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Argentinian Alfajores Cookies

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Delicate Argentinian alfajores cookies, two melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies sandwiched together with dulce de leche.

shortbread cookie sandwich filled with nutella

These Argentinian alfajores are so good! Soft and delicate, filled with something sweet and comforting, such a joy to eat! I’ve discovered them about 4-5 years ago and I keep making it at least once every winter, my kids go nuts about them!

And for more Argentinian food, have a look at these Spicy Beef Empanadas.

What are alfajores?

Sandwiched cookies filled with dulce de leche (or other sweet fillings). They are one of the most popular South American desserts. Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay or Chile, they all have their own version of this wonderful cookie.

The origins of alfajores can be traced to Spain back to the 8th century when the Moors invaded the country. They were brought to Peru sometime during the 17th century and from there they spread all over South America. Nowadays, Argentina is the biggest consumer of alfajores in the world.

The etymology of the word is not Spanish (as I always thought), but Arabic. The name might derived from the word al-fakhor meaning luxurious or from the word al-hasu meaning filled. Both words would fit: these are luxuriously filled cookies.

alfajores cookies filled with nutella or dulce de leche

Kinds of alfajores

No matter in which country they are made, they basic cookie is the same: two shortbread cookies sandwiched together with something sweet.

The Argentinian alfajores:

Their main characteristic is that they are made with cornstarch or almost equal amounts of flour and cornstarch. The starch give them their melt-in-your-mouth consistency. They are traditionally filled with dulce de leche and rolled in coconut flakes. They can be also coated with powdered sugar or covered with chocolate.

The main characteristic of the Peruvian alfajores is that they are filled with manjar blanco, which is the Peruvian version of dulce de leche. Alfajores de miel (honey) are also popular here.

Other versions are filled with Nutella, dulce de camote (caramel made with sweet potatoes), fruit mixed with dulce de leche, pineapple jam or marmalade, and many other things.

You can also roll the cookies in roasted nuts or glazed sugar. You can also find alfajores completely rolled in dark or white chocolate, alfajores de nieves, which are rolled in an egg white and sugar mixture, or the so-called Chilean Oreo, which are a black and white version of the cookie.

You can also make triple alfajores by stacking 3 cookies instead of 2.

close up alfajores cookie with a glass of milk behind

What do you need?

  • A mixture of flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.
  • Unsalted butter
  • Sugar
  • Egg
  • Vanilla extract and a little rum (optional)

For the filling: either dulce de leche or Nutella. I used Nutella when I took the pictures because I was not able to find dulce de leche. And because my kids and husband adore anything with Nutella. Use dulce de leche exactly the same way.

Coating: unsweetened coconut flakes or hazelnut krokant. Again, I decided to use hazelnut krokant because it is a better fit for Nutella.

How to make Argentinian alfajores?

  • Mix together the flour, corn starch, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  • Cream the butter in another bowl. Add the sugar and the vanilla extract and beat well until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and rum, mix again. (1)
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine. (2)
collage of two fotos of making cookie dough in a blue bowl
  • Knead shortly with the hands, form a 4 cm/ 1.6 inches roll, wrap it in cling film/plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour. This way the fat in the dough will solidify, meaning that it will take longer to melt in the oven. The longer the fat takes to melt, the less the cookies will spread.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line one or two baking trays with baking paper.
  • Cut the pastry roll into 5 mm/0.2-inch slices, you should have about 40 slices.
cutting round piece from a roll of dough
  • Place the slices onto the prepared trays.
cut shortbread cookie rounds on a baking tray before baking
  • Bake for about 8 minutes, they should still be light in color. Let rest on the tray for about 5 minutes, transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

How to fill the cookies?

  • Spread about 1 teaspoon of dulce de leche (Nutella or another filling of choice) on half of the cookies. Place the other halves on top and press lightly.
  • Place the coconut flakes on a plate.
  • Roll the sides of the cookies in the coconut flakes, which should stick to the filling.
  • Alternatively, coat the Argentinian alfajores with hazelnut krokant or powdered sugar. Or dip the top of the whole cookie into melted chocolate.

Make ahead

  • The cookie dough can be made up to 3 days in advance.
  • The dough can also be frozen, well-wrapped in plastic foil/cling film, for up to 3 months.

How to store

Keep refrigerated, but serve at room temperature. You can store them in an airtight container for about 1 week.

You can also freeze the Argentinian cookies for up to 2 months.

filling cookies with nutella

More cookies from around the world:

Spitzbuben

Rock Cakes

Nut Biscotti with Chocolate

French Palmiers

Condensed Milk Cookies

filling cookies with nutella

Argentinian Alfajores Cookies Recipe

Yield: 20
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes

Delicate Argentinian alfajores cookies, two melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies sandwiched together with dulce de leche.

Ingredients

  • 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ 2/3 cup flour
  • 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ ¾ cup corn starch
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ 1/3 cup soft unsalted butter
  • 50 g/ 1.7 oz/ ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tablespoon rum
  • about 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ ¾ cup dulce de leche (Note 1)
  • about 50 g/ 1.7 oz/ ½ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut (Note 2)

Instructions

  1. Mix together the flour, corn starch, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  2. Cream the butter in another bowl. Add the sugar and the vanilla extract and beat well until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and rum, mix again.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine until the dough just comes together.
  4. Knead shortly with the hands, form a 4 cm/ 1.6 inches roll, wrap it in cling film/plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line one or two baking trays with baking paper.
  6. Cut the pastry roll into 5 mm/0.2-inch slices, you should have about 40 slices. Place the slices onto the prepared trays and bake for about 8 minutes, they should still be light in color. Let rest on the tray for about 5 minutes, transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  7. Spread about 1 teaspoon dulce de leche on half of the cookies. Place the other halves on top and press lightly.
  8. Place the coconut on a plate. Roll the sides of the cookies in the coconut, which should stick to the filling.
  9. Keep refrigerated, but serve at room temperature.

Notes

  1. Use as much as required to fill the cookies. Nutella can be used instead.
  2. If using Nutella for the filling, you might want to roll the cookies in hazelnut krokant.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 125Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 40mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g

Nutritional information is not always accurate.

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