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Alfajores de Dulce de Leche

Dulce de leche is a popular sweet in Argentina and throughout the rest of South America, where it is also called manjar and leche quemada ("burnt milk"). Store-bought versions are increasingly available in North American supermarkets and specialty food stores; use it in place of the homemade variety, if desired.

  • yield: Makes 3 1/2 dozen

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Ingredients

For Dulce de Leche

  • 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk

For the cookie

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat (such as Silpat).

  2. Step 2

    In a large bowl, sift together flour and confectioners' sugar. In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, and butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 20 seconds. With machine running, pour in the water in a slow stream, and process just until the dough comes together, about 20 seconds. Form the dough into two flattened disks and wrap well in plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

  3. Step 3

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a well-floured work surface, roll out one disk of dough to a scant 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 1 1/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds from the dough and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the other disk of dough. Gather up scraps from both batches, and reroll and cut. Sprinkle half the rounds with sanding sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  4. Step 4

    About 30 minutes before serving, spread 1 teaspoon of the cold dulce de leche on the bottom of the unsugared cookies. Place the sugared cookies on top to make sandwiches. Serve immediately. Unfilled cookies can stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.

  5. Step 5

    For Dulce de Leche: Empty milk into the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until the milk is thick and amber in color, about 5 hours. Remove from heat, and beat with a wooden spoon to smooth out. Transfer to a clean bowl, and refrigerate several hours or up to 3 days. Makes 1 3/4 cups.

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Reviews (15)

  • starkindler 22 Nov, 2010

    My girlfriend taught me how to make these. We don't use that much flour, we use corn starch. I too, was taught to boil the condensed milk in the tin submerged in boiling water. The funny thing is - these simple little cookies have become a family favorite, have been served at weddings and baby showers and wer are Italian-Irish! Go figure!

  • Carolinck 11 Nov, 2010

    In Brazil we use a pressure cooking pot, goes quicker...
    Completely covered in water (say, stopping the water about 2" from the border of the pot), low fire after it gets pressurized, let it boiling for an hour and then turn the fire of.
    When you take it out of the pot you can put the can under cool water to be able to open it quicker.

  • Minal 10 Nov, 2010

    You can boil the tin for exactly 2 hours. Keepi it imersed in water during boiling and keep topping up with water as needed.

  • crafty-di 10 Nov, 2010

    Hi Irna, How long do you boil the tin of condensed milk? The cookie recipe sounds good but stirring for 5 hours! I don't think so.

  • Irna 10 Nov, 2010

    HI , in Australia, we boil the condensed milk in the tin unopened and then keep the cans in the pantry for up to 3 months. We put the caramel in a shortcrust pie shell, top it with sliced banana then cream and call it Banoffee Pie

  • MidwestSplendor 10 Nov, 2010

    mmmm....Shortbread cookie with caramel, yummy!

  • Valentina134 10 Nov, 2010

    the original alfajores are made with corn starch and flour...half the corn starch and half flour. Also you are missing in the recipe the baking powder. Your recipe are missing of a lot ingredients. this recipe calls for too much butter..not the real alfajores recipe...

  • dlogan34 10 Nov, 2010

    Looks like you can substitute one cup of corn starch for one of the cups of flour in this recipe to make a lighter, more tender cookie.

  • Romina 16 Mar, 2010

    Very good recipe.I found dulce de leche in can,at Food Max .I m Portuguese and we have the same in Portugal.I use it in many desserts, mainly Brasilian desserts.Orlanda Faria yasmin465@hotmail.com

  • marianaush 6 Dec, 2009

    The dulce de leche stays soft. That's one of the good things about it. Try it, it is yummy. And greetings from Argentina!

  • psr010 2 Dec, 2009

    Just a note to say alfajores in argentina are made with cornstarch and flour making them very light... I do not think this will have the same texture but I am going to try.

  • 1950cookielady 14 Nov, 2009

    I am wondering if anyone has tried to shape the dough into a log, chill, slice and then bake the cookies for a timesaving step.

  • choirteacher 13 Nov, 2009

    Does the caramel stay soft or does it harden as it sets?

  • DavidRush 13 Nov, 2009

    you can also boil the milk in the can (unopened) for five hours and get the same color and caramel taste

  • lububulu 13 Nov, 2009

    If you want to live dangerously, you can try making dulce de leche by throwing the sweetenened condense milk in the pot and stirring constantly on med high heat with a rubber spatula. It shortens the five hours to five minutes, but I don' t know how it effects the taste because i've never made it the five hour long way. The five minute way was delicious enough for me. I've only made one can of it this way, likely with two cans you'll have to spend more energy stirring and time too perhaps.