I have never eaten an alfajor before, so I was excited to give these a shot. The preparation of the dough was pretty straightforward except there were two things that initially threw me.
1. One cup of corn starch! I’ve never used a cookie that uses corn starch I don’t think, especially not a full cup. But I sifted that right in there, interested in what it would do to the cookies.
2. Rum. Although I saw on a blog that you could optionally use apple cider. Those things seem quite different to me. I didn’t have rum or regular old cider hanging around but I did have some apple ale. I was drinking some as I baked so I just tossed a couple of tablespoons in there. I have no idea if that hurt anything or not, but I couldn’t taste it in either the dough or the finished cookie.
I took the dough out after chilling and rolled it out between two sheets of unfloured parchment paper. That didn’t work too well since the dough was a bit sticky. A bit of flour fixed that right up and they rolled out perfectly.
I was a little worried that I was rolling them too thin, but it seemed that I was getting the proper amount of cookies so I just went with it. Re-rolling the scraps was easy and the dough didn’t seem to be negatively affected by it. (i.e: changing texture)
I had never made dulce de leche before and definitely wanted to give it a shot. I ended up microwaving it instead of using the oven or stovetop method mostly because I recently got a new microwave. It was easy and at the end of the suggested cook time the filling seemed to be the right texture although the color was not a deep amber but more of a light golden brown.
I’m torn as to what to do next time. I may buy a can just to compare taste and texture but I may also try the oven method. I normally value making everything from scratch but dumping some sweetened condensed milk into a bowl and putting it in the microwave is not exactly upping my baking game.
I had planned on filling them the same night I baked them but I got interrupted when baby G woke up needing me. I covered the cookies and tossed the dulce de leche in the fridge.
Honestly, I was a bit disappointed when I went to bed. I tasted the warm cookies and they seemed ok–a hint of lemon from the added zest but I was convinced they were going to harden up overnight and become brittle and crispy.
I do not like crispy cookies.
When I got up this morning I warmed the filling for a couple of minutes to bring it back up to room temp and started filling the cookies. The dulce de leche was a great consistency: slightly sticky but easy to spread and it went exactly where I wanted it to when I pressed the cookies together.
For some reason I had expected it to be somewhat drippy or hard to manage but it wasn’t at all. The only problem I had was that I filled them with wild abandon on the first half of the cookies then realized I wasn’t going to have enough for all of them and had to greatly reduce the amount of filling I put in the rest of the cookies.
I sprinkled a bit of sea salt over the top of the caramel before putting the top half of the cookie on. There was a bit of salt added to the sweetened condensed milk to make the dulce de leche but I love a small burst of salt mixed with creamy sweet caramel.
It was quick to fill them all and I topped them with a dusting of sifted confectioners’ sugar. They were really pretty cookies: not super fancy since I used a plain round cookie cutter but still very tempting on the plate.
I was completely blown away when I tasted them. First you taste the candy sweetness of the powdered sugar followed by the faint lovely lemon flavor of the cookie and then the slightly salty creamy- sweet caramel. The cookie is amazingly not crunchy or crumbly at all!! It is perfectly soft and delicate but it holds up to the dulce de leche perfectly.
I am trying hard not to eat all of the 32 cookies I made but these are the most surprisingly addictive cookies I’ve made!
Next up: cornmeal griddle cakes! Go over and see what everyone else made today!!