Double-Chocolate Alfajores with Dulce de Leche
Simplicity equals perfection in Argentina’s classic sandwich cookie.
All over Argentina, regional alfajores abound but no matter where you are, you’ll always find this ubiquitous version: dulce de leche and chocolate. Susana Guillarduci fine-tuned a simple chocolate alfajores recipe she saw on local television for the version her family now sells through their bakery, Alfajores Malfatti. The name means “poorly made” in Italian and is a nod to Guillarduci’s signature homemade aesthetic. The family’s take on their national cookie doesn’t stray from tradition in the least: What sets them apart is a reliance on the highest quality ingredients they can find.
Note that there are many styles of dulce de leche available; the type that is typically used in baking is called “repostero,” or confectioner, which should have a thick enough consistency to hold a stiff peak when piped. In the U.S., Nestle’s La Lechera brand works well and is widely available at Latin grocery stores.
For the cookies:
- 7 tbsp. softened unsalted butter
- ½ cups sugar
- 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
- ½ cups cornstarch
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. rum
- 1¾ cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
- ¼ cups cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
For filling and coating:
- 1½ cups dulce de leche
- 14 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (2¼ cups), melted and tempered*
- Make the cookies: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and orange zest on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch, egg, honey, and rum and mix on low speed until combined, using a silicone spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Into a large bowl, sift the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture about half a cup at a time and continue mixing until a dough forms. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and continue mixing until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and the dough is homogenous. Lightly flour a clean work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Divide into two pieces, form into 1-inch thick disks, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to 24 hours.
- When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven (with one of its racks positioned in the center) to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Retrieve the 2 pieces of dough from the fridge and unwrap. Lightly flour a clean work surface and, working with one disk at a time, roll it out to an even ¼-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter and rerolling the scraps as needed, punch out 24 cookies. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets spaced at least 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies one pan at a time, rotating the pan halfway through cooking, until crisp and lightly browned, 8–10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely to room temperature before filling.
- When ready to fill the cookies, return them to the baking sheet. Using a piping bag or a large spoon, top half of the cookies with about 2 tablespoons of dulce de leche. Invert the other half of the cookies onto their dulce de leche-topped mates (Chocolate-coated alfajores are always stuffed with the tops of the cookies facing inward towards the filling; this makes it easy to stack them once they’re fully cooled.) Gently squeeze the sandwiches together, then use a small silicone spatula to smooth any excess filling from the edges.
- Using a pair of tongs or a large chocolate fork, dip the alfajores into the tempered melted chocolate, turning to coat and allowing any excess to drip back into the bowl. Set the cookies aside on fresh parchment paper and until the chocolate has completely set. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container. Alfajores keep well for up to 1 week.
Tempering chocolate is the key to a glossy, snappy finish. Find out how to do it at home using our handy tutorial.