Dulce de Leche and Coconut Alfajores

Alfajores are, without a doubt, the most popular baking treat in Uruguay and neighboring Argentina. The ancient cookie sandwich, filled with dulce de leche (literally ‘milk candy’), can be traced to the Middle Age Muslim dominated Spain, but it’s now as South American as Tango dancing.

The secret behind the crusty but soft cookie sandwiches is the filling. Dulce de leche, which is basically burnt condensed milk, is sweet, silky, and creamy, not dissimilar to caramel or chocolate, but better, and making it at home is incredibly fun. You just need a few cans of sweetened condensed milk and boiling water.

Although the classic expression of the alfajor is two cookies held together by dulce de leche, you can find many styles, from chocolate-coated treats to others filled with fruit. The ones we’re making today are classic, but there’s a twist. We’re rolling the sticky sides in grated coconut for added freshness and an extra layer of texture and flavor.

Alfajores are great with coffee, and they’re the perfect dessert after a wholesome dinner paired with wines from Uruguay. The cookies are also thoughtful gifts for housewarming parties or close friends and family; no one can resist a good alfajor!

What you’ll need:
For this recipe, you’ll need a large pot for boiling water, a
few bowls of different sizes, three baking trays, and a stand

You’ll also need parchment paper and plastic wrap, but most
importantly, a good glass of wine and some music because making
cookies, particularly alfajores, is tons of fun!

Cuisine: South American
Cook Time: 240 minutes
Total Time: 240 minutes
Servings: 50 serving(s)
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  • 2 (13.4-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk; labels removed
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus a pinch for dulce de leche
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup finely grated dried coconut