Sunday, May 20, 2012

Alfajores…….Ever Heard of Them?

Alfajores! Have you ever heard of them? Me either. 

I didn't even know how to say the word when I first heard of them. But now I have spent a day enveloped into this wonderful treat.  I first came across these treats through a well known gourmet cookware store. When you see them being sold for $40 a box, it makes me want to  take on a challenge. So of course, I will not be beaten…

Alfajores are a wonderful South American treat…..a type of shortbread sandwich cookie that are filled with Dulce de Leche (caramel filling).

As one may know, I am a HUGE fan of Dulce de Leche…so how could I resist another recipe allowing me to use it. While I have yet to conquer tempering chocolate to the level I would like I wasn't totally disappointed this time. There are so many variations of this wonderful treat ….so here is mine…..

Chocolate Dipped Alfajores 
3/4 C Unsalted Butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cup Sugar

2 Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla

1 Tsp Whiskey
3 C Unbleached Flour

½ Tsp Salt

2 Tsp Baking Powder

2/3 C Milk

1 C Dulce de Leche (cook 4 hrs for thick caramel for this recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Line pans with parchment paper and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar on medium until creamy about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add vanilla and whisky until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Add dry mixture to butter mixture mix well. Add milk and stir until combined.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Using a tablespoon or a small scoop, drop dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Transfer to oven and bake until golden, 13 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack until completely cool.

When cookies are cool, match them up into pairs of like-sizes (I cut cookies with a cutter to make uniform). Turn one cookie over and spread a dollop of dulce de leche onto the flat part of the cookie. Note: Dulce de Leche needs to be VERY thick. (if not thick, put in pan over med-low heat  and stir constantly until desired thickness is reached.) Place its partner on top and gently press so that the caramel comes to the edges.  Place on clean baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes.

Once chilled, dip each cookie in tempered chocolate and place on cooling rack to harden. Note: Only leave on rack until hard, cookies will stick if left on too long.  
 Classic Alfajores rolled in Coconut

How to Temper Chocolate
1 LB Chocolate (Bittersweet or Milk)
Double Boiler
Digital Thermometer

Place 2/3 of chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir with a rubber spatula until temp reaches recommended temperature for chocolate (115 degrees for Dark, 110 for Milk/White). When temperature is reached remove top of double boiler on a heat-proof surface. Immediately add remaining chocolate and stir until melted (this will bring down temperature). Cool chocolate to below 84 degrees. Once cooled, reheat chocolate over double boiler for 10 seconds and remove. Stir and repeat until temp reaches 89 for Dark (87 for milk/white).  Remove from heat and use immediately. 

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