Schenk makes the cookies by hand, using an old family recipe that he adapted slightly. The ingredients list is short—just flour, butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk (Schenk prefers a Brazilian brand of the last, which he says is richer and creamier than American varieties)—but the dough is difficult to work with and the process is time-consuming. Still, he refuses to employ shortcuts like jarred dulce de leche and automated machinery because he feels they don't yield the best, most consistent product. Last year he added a chocolate-covered version of the cookies. When he told us that people "swoon" over both, we weren't surprised. Schenk suggests sprinkling the plain alfajores with powdered sugar before serving These delightful cookies are available at Gump's San Francisco (800⁄766-7628).