Alfajores are a common treat through much of South America, and the citizens of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile all claim them as their own. It is an easy cookie to make, and you can enlist the help of the younger cooks in the house during the final assembly. These classic South American sandwich cookies contain a delicious caramel-like filling.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, unsalted and softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Cookies: Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into bowl and set aside.
In stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together for several minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add in egg and egg yolk and mix until combined.
Add in vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add sifted flour mixture and mix just until dough starts to come together. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten into a disk, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for 1 hour until firm.
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Using 2-inch fluted cutter, cut out cookies and carefully transfer to sheets, spacing cookies about 1 inch apart.
Chill sheets for about 15 to 20 minutes, until dough is very firm.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until tops of cookies are just firm and bottoms are beginning to color.
Cool sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes before transferring cookies with metal spatula onto wire racks to finish cooling.
To assemble, sandwich two cookies with a teaspoon of the caramel filling. Sift powdered sugar over the assembled sandwiches.
Filling: Pour sweetened condensed milk into metal bowl over pot of simmering water. Cook over low heat until milk becomes thick and dark golden. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. It may take a few hours for the condensed milk to cook, but resist turning up heat too high or milk could burn.*
Let caramel filling cool and thicken before assembling the alfajores.