Alfajores are smooth and crumbly sandwich cookies that have a sweet filling and a coating of chocolate, icing or powdered sugar. Although the most common filling is dulce de leche, Alfajores come in many variations such as fruits or chocolate mousse.
Alfajores are the most popular cookies in Argentina and are eaten at any time of the day – for breakfast with coffee or tea, as a sweet snack between meals or for dessert after dinner.
Where Does The Name “Alfajor” Come From?
Alfajores made their way to Argentina through the Spanish colonialization. Before they had been introduced to Spain by the Arabs during their conquest of Andalusia.
However, the traditional Argentinian sandwich cookies as we know them today have nothing in common with their hispano-arabic counterparts as they changed completely because of the lack of ingredients and habits in South America. Only the name was meant to stay the same.
Due to the origin of the Alfajor and the different cultural influences, there are several possible derivations of its name. The closest in describing the cookie may be the hispano-arabic “al-hasú” meaning “the filled one”. However there are others such as the Arabic “alfahua” which means honeycomb or the Castilian “alajú” which comes from the Arabic word “al- fakhur”.
Where To Get Your Dose Of Alfajores
In Argentina, you can basically find homemade Alfajores on every street corner. Apart from this, brands such as Havanna also sell very popular ready-made cookies in many variations. The pastry company sells them in their chain of cafés as well as in any supermarket or kiosk.
You may either order a pack of Havanna Alfajores online or simply try to make them yourselves with our delicous recipe:
Alfajores de Maicena with Dulce de Leche
- 400 grams flour
- 100 grams corn starch
- 2 tea spoons baking powder
- 300 grams white sugar
- 200 grams soft butter
- 3 eggs (medium-sized)
- 2 egg yokes (medium-sized eggs)
- 2 tea spoons vanilla essence
- 300 grams Dulce de Leche (viscous)
- 400 grams dark chocolate coating
- 100 grams coconut flakes
- Mix flour, corn starch and baking powder in a bowl.
- Blend the eggs and egg yokes with the egg whisk of the kitchen machine until foamy.
- Then, slowly stir the vanilla essence into the eggs.
- Add the flour mix slowly until it creates a smooth dough.
- Form a sphere out of the dough, wrap it in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 30 mins. Cover a baking tray with baking paper and pre-heat the the oven to 180°C.
- Besprinkle the work board with flour and roll out the dough evenly (thickness of 4-5 cm).
- Cut out cookies with a diameter of approx. 5 cm, put them on the baking tray and let them bake for 10 mins until they are only slightly browned.
- When the cookies are cool, choose two similar ones, place a tea spoon of dulce de leche on one of them and place the other one on top of it.
- Press the cookies together slightly so that the dulce de leche almost reaches the edge (the filling should be 2-3 cm thick).
- In case the dulce de leche is very runny, you can put it into the freezer for a short time to make it more viscous.
- Alfajores are decorated in different ways depending on the region in Argentina. Either heat up the dark chocolate and cover the entire cookie with it (you may dip one side into coconut flakes as long as it has not cooled down completely). Or brush some liquid dulce de leche on the edge around the alfajores and roll them through a plate with coconut flakes to make them stick onto the cookie.
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Alfajores de Maicena by Rebecca T. Caro, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
Havanna Alfajores by David, licensed under CC BY 2.0