My first alfajor was a powdery-caramelly masterpiece with a layer of dulce de leche that I swear was an inch thick. That could just be how I remember it of course. But I was overwhelmed. Where had these been all my life? Happily it was’t long before a kind Peruvian lady clued me in to what they were and taught me how to pronounce them. Alfa-whuh?
Start by assembling your ingredients. Sift together your flours, salt and leavening. Note you can use up 1 1/2 cups of cornstarch or yuca flour out of a total 2 cups.
Cream the sugar and butter together.
Add egg yolk, egg, lemon zest and cogac.
Beat that together then add the flour and stir…
…until a dough starts to come together.
Remove the dough to a lightly floured board and push it together. Wrap that in plastic and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to firm it.
Divide the dough in half (it’s easier to work with only half at a time) and roll it into a rough ball.
Roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thick…thinner than you might think, but then there’s baking powder in the dough so you’ll get some expansion during baking.
Cut out your shapes, you can make them just about any size, from small to large. Here I’m using a roughly 2-inch cutter.
Lay them out on a sheet pan and let them rest for about 30 minutes to relax any gluten that may have developed during the rolling step. You don’t want them contracting into overly-thick little disks in the oven. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake them ten minutes until they’re heated through but not browned. The biscuit tops should be quite blonde in appearance. Some may be a little wobbly on the top…just use those for the bottoms! Allow these to cool completely before filling them since you don’t want any residual heat melting the dulce de leche.
Speaking of which, the best way to apply it, I think, is with a pastry bag. I like a nice thick layer of filling so I’m using just the collar. You can use any tip you like. Here I should add that if you really want to blow your audience away make a home-made dulce de leche with 50% goat’s milk. To thicken it, add a slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 1/2 tablespoons water once it’s reduced down to about three cups. Whisk it in quickly, let it boil thirty seconds and take it off the heat. If it isn’t the consistency of peanut butter when it cools, you can always re-heat it and add more cornstarch. Anyway…
…I pipe on a swirl…
…put on the top and squeeze gently…
…and do my best to resist popping it into my mouth right then and there. Have fun!