These cookies are called Alfajores and are popular in Argentina, as part of the Argentina culture where people enjoy gathering at bars and eating treats, such as these cookies which are served mostly in the afternoon with some coffee.
These short bread cookies are so light with an incredible soft buttery texture. So good! And, when you add the luscious sweet caramel filling to it, its unbelievable! The cookie melts in your mouth instantly! It's one cookie you have to try - to believe it!
We make these cookies every year now around the holidays. It's the "new" addition to our cookie list when baking for the holidays, and we hope it will be one for you as well!
Butter Cookies Filled with "Dulce de Leche" Creme
DULCE DE LECHE:
- 4 cups (1 quart) (1 liter) whole milk
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
- 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) confections (powdered or icing) sugar
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
Directions for Dulce de Leche: Put the milk, sugar, corn syrup, baking soda and salt in a heavy-duty 8 quart (8 liter) saucepan or Dutch oven. Place over medium-high heat and bring just to a boil. Watch carefully, and as soon as the milk begins to foam up, stir with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, reduce heat until the milk is just at a low rolling boil. Continue to cook the mil, stirring the bottom and sides of the saucepan frequently, until the mixture becomes very thick and sticky and caramel colored (this will take about 40-60 minutes.) It is important to frequently stir the milk so it does NOT burn.
NOTE: There are several stages the milk goes through during the cooking process. When the milk first comes to a boil, there is a lot of foam. Eventually the foam subsides and after about 15 minutes, the milk turns a light beige color. As it continues to cook, the milk thickens and gets darker in color. Once the Dulce de Leche has been reduced to about 1 1/4 cups (300ml) remove from heat and strain. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool before covering and storing. The Dulce de Leche can be stored in the fridge for up to a month.
Directions for Shortbreads: In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer,) beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (117 degrees C) with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch (.6 cm) thick. Using a lightly floured 2 inch (5 cm) round cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Place on the baking sheets and place in the fridge for about 15 minutes. (This will firm the cookies so they maintain their shape when baked.) Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until cookies are brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack. Shortbread cookies will keep in an airtight container for about a week.
Take two shortbread cookies and sandwich them together with a heaping teaspoon of Dulce de Leche. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar on top. Can be covered and stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Also, try a few different fillings as well. Try filling some short bread cookies with Nutella or with melted dark chocolate, called chocolate Alfajores!
Just open a jar of Nutella and gently spoon a thin layer of Nutella onto one side of cookie and close with another cookie.
Yields: about 24 cookies.