Alfajores Christmas Cookies
Maura McEvoy
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When Nick Malgieri, former executive pastry chef at the World Trade Center’s Windows on the World, deems a cookie exceptional, you grab a rolling pin, stat. Malgieri’s recipe for the iconic South American sweet, which appeared in our December 2010 issue, calls for a hefty amount of cornstarch, resulting in incredibly delicate and tender wafers. Be sure to let the alfajores cool completely before sandwiching together. Check out our best cookies to bake for the holidays here.

Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookie Sandwiches) Argentine Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies)
These decadent Latin American sweets are filled with dulce de leche and sandwiched between two rounds of crisp butter cookie.
Yield: Makes 20

Ingredients

  • 1⅔ cups cornstarch
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cognac or brandy
  • ½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Dulce de leche, for filling cookies
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift together the cornstarch, flour, and baking powder; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the cognac and zest, and continue beating to incorporate. Add the yolks one at a time, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula after each addition to fully incorporate each yolk. Add the reserved dry ingredients, then mix on low speed, continuing to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed, until a soft dough forms.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly, then divide into 3 equal-size pieces. Working 1 piece at a time and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out cookies with a 2½-inch round cutter. Space the cookies 1 inch apart on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets. (Reroll scraps and repeat until all of the dough is used.) Bake, rotating halfway through, until pale golden, 12-15 minutes. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
  4. Flip half the cookies over; spread each with 1 heaping teaspoon dulce de leche. Top with the remaining cookies and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Stored in an airtight container, the cookies will keep for up to 4 days.

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