Traditional Alfajores - Caramel Sandwich Cookies

Traditional Alfajores - Caramel Sandwich Cookies

The Spruce / Abby Mercer

Prep: 40 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
533 Calories
26g Fat
60g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 533
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 34%
Saturated Fat 16g 81%
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Sodium 217mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 60g 22%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 2g
Calcium 50mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Alfajores come in many sizes and flavors. Each region of South America has its own version. We like alfajores best when they are freshly made so that the crisp cookies contrast the soft filling, but many people prefer to wait a couple of days for the cookies to soften so that the cookie and the filling have the same texture.

This traditional recipe calls for a touch of Pisco, a South American brandy, in the cookie dough. It's optional but adds a nice flavor. You can substitute any brandy for the Pisco.

For an extra special cookie, make your own dulce de leche.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups cornstarch
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Pisco (or Brandy)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup dulce de leche
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked dried coconut

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Traditional Alfajores - Caramel Sandwich Cookies ingredients

    The Spruce / Abby Mercer

  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place the cornstarch, flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix briefly.

    Place the cornstarch, flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl

    The Spruce / Abby Mercer

  3. Add butter to the flour mixture, blending with your fingers until the mixture is smooth.

    butter and flour mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce / Abby Mercer

  4. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and Pisco, and mix with your hands until the dough is homogeneous and smooth (add another tablespoon or two of Pisco if the dough is too crumbly to form a ball). Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

    dough ball in a bowl

    The Spruce / Abby Mercer

  5. Roll out dough to 3/8" thickness, and cut into 2-inch circles.

    rolled out dough, cookie cutter

    The Spruce / Abby Mercer

  6. Place cookies on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

    cookies on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Abby Mercer

  7. Bake cookies for 10 to 15 minutes, until they are barely golden brown. Let cookies cool 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely.

    cookies on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Abby Mercer

  8. To fill the cookies, spread one cookie with dulce de leche.

    cookies spread with filling on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Abby Mercer

  9. Top with a second cookie to make a sandwich and then roll the edges in the coconut.

    Traditional Alfajores - Caramel Sandwich Cookies

    The Spruce / Abby Mercer

Recipe Variation

  • To make chocolate-dipped alfajores, heat 8 ounces chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon shortening and 1 teaspoon corn syrup in the microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring after each 30 seconds, until the chocolate is melted. Dip half of the cookie (sandwiched with its filling) into the chocolate. Lift the cookie out and scrape along the edge of the bowl to remove the excess chocolate. Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and let cool. When the chocolate has mostly set, roll the edges in the toasted coconut.