Caramel/ Cookies/ Dessert

Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies)

May 21, 2015

Classic alfajores filled with dulce de leche and rolled in shredded coconut. They are so soft they’ll melt in your mouth!

Classic alfajores filled with dulce de leche and rolled in shredded coconut | prettysimplesweet.com

As far as I know, there are two ways of making alfajores: the Argentinean style and the American style. While the latter is usually made of a simple shortbread cookie, the classic Argentinean cookies are so much better in texture, and are the most melt-in-your-mouth cookies on this planet. Ok, that may be an exaggeration, but let me have my moment.

Classic alfajores filled with dulce de leche and rolled in shredded coconut | prettysimplesweet.com

Alfajores are filled with dulce de leche (which is rather caramel-like) and rolled in coconut. Not only is this combination heavenly, but the cookie itself is extremely soft and tender.

The coconut really adds a great flavor and cuts some of the sweetness, so I strongly suggest adding it. Also, don’t bother to make your own dulce de leche at home. Store-bought is just as delicious for these cookies.

Classic alfajores filled with dulce de leche and rolled in shredded coconut | prettysimplesweet.com

What makes the superb texture that I simply can’t get over is the cornstarch. There’s quite a bit of cornstarch in this recipe, but you don’t end up with a strange aftertaste like in some others. Using egg yolks instead of whole eggs also contribute to that tenderness.

When making the dough, if it feels dry (maybe due to inaccuracy of cup measurement), then add cold water or milk, just a little at a time. Also, mix the dough just until the ingredients are combined. If mixing for a long time, the cookies can turn out tough. Overall, play with the dough as little as possible.

Let’s talk about the chilling time for these cookies. I know you want to take some shortcuts here, I get you. You just want your cookie and you want it now. Totally been there. But for cookies that hold their shape well and don’t spread out while baking, the dough has to be chilled long enough. The first chilling is once the dough has been made. It’ll be too soft for rolling, so you’ll need to chill it for 1-2 hours, until firm. The second chilling is before baking the cookies. Just place the sheet of cookies in the fridge or freezer until they’re firm, at least 15 minutes.

Classic alfajores filled with dulce de leche and rolled in shredded coconut | prettysimplesweet.com

4.7 from 10 votes
Classic alfajores filled with dulce de leche and rolled in shredded coconut | prettysimplesweet.com
Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies)
YIELD: 3 dozen 2-inch cookie sandwiches
 
Classic alfajores filled with dulce de leche and rolled in shredded coconut. They are so soft they’ll melt in your mouth!

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/8 cups (300g) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 3/4 sticks (200g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar or 1 1/4 cups (150g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest , optional
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 350 g (12 oz.) dulce de leche, for filling
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded or desiccated coconut , for rolling
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract just until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture and beat just until combined. Do not overmix or the cookies will turn out tough.
  3. Form the dough into a ball, then flatten slightly to form a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until firm enough to roll.
  4. If you don’t want to use the dough right away, you can refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to a month, then thaw it overnight in the fridge.
  5. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly for easy rolling. On a lightly floured surface (or between 2 pieces of parchment paper), roll the dough to a 1/8 or 1/4-inch (3-5mm) thickness. Cut out into rounds using a 2-inch (5cm) fluted or round cookie cutter, and place the cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  6. If at any point the dough becomes too warm, place it back into the fridge for a few minutes. Re-roll the remaining scraps and repeat. Place sheets with cookies in the freezer or fridge for at least 15 minutes, until firm, so that they will be less prone to spreading.
  7. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until cookies appear golden brown at the edges. Allow cookies to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Spread the bottom half of the cookies with dulce de leche (about a teaspoon). Sandwich together with remaining cookies, pressing slightly so that the caramel oozes out the sides. Roll the sides in shredded coconut.
  9. Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, leave on the counter, still covered, or overnight in the fridge.

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43 Comments

  • Reply
    Heather
    May 23, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    I cant wait to try these out! Ive been looking for a recipe for alfajores to make for my Colombian husband 🙂 Ive found a few recipies but i like how you give details on how to complete each step to make it fool proof! Great site.

    • Reply
      Shiran
      May 25, 2015 at 3:30 am

      Thank you so much Heather! Definitely try these cookies! Even if they don’t turn out perfect for the first time, they would taste amazing for sure 🙂

    • Reply
      Ysa
      May 7, 2019 at 2:55 pm

      Y the coconut? I’m Peruvian and we always top them with powder sugar? I’ve never heard of using coconut

      • Reply
        Crista
        September 29, 2019 at 7:25 am

        YSA, Alfajores aren’t eaten only in Peru so other places do them different. Alfajores are originally a Middle Eastern treat brought over by the Spaniards. South American’s adapted the recipe to create a more sweeter treat.

  • Reply
    Cheska
    May 23, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    These look delicious! How do you think they’d hold when molded into a kiss shape? I’m trying to recreate the dulce de leche kisses from Porto’s bakery, and I feel like yours is one worth trying 😀

    • Reply
      Shiran
      May 25, 2015 at 3:28 am

      Hi Cheska! The dulce de leche kisses look beautiful! However, I’m not sure if the dough will work for those cookies. Maybe Google ‘filled cookies’ to come up with some ideas!

  • Reply
    nicole (thespicetrain.com)
    June 2, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Oh my goodness, they look absolutely divine! Beautiful photography, too, gorgeous light and styling.

  • Reply
    Izola
    August 9, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. Made these cookies today and they were just great! Can’t get over how tender they were.

    • Reply
      Shiran
      August 10, 2016 at 8:12 am

      Thank you, Izola!

  • Reply
    Taylor
    May 9, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    I just made the dough but I wasn’t sure how dry / wet the dough should be? Initially it was a bit sandy but I added a little water (didn’t want to add too much)… do you know what the consistency of dough should be like? It still seemed a little dry.

    • Reply
      Shiran
      May 14, 2017 at 5:22 am

      Alfajores dough is quite soft. As with any other dough, if it’s crumbly add a bit of water, or if too wet, a bit of flour, until it comes together. It’s also important to chill the dough, otherwise it would be too soft to work with.

  • Reply
    Libby Folet
    November 26, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Your recipe is as close to my ex sister in law.
    Such delicious biscuits..
    After my experience purchasing a couple from a local patisserie today I knew I had to come home and bake!! I’m pretty excited to taste the final product!!!

  • Reply
    Iva
    December 14, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Best recipe for alfajores dough ive ever had….super easy to handle. Thank u so much!!!! Ive teied many recioes and this is the best!

  • Reply
    Iva
    December 14, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Great recipe! My coworkers are going nuts over them right now!!!!

    • Reply
      Shiran
      December 15, 2017 at 6:52 am

      I’m so glad!! Thank you so much Iva!

  • Reply
    Daniell
    April 13, 2018 at 10:59 am

    We’ve tried many recipes for alfajores over the years but my mom agreed that hands-down, this recipe has been the best so far. The cookies come out with just the right amount of crumble and are absolutely delicious. Love how the lemon and coconut play off each other, gives the sandwiches a bright twist!

  • Reply
    Lily
    May 17, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    How much is 1 and 3/4 stick of butter in cups?

    • Reply
      Shiran
      May 18, 2018 at 3:11 pm

      That’s 14 tablespoons (or 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons).

  • Reply
    Miri
    July 3, 2018 at 5:56 am

    The most tender cookies I’ve ever had. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Heather K Le
    November 28, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    I just made these and it was amaaaazzzinnnnggg! All my friends want me to make more 🙂 Quick question though, I have a gluten intolerant friends, what gluten-free flour can I substitute the AP flour for? I really don’t want to mess with the texture of the cookies too much 🙁

    • Reply
      Shiran
      November 29, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      Sorry Heather but I have no experience baking with gluten-free flour.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    December 20, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Can this dough be made ahead of time and put in the freezer or fridge for a couple of days?

    • Reply
      Shiran
      December 21, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      Yes it can!

  • Reply
    Sombody
    February 19, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Can I sub butter with olive oil?

    • Reply
      Shiran
      February 20, 2019 at 7:19 am

      This recipe won’t work with olive oil.

  • Reply
    Constanza
    March 10, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    Hi! I put the dough in the fridge for several hours and it’s so hard that I can’t roll it. Also it falls apart in little pieces:(

    • Reply
      Shiran
      March 12, 2019 at 5:24 am

      I mention in the recipe that if the dough is hard to roll just let it sit on the counter for several minutes to soften.

  • Reply
    Chalani
    April 28, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    What is the difference between using icing sugar and granulated sugar?

  • Reply
    Sam
    May 2, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Hi Shiran! Do you prefer using granulated or powdered sugar in the dough? Also, I’ve seen recipes that use tapioca starch in the dough to avoid the aftertaste associated with cornstarch. Is the cornstarch detectable in this cookie?

    • Reply
      Shiran
      August 18, 2019 at 7:02 am

      Hi Sam, I prefer powdered sugar because it gives a more melt-in-your-mouth texture. I think that with the coconut and caramel flavors, you won’t be able to taste to cornstarch that much, so for me that’s ok.

  • Reply
    matt
    May 9, 2019 at 9:28 am

    really good

  • Reply
    Caroline
    May 21, 2019 at 10:57 am

    how many cookies does this make?

  • Reply
    Kat
    June 3, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Delicious cookies! I couldn’t find dolce de leche so I found a recipe that boiled sweetened condensed milk in the can…..it was amazing how well it worked. My son picked these for a video for his Spanish class. I followed the directions as written and I didn’t have any problems. Thanks for such a detailed recipe. I’m sure I’ll make them often!

  • Reply
    Stephen Moss
    July 30, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    I found dulce de leche in the ethnic food aisle

  • Reply
    Emie
    August 17, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    The powdered sugar is for sprinkling on top or for the dough?

    • Reply
      Shiran
      August 18, 2019 at 7:05 am

      Hi Emie, the sugar is not for sprinkling. You can use either granulated sugar or powdered sugar for the cookie dough.

  • Reply
    PVT
    October 2, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Pls can u gv me an egg substitute especially for this delicious recipe ?

    • Reply
      Ericka Alecio
      November 12, 2019 at 2:55 pm

      Banana

  • Reply
    Ericka Alecio
    November 12, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    PVT I use banana as eggs substitutes

  • Reply
    riya
    November 20, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    hi do you have to use/put lemon in?

    • Reply
      Shiran
      November 24, 2019 at 3:06 am

      No, it’s optional.

  • Reply
    Jae Astin
    November 22, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    I made these for a group project on Peru for a Business Culture class and came home with very few left over! A handful of my classmates asked for the recipe for it, having loved it so much! Definitely going to make again! I did however mix a little bit of buttercream in the dulce de leche (just so I had a little bit of an easier time piping it on the cookie cause I was afraid to accidentally crush the cookies). My family swiftly devoured the remaining ones shortly after. Definitely a new Christmas cookie at least!

  • Reply
    Anna
    December 4, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Delicious and great texture. Excluded the lemon, but otherwise followed the recipe as directed using granulated sugar. My dough was extremely crumbly and dry – added water by a little at a time… probably added 1/2 – 3/4 cup. It was that dry! Eventually got it to a consistency where it could be rolled. Had to add additional water to the dough when rolling it additional times since it absorbed the dusting flour. Make it! You won’t be disappointed!

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