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Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookies)

Recipe Level: Easy Recipes

These Alfajores are a softer cookie than the traditional South American version, making them easier to handle and with a tender bite. They are filled with dulce de leche which is caramelized milk and sugar. It's a perfect combination of cookie and caramel in one! They make a beautiful addition to holiday platters and cookie exchanges.

Baked by Alie Romano

Professional Baker and Recipe Developer

* For best results, read the entire article. Every step matters, and I’ll provide helpful tips along the way!

Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookies)

Here’s something a little different to add to your holiday baking repertoire. Have you ever tried the South American cookies Alfajores, pronounced alfa-HORE-ez? They are similar to shortbread cookies that are sandwiched together with a caramel like filling called dulce de leche. Then, for fun they are rolled in shredded coconut to cover the caramel edges. I promise you won’t be able to have just one!!

I love adding this cookie to a holiday cookie exchange or bringing them over to friends as a little hostess gift. It seems that not many people are familiar with Alfajores and are always pleasantly surprised at just how delicious they are. I mean who doesn’t love caramel? Dulce de leche is made from milk that has been caramelized.  You can purchase it in cans already made or you can make your own.

Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookies)

How to make Dulce de Leche

If you want to make your own dulce de leche there are a few ways but the simplest way is to boil a can of sweetened condensed milk. Here’s how:

Submerge the entire can of condensed milk (label removed) in a pot of water, covering the can completely. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. Top up water as needed to make sure the can is covered at all times. For a light coloured caramel boil 2 hours and for a darker caramel boil 3 hours.  Let the can cool completely before opening.

You can also find dulce de leche at small kitchen shops, grocery stores and specialty markets. They vary in darkness and richness. I prefer a mid colour caramel but it’s just a preference.

These cookies are so fun to make, they take a little time but are worth every step along the way! You can make the dough up ahead of time, then bake and put the cookies together the next day too.

Can you freeze Alfajores?

Yes! Place cookies in an airtight container and place parchment or wax paper between layers. Freeze cookies for 1-2 months.

Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookies)
cut out 1 1/2 inch rounds with a cookie cutter
Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookies)
pipe or spoon dulce de leche on the back side of the cookies
Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookies)
gently sandwich cookies together
Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookies)
roll cookies in shredded coconut to cover dulce de leche
Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookies)
Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookies)
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Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookies)

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These Alfajores are a softer cookie than the traditional South American version, making them easier to handle and with a tender bite. They are filled with dulce de leche which is caramelized milk and sugar. It’s a perfect combination of cookie and caramel in one! They make a beautiful addition to holiday platters and cookie exchanges.

  • Author: Alie Romano
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 38 mins
  • Yield: 2 Dozen 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Argentinian

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (72 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (136 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (64 g) corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can Dulce de Leche
  • 1/4 cup coconut, for decorating

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla, beat until well incorporated.
  2. In a separate bowl add flour, corn starch, baking powder and salt together. Mix to combine.
  3. Next, add dry ingredients in two additions to the butter mixture, beating until incorporated and dough starts to form.
  4. Using your hands, separate dough into two portions. Form each portion into a ball, flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate dough for approx. 30 minutes until slightly firm.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  6. Once dough is ready (take one disc out at a time as you work) roll dough out on a prepared work surface approx. 1/4 – 1/8 inch thick (dust work surface with flour as needed).
  7. Using a 1.5 inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet (don’t overcrowd the cookies or they won’t bake evenly). Repeat with the other disc of dough, until all the dough is used up. Note, if your dough gets too soft place it back in the fridge to firm up, you can also do this before baking if the cookies are too soft.
  8. Bake in the oven for approx. 8 -10 minutes or just until the bottoms start to turn golden.
  9. Let cookies cool on a cooling rack.
  10. Once cookies have cooled pipe or spread out a generous amount of dulce de leche on the back side of a cookie. Sandwich a bare cookie on top and roll the cookie in coconut to cover the sides.
  11. Repeat with the rest of the cookies.

Notes

Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to a month.

Best enjoyed the next day once the caramel settles into the cookie.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 118
  • Sugar: 7.9g
  • Sodium: 90mg
  • Fat: 5.1g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 16.6g
  • Fiber: 0.2g
  • Protein: 1.4g
  • Cholesterol: 31mg

Did you make this recipe?

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Share a photo and tag me on Instagram @bakingforfriends_

I can’t wait to see what you’ve made! xo alie

FAQ’s

Can you freeze alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookies)?

Yes, alfajores freeze well! Place cookies in an airtight container and place parchment or wax paper between layers. Freeze cookies for 1-2 months.

What are alfajores?

Alfajores are South American cookies. It’s pronounced alfa-HORE-ez. They are similar to shortbread cookies that are sandwiched together with a caramel like filling called dulce de leche. They can also be rolled in shredded coconut to cover the caramel edges or left plain.

Are alfajores and Dulce de Leche Cookies the same thing?

Yes, alfajores and dulce de Leche Cookies are the same thing.

This blog post has been sponsored by Bulk Barn Canada where you can find all your baking needs! All opinions are my own and I’m so happy to work with brands I love so I can continue to share these recipes with all of you! I hope you guys get to a Bulk Barn soon and try out this recipe! 

You may also like:

Classic Empire Cookies for the Holiday. Filled with raspberry jam, toped with almond icing and a cherry on top!
Classic Empire Cookies

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Alie

I'm a professional baker, recipe developer & photographer behind Baking For Friends. I specialize in classic & comforting baking. I hope you enjoy the recipes & find inspiration of your own to bring your family & friends together over home-cooked food!

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