Alfajores: Dulce de Leche Biscuits
Sticky, sweet and super simple to make! These are my favourite South American treats.
I have never been a big sweet tooth and always crave savoury foods, so I am not too much into the whole dessert scene. But, these biscuits are an exception and I find myself craving them all the time.
They are not only creamy and buttery but light and outstandingly moreish! They go well with tea and coffee but are also perfect just on their own.
The recipe I am using is a Peruvian-style recipe, but Alfajores recipes can be found in many South American countries, with each country and each person making slightly different varieties. The basic recipe consists of dulce de leche sandwiched between two short-bread-style cookies. This recipe adds a bit of salt to the dulce de leche so that they become almost salted caramel biscuits. Other recipes add coconut shavings or chocolate chips to the filling – it really differs region to region and person to person.
This recipe that I make is super easy and simple with only five ingredients! Also, we will be using condensed milk to make our dulce de leche, so there is no need to make the caramel from scratch, and you won’t have to stand over a pot stirring it for hours and hours.
So, let’s get straight into it!
Yield: 25-30 biscuits Time: 3 hours
For the Biscuits:
- 4 cups plain flour
- 8 tbsp icing sugar + extra to dust
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 400g cold unsalted butter, in small cubes
For the Dulce de Leche:
- 2 cans of condensed milk, label peeled off
- A few tsps of flake salt, for sprinkling (optional)
- We start first by making the dulce de leche for the filling. Take the two cans of condensed milk and place them (label removed) into a large pot of cold water. Make sure there is enough water in the pot to fully cover the cans of condensed milk.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer for 2 hours. Check from time to time, filling up the water when needed to that the cans are always fully submerged. This is very important to prevent the cans from exploding!
- After two hours, carefully remove the cans from the water and let cool for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 150*C and line two or three baking trays with baking paper.
- Into a large mixing bowl, sift your flour. Then sift in your sugar and salt.
- Add your cubed butter (cold) into your dry ingredients.
- Now, using a mixer, we are going to combine the ingredients. I use a kitchen aid mixer, but a hand mixer will do fine. Make sure to cover the bowl using a kitchen towel or the cover that comes with your mixture, because the dry ingredients will explode out a little bit.
- Mix until the mixture looks like fine bread crumbs. To test if it is ready, take a bit of the mixture into the palm of your hand, press it with your fingers and mould it. If it holds its shape, it is ready.
- When it is ready, place your dough onto a very clean surface, and we are going to use our hands. We don’t want to kneed it or over-work it, otherwise we are going to end up with tough biscuits. We just want to use our hands to gently mix and push the dough together so that it stays together.
- Once you have formed your dough ball, split it in half and gently use your hands to mould the dough and form two smaller dough balls. I repeat, we do not want to over-work the dough. You only want to work it until it fully holds its shape – for only a minute or so, no longer.
- You can wrap the dough in cling film and store in the fridge for later or you can begin immediately. Dust a clean surface and the dough with flour and begin to gently roll out your dough with a rolling pin.
- Roll it until it is around 3-4 mm in thickness. Then, using a round cutter, cut out your biscuits. This recipe yields around 50-60 individual biscuits, which will total to 25-30 sandwiched alfajores.
- Place your cut-out dough rounds onto the baking sheets on the baking trays. When they are all cut out and ready, put them in the oven for only 12-15 minutes. We want them to have a pale, golden colour and be firm in texture, not gooey.
- When they are done, remove them from the oven and transfer the biscuits from the tray to a wire cooling rack. We want them to cool completely before we start to fill them, otherwise they will melt the dulce de leche filling.
- While they cool, in a large bowl, spoon out your cooled dulce de leche filling from the cans of condensed milk. Use a spoon to stir it and smooth it out.
- Once your biscuits are cooled, turn them upside down, so their flat side is facing upwards.
- You can use a spoon or piping bag to fill them. However, the biscuits are very delicate and fragile, so I would personally recommend the piping bag. If you are using a piping bag, transfer your dulce de leche from the bowl into the piping bag.
- Gently and carefully, start to fill your biscuits. Pipe or spoon the dulce de leche onto the centre of half of your biscuits. Don’t fill them too much, otherwise the filling will spill over when you sandwich them. I would aim for about 1 1/2 tsps of filling. See the photo below for how I filled mine.
- Once the filling is piped/spooned onto half of your biscuits, sprinkle a little bit of flake salt on top of the filling, if you want a more salted caramel taste. This step is optional so feel free to skip it. You could also add some coconut shavings here too, if you want.
- Now, take the naked biscuits and one by one, gently sandwich them on top of their dulce de leche-d partners, gently pressing down to stick them to the filling.
- Once they are all sandwiched together, lightly dust them with some icing sugar.
- And there you go! They are ready to be devoured – melt-in-your mouth alfajores!