ALFAJORES, A SOUTH AMERICAN GIFT

South America, specifically Argentenia, have given me many loves like chimichurri, malbec wine, Argentinian steak houses, and of course, these buttery shortbread cookies called Alfajores! Alfajores are a type of shortbread cookie frequently found throughout South America, most commonly Argentina. These cookies are unlike any shortbread cookie you may have had stateside, as these are prepared with cornstarch, cooked until lightly brown, and sandwiched together with dulce de leche. The cookie production doesn't stop at the filling as they can be found rolled in coconut flakes, or dipped in melted chocolate and dusted with powdered sugar, these alfajores are found in an assortment of finishing combinations and pair perfectly with a strong coffee.

ALFAJORES A DELICIOUS DULCE DE LECHE SANDWICHED COOKIE

recipe found on chowhound, click here to see original.

ALFAJORES

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temp

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon pisco or brandy

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup dulce de leche, at room temp

powdered sugar, for dusting

1/2 cup shredded coconut *optional

 

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch, measured flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine and set aside.

Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. mix on medium speed, stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle attachment using a rubber spatula. Continue to mix until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. add the egg yolks, pisco or brandy, and vanilla, mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixture and scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle. On low speed, gradually add the reserved flour mixture and mix until just incorporated with no visible white pockets, about 30 seconds.

Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, shape dough into a smooth disk, wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap. Place dough in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.

When dough is firm, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F, arrange a rack in the middle. Line two baking sheets parchment paper and set aside.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, remove plastic wrap. place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough roll to 1/4-inch thickness (the dough will crack but can be easily patched back together). Stamp out 24 rounds using a plain or fluted 2-inch round cutter. Re-roll the dough scraps and stamp out more rounds until all of the remaining dough is gone. 

Place the stamped dough on the prepared baking sheets, 12 per sheet, 1/2 inch apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time until the cookies are firm and pale golden on the bottom, about 12 - 14 minutes (the cookies will remain pale on top). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Turn half of the cookies over so that the flat side is up, now match cookies to those of a similar size. Gently spread 2 tablespoons of dulce de leche to the flat side of the cookie, place matched cookie's flat side towards the filling and gently sandwich the cookies together. *if choosing to roll the edges in coconut flakes, I recommend adding a little more filling and making sure the filling fills to the edges. When all cookies have been sandwiched you may roll the edges in coconut flakes* generously dust each cookie with powdered sugar before serving.


ALFAJORES A DELICIOUS DULCE DE LECHE SANDWICHED COOKIE

BUEN PROVECHO!


TINY CARDAMOM AND ORANGE ZEST COOKIES

TINY CARDAMOM AND ORANGE ZEST COOKIES

dainty, zesty, crisp tea dunking cookies

cardamom and orange zest cookies

about twice a month, I slip into the patient waiting room and track down my favorite food publications. I usually flip through, find the food articles, and write down recipes that i've found, look for them online, and screen capture the ones I want. That little recipe retrieval operation works really well -as it leaves the magazine intact for future patients to read- however, it didn't go that smoothly this time around. Instead of following my usual operation I took the magazine, reading every food article and questioning what recipe to try first and eventually deciding to keep the entire magazine, never returning it to its place in the patient lobby. One of the main reasons I went off path was over these tiny cardamom and orange zest cookies. This magazine was now mine; at least for the weekend!

Cardamom has been on my baking list all year, I made cardamom creme brulee, cardamom and pistachio crepes, cardamom rice pudding, and a few select Indian dishes that had what else, but cardamom. I love the spicy and astringent flavor of cardamom, just a small whiff from a distance is all you need. Unless you like to inhale ground cinnamon, then go right ahead, sniff away.

cardamom and orange zest cookies
cardamom and orange zest cookies
orange zest cardamom cookies

Not only are these cookies cute -as they are a mere tiny inch and a half- but you can eat handfuls and never feel that guilt like past attempts at restraining to eat just one ritz or being left alone with an entire box of Samoa's. These cookies are light in flavor and sturdy enough to take a dip in coffee or tea. Make a batch for your next sunday brunch session or be that nice person to bring in a plate of cookies to offset the lousy coffee offered at work, people will love you for it!


recipe found in Sunset Magazine, August 2015, tiny cardamom orange cookies

CARDAMOM AND ORANGE ZEST COOKIES

DIRECTIONS:

INGREDIENTS:

  1. preheat oven to 375. in a medium bowl, thoroughly blend sugar and orange zest, then blend in cardamom. add butter and beat with a mixer until light and fluffy. 
  2. beat egg and vanilla into sugar-butter mixture, until uniform. on low speed, mix in flour.
  3. line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. drop batter onto sheets using a level teaspoon measure. top each cookie with a pinch of preferred nuts or seeds. bake until crisp and brow at the edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. transfer cookies to a cooking rack and cool completely.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds or chopped salted and roasted pistachios (preferred)
 
orange zest cardamom cookies

BUEN PROVECHO!