Sandwich cookies are nice. Two cookies plus filling, masquerading as a single deal with? Signal me up.
That was particularly the case once I was youthful and dedicated to Oreos (or these instances I visited my grandpa, when Hydrox was in the home). Finally I discovered that the ever-present store-bought candy was simply the tip of the iceberg when it got here to sandwich cookies. And there have been loads of superior examples. Linzer cookies. Macarons. Baci di dama. Whoopie pies. Alfajores.
The last are my most recent obsession, and not only because they’re the simplest of the bunch to make. Alfajores are an extremely effective vehicle for enjoying dulce de leche, the delectable, rich and golden spread of long-cooked milk and sugar that is a favorite ingredient in South America. It’s comparable to caramel, although in this case, the process relies a lot more on the Maillard reaction — the interaction between the dairy proteins and the sugar — than actual caramelization. I could, and do, eat dulce de leche straight out of the can with a spoon, but an elegant cookie sandwich adds an extra layer of legitimacy.
Alfajores are a staple in South American dessert culture, often associated with Argentina but popular in other countries there as well. Camila Hurst, who blogs about baking at the delightfully named Pies and Tacos, grew up in Brazil and says her residence nation enjoys them simply as a lot. When she moved to Upstate New York, she couldn’t fulfill her craving by discovering any to purchase. “I had by no means made them earlier than coming right here,” she says. So she took a web page from her grandmother, who ran a bakery the place Hurst spent loads of her time as a toddler, and got here up with a recipe. That includes delicate, pale cookies (sure, the 1 cup of cornstarch is appropriate!) that just about soften in your mouth, it was my favorite of the variations I attempted.
The cookies are of the easy roll-and-cut selection, and utilizing store-bought dulce de leche makes this an especially accessible recipe. Should you can’t discover dulce de leche on the retailer, all you want is a can of sweetened condensed milk and a inventory pot or strain cooker (i.e. Instantaneous Pot). You’ll get no complaints serving the cookies as is, however if you wish to add extra pizazz, there are many methods to try this. Hurst says it’s not unusual to seek out alfajores drizzled with chocolate, dipped in chocolate (white or milk/darkish), dusted with confectioners’ sugar, or rolled in coconut or almonds. “Individuals get inventive with it,” she says. Simply as the most effective sandwiches — cookie or in any other case — allow you to do.
Recipe notes: Minimize the cookies as large or small as you need, although the yield and quantity of dulce de leche will range.
The cookie dough disk must be refrigerated for no less than Three hours and as much as 1 day. Freeze rolled and minimize dough for as much as 2 months; to take action, freeze minimize cookie rounds on a baking sheet, then switch to a zip-top bag. The assembled sandwiches will be refrigerated in an hermetic container for as much as 5 days or frozen for as much as Three months.
Search for canned or jarred dulce de leche resembling La Lechera (by Nestlé) at well-stocked supermarkets or Latin markets. See the NOTE at finish of the recipe, beneath, for directions on making your personal.
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1 cup (120 grams) cornstarch
3/Four cup (106 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra to mud counter
half teaspoon baking powder
1/Four teaspoon advantageous sea salt
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons/140 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/Three cup (75 grams) granulated sugar
Three giant egg yolks, at room temperature
half teaspoon vanilla extract
1/Four teaspoon almond extract
About 1 cup (280 grams) store-bought or home made dulce de leche (see introduction and NOTE)
Melted chocolate, for drizzling (elective)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (elective)
Finely grated coconut, for adorning (elective)
In a medium bowl, whisk collectively the cornstarch, flour, baking powder and salt.
Within the bowl of an electrical mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or utilizing a hand mixer and a big bowl, beat the butter on medium-high till clean, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and proceed to beat till very fluffy and light-weight in coloration, an extra 2 to three minutes. Scrape down the bowl and the paddle. Scale back the mixer velocity to medium and add the egg yolks, one by one, combining totally after every addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, and blend on medium to mix. Scrape down the bowl and paddle once more.
Scale back the mixer velocity to low and add the cornstarch combination. Combine till a gentle however not-too-sticky dough simply comes collectively. It doesn’t want it to be in a single mass, however ought to type just a few giant, cohesive items. Switch the dough to a bit of plastic wrap and pat right into a thick disk. Wrap and refrigerate for no less than Three hours and as much as 1 day.
Place a baking rack in the midst of the oven and preheat to 350 levels. Line two giant, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Flippantly flour a clear, dry work floor. Take away the dough from the fridge, unwrap it and whack it just a few instances with a rolling pin to begin flattening it. Roll out the dough to about 1/8-inch thick, periodically lifting and rotating the dough to maintain it from sticking to the counter. Reflour the counter as needed. You might also flippantly mud the highest of the dough if the rolling pin sticks. If the dough breaks in anyplace, patch it together with your fingers. Utilizing a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter (or different measurement cutter or glass of your selection), punch out as many cookies as you’ll be able to. Dip the cutter in flour now and again for a clear minimize. Collect the scraps, press them again right into a disk and return to the fridge to agency up.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating from entrance to again midway by. The cookies ought to stay largely pale with a faint trace of gold across the edges and on the underside. Let the cookies relaxation on the sheet for a couple of minutes, then switch to a wire rack to chill utterly.
Roll out the chilled scraps, and repeat the chopping and baking of the cookies. Discard the remaining dough scraps (or bake them off as a prepare dinner’s deal with, as the feel will not be fairly nearly as good).
When the cookies are cool, invert half of them in your work floor. Utilizing a piping bag, small disher or spoon, place about 1 tablespoon of dulce de leche onto every upturned cookie. With a tableware knife or offset spatula, unfold the dulce de leche nearly to the perimeters. Prime with the remaining cookies to type cookie sandwiches, utilizing very mild strain — keep in mind, the cookies are delicate — to assist nudge the dulce de leche to the perimeters. Drizzle with melted chocolate, mud with confectioners’ sugar or roll in finely grated coconut, if desired.
NOTE: To make dulce de leche within the Instantaneous Pot or different electrical strain cooker, take away the lid and label of a 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk and canopy the highest of the can tightly with aluminum foil. Place the can on a steamer rack within the cooker’s insert and add sufficient water to achieve midway up the can. Prepare dinner on excessive strain for 40 minutes and permit a pure launch. Take away the can, uncover and let cool for no less than 20 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of advantageous sea salt, if desired.
To make dulce de leche on the range high, take away the label from a 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk. Place on its aspect in a big pot and canopy with no less than 2 inches of water. Deliver to a simmer over excessive warmth, then scale back to take care of a mild simmer, cooking for two to three hours, relying on how darkish you need the caramel. Test the water regularly to ensure the can is totally submerged (to stop the can from exploding) and replenish as wanted. Take away the can with tongs, place on a wire rack and let cool earlier than opening. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of advantageous sea salt, if desired.
Tailored from Camila Hurst, who blogs at piesandtacos.com. Dulce de leche directions tailored from Melissa Clark and Severe Eats.
Examined by Becky Krystal; e-mail inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Energy: 215; Whole Fats: 10 g; Saturated Fats: 6 g; Ldl cholesterol: 63 mg; Sodium: 67 mg; Carbohydrates: 29 g; Dietary Fiber: zero g; Sugars: 15 g; Protein: Three g.