Looking for a little variety from the chocolatey or gingery treats that have undoubtedly become synonymous with the holiday season? Me too, so I started perusing through my cookbooks and came across a decadent little holiday treat courtesy of The Cuban Kitchen, by Raquel Rabade Roque.
Alfajor is a traditional holiday cookie, popular in Spain, South America, and the Caribbean. It consists of two biscuit cookies with a spread (like nutella), or jam, sandwiched in the center and coated with powdered sugar. Raquel gives us the Cuban take on the alfajor, which uses dulce de leche (caramel) for the center, and grated coconut instead of the powdered sugar. Personally I was sold on the idea of dulce the leche AND coconut coexisting in perfect harmony in a single recipe. I’ll admit the recipe instructions looked a bit intimidating at first glance, but it was actually pretty simple and even fun to make.
Here’s what you’ll need: Makes 12 alfajores
1 ½ sticks butter and some for greasing the cookie sheets 1 cup sugar 1 egg 2 egg yolks 2 tablespoons Cognac2 ½ cups corn flour or cornstarch 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon baking powder Zest of ½ lemon, grated 1 ½ cups dulce de leche (caramel) 1 cup grated coconut flakes
In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Add egg and yolks, Cognac, corn flour (or cornstarch), vanilla extract, baking powder, lemon zest, and mix well until ingredients are combined thoroughly. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
After 30 minutes, once dough is chilled, remove from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface. You want to roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thickness, and then cut into 2-inch rounds. If that sounds too complicated, you can also use a rolling pin to flatten out dough, and use a round cookie cutter. Again, keep in mind that you want the dough to be about ¼ inch thick and cut into 2-inch rounds. You should have 24 rounds.
Place dough on a lightly greased cookie sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and, using a slotted spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool.
Once cookies are cool, spread dulce de leche gently on half of the cookies, press remaining cookies on top allowing dulce de leche to ooze from the sides, and roll the sides on the grated coconut flakes.
And there you have it, delicious coconut flaked, dulce de leche alfajores. Hope you’ll give it a try this season.