Recently over the holidays Em&M were finally reunited! With busy schedules and living in polar opposite directions over the US, these family gatherings are always the best. This holiday we went on a bit of a baking frenzy, but my favorite recipe that we finally got to try was alfajores.
When we visited Chile we treasured these delicate dulce de leche sandwich cookies as a pre/mid/post hike snack. You really don't need an excuse to eat cookies, right? Note that if making the dulce de leche (vs. store bought), allow for a few extra hours for boiling and cooling the filling.
- 1 vanilla bean, preferably Mexican
- 4 ounces all-purpose flour (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon; 115g)
- 3 ounces tapioca starch (3/4 cup; 85g)
- 2 ounces powdered sugar (1/2 cup; 55g), plus more for dusting
- 1/4 teaspoon (1g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon (1g) baking powder
- 4 ounces cold unsalted butter (1 stick; 115g), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 large egg yolks, cold
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
Directions (Recipe adapted from Serious Eats)
Note: Dulce de leche filling
This can either be store-bought, or in our case we just took a can of sweetened condensed milk and boiled it (paper wrapper removed) in a large pot of water- enough so it's completely submerged. Place the can on it's side in the pot so it doesn't keep on bobbing in the pot. Depending on how dark you want your dulce de leche to be, it can take anywhere from 2-3 hours of boiling, plus allowing time for it to fully cool once removed from the hot water bath.
Preheat oven to 350 F, adjust rack to middle position.
Split vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds. Combine seeds with flour, tapioca starch, powdered sugar, salt, baking powder, and butter in a food processor. Pulse until fine and sandy. Add egg yolks and pulse until the dough forms. *Note when we did this initially it appeared like the fine meal wouldn't form a dough. But have faith and keep processing-- it'll eventually form.
Divide your dough in half.
Using one half, place onto powdered-sugar dusted surface, and dust some more sugar on top. Roll dough until approximately 6 inches across, and about 1/4 inch thick. Slide a thin offset spatula under the dough to loosen. Cut dough into 2-inch rounds using cookie cutter. Arrange the cutouts on a parchment-lined sheet pan, 1/2 inch in between cookies.
Gather scraps and re-kneed and re-roll, cut. Repeat the above process with the other half of the dough, for a total of about 40 cookie halves give or take.
Bake until just beginning to brown around the edges (about 12-15 min depending on how hot your oven is). Cool to room temp right on the sheet pan.
Once dulce de leche filling and cookies are fully cooled, transfer the dulce de leche to a plastic bag or pastry bag and pipe a dollop onto the center of the cookies. We noted that the cookies were pretty fragile when peeling off the parchment paper, so just use a spatula if you need it.
Top the filled cookie with a second wafer cookie and press gently until secure. Dust with powdered sugar (just on one side) and serve.
Cookies keep 24 hours at room temp, or up to 1 week in an airtight container in the fridge.
I'll bet you these will become your next favorite cookie. Enjoy!