Orange Marmalade and Almond Alfajores
A nutty, citrus-filled riff on the iconic South American sandwich cookie.
While most Argentine bakers focus on perfecting one or two types of alfajores, Sylvie Chedeville churns out a whooping thirty-four and counting, cementing the French-born, Buenos Aires-raised pastry chef as the local cookie Queen. Fruit marmalades are among her most popular fillings—typical flavors include strawberry, quince, raspberry, and lemon—and Chedeville also likes to add chopped almonds for a surprising extra layer of crunch. Even the most die-hard dulce de leche traditionalists can’t resist.
Look for a very thick and pectin-y marmalade (we found Bon Maman brand to have the ideal texture), or otherwise reduce the jam down in a medium pot over medium heat until the liquid is thickened and very glossy. Cool completely before using. While all components may be prepared ahead of time, be ready to coat the alfajores with chocolate immediately after filling with marmalade as the jam will further soften the delicate cookies.
For the cookies:
- ½ cups sugar
- 7 oz. softened unsalted butter
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1½ cups plus 2 Tbsp. pastry flour, plus more for dusting
- ½ cups cornstarch
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
For filling and coating:
- 1½ cups orange marmalade
- ¾ cups (2½ oz) finely chopped almonds
- 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 honey on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and 2 tablespoons of cool water 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 flour, cornstarch, 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 just until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Lightly flour a clean work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Knead gently just until a smooth dough comes together, 1–2 minutes. 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 400° 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. In a medium bowl, fold the almonds into the marmalade. Add 2 generous tablespoons of filling half of the cookies. Invert the other half of the cookies onto their marmalade-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.) Use a small offset spatula or butter knife to remove any excess filling from the borders.
- Using a pair of tongs or a large chocolate fork, dip the stuffed cookies 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.