea biscuit and that’s what you’ve got here.
But listen: once you DO add the caramel on the inside and sprinkle the sandwiches with the powdered sugar…NIRVANA.
First of all, Dulche de Leche is yummy enough to eat all by itself on a spoon. Try and resist that urge…at least until you fill all of the cookies. The sweetness of the smooth, rich caramel complements the subtle flavor of the butter cookies perfectly. If you’re in need of a sugar fix alongside a cup of coffee or tea, or hot chocolate then I gotta say this is it.
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon pisco or brandy
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup dulce de leche, at room temperature
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
Place the cornstarch, measured flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk briefly to combine; set aside.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl once with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks, pisco or brandy, and vanilla and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, gradually add the reserved flour mixture and mix until just incorporated with no visible white pockets, about 30 seconds.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape it into a smooth disk, and wrap it tightly. Place in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough. Roll to 1/4-inch thickness (the dough will crack but can be easily patched back together). Stamp out 24 rounds using a plain or fluted 2-inch round cutter, rerolling the dough as necessary until all of it is gone.
Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, 12 per sheet and at least 1/2 inch apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time until the cookies are firm and pale golden on the bottom, about 12 to 14 minutes. (The cookies will remain pale on top.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Flip half of the cookies upside down and gently spread about 2 teaspoons of the dulce de leche on each. Place a second cookie on top and gently press to create a sandwich. Dust generously with powdered sugar before serving.