Alfajores {Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies}

December 8, 2019

Alfajores are tender sandwich cookie filled with a layer of dulce de leche and commonly rolled in coconut. They are a popular cookie found in many Latin American countries and when packaged you can often find them dipped in chocolate. They have long been one of my families favorite cookies!

Alfajores cookies in a long wooden box.

My Favorite Alfajores Recipe

I first discovered these gourmet cookies thanks to my Husband. He lived in Argentina for a few years and they were one of his favorite treats there so of course I had to learn how to make them.

I can’t understand why these delicious dulce de leche filled, shortbread-like cookies aren’t super popular here in the United States. These cookies melt in your mouth!

Surprisingly enough I like these cookies best the second day. Just after adding the dulce de leche to cookies are still nice and crisp but after resting the moisture of the dulce de leche soaks into the cookies and makes them deliciously tender. Which would you prefer crisp or soft and tender?

How do You Pronounce Alfajores?

Some people refer to them as Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies but shouldn’t we give them their proper name? Besides it’s so much more fun to say, alpha-HORE-ays vs. the other long name given.

Close up image of stack of dulce de leche filled alfajores sandwich cookies

Photography credit: Jenn Davis of Two Cups Flour.

What Ingredients are Needed for Alfajores?

  • Cornstarch – this makes the cookies have a melt-in-your mouth delicate texture.
  • All-purpose flour – this builds up the structure of the cookies. Use the spoon and level method to measure in this recipe.
  • Baking powder – standard to cookies, we add this to give them a little lift.
  • Salt – don’t skip this as it keeps the cookies from tasting bland.
  • Butter – only use real butter. No margarine, shortening, coconut oil etc.
  • Granulated sugar – we don’t use a lot of sugar in cookie dough since the dulce de leche added is already so sweet.
  • Egg yolks – these help bind the dough together.
  • Vanilla – what would cookies be without it?
  • Dulce de leche – wondering what this ingredient is? It’s basically Latin caramel though it has a thicker texture than traditional caramel and a slightly deeper more milky flavor.
  • Shredded coconut – I like to use fine shredded coconut though the standard will work (just not flakes). You can blitz it in a food processor quickly to cut into smaller pieces.

How to Make Homemade Dulce de Leche?

I usually just buy canned dulce de leche (it actually tastes perfectly delicious) but if you have a hard time finding it you can make it with just one ingredient! See the recipe HERE.

Cutting alfajores cookies into rounds and placing on a baking sheet.

How do You Make Alfajores?

  • Whisk dry ingredients.
  • Cream butter and sugar.
  • Mix in egg yolks and extract.
  • Blend in dry ingredients.
  • Chill dough 30 – 60 minutes.
  • Roll dough out and cut into rounds. Bake until set in preheated oven.
  • Let cool then spread with dulce de leche and sandwich with a second cookie.
  • Roll cookies edges in coconut.

Filling alfajores cookies with dulce de leche.

How to Store Alfajores Dulce de Leche Cookies:

I like to store these in the fridge for longer shelf life, they should keep well in there for about 6 days. You can eat them cold or bring to room temperature before serving.

Variations:

  • Sometimes I like to add a little coconut extract to the cookie batter for extra coconut flavor (add with vanilla).
  • They’re also delicious with a little lemon zest added to the batter (add with sugar).
  • It’s fun to spread dulce de leche around the edges of the cookies and roll in other various toppings. Try things like sprinkles, nuts, shaved chocolate or toasted coconut.

Alfajores Cookies in a box set on a cloth with dulce de leche in the background.

More Delicious Cookie Recipes to Try!

Alfajores

Alfajores are tender sandwich cookie filled with a layer of dulce de leche and commonly rolled in coconut. The are popular cookie found in many Latin American countries and when packaged you can often find them dipped in chocolate. These are one of my families favorites!

Servings: 18
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/8 cups (162g) cornstarch*
  • 1 cup (128g) all-purpose flour*
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp (141g) butter , softened
  • 2/3 cup (134g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Dulce de Leche, canned or homemade
  • Finely shredded coconut (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt, set aside. 

  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. 

  3. Blend in egg yolks one at a time. Mix in vanilla extract. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined and dough starts to come together**. 

  4. Shape dough into a ball, cover ball with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour until dough is easy enough to work with.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll half the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to about 3/16-inch thickness. 

  6. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut dough into circles then using a thin metal spatula or tall knife (such as a Santoku knife), slide along the bottom of the cutout cookie and transfer cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

  7. Bake in preheated oven for 10 - 11 minutes. Allow cookies to cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet then transfer to a wire rack.  

  8. Cool cookies completely then spread a layer of Dulce de Leche over the bottom side of one cookie, then sandwich to the bottom side of another cookie.
  9. Roll in fine coconut if desired. Store cookies in an airtight container (I like to store them in the fridge).

Recipe Notes

For a light lemony flavor, you can also add 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest along with the butter and sugar mixture.

*Spoon and level flour to measure and spoon and level or pour and level cornstarch to measure. For most accurate results just measure in grams.

**Dough will seem dry and crumbly at first but keep mixing and it should come together well. If not you can mix in a teaspoon or two of milk to bind.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Argentine
Keyword: Alfajores
Author: Jaclyn

Recipe originally published December 20, 2012. Photos and text updated December 8, 2019.