Alfajores

Alfajores have their origin in the traditional Arabic confection “alajú” found in some Spanish regions and found their way to whole South America in colonial times. Back then some ingredients weren’t available or too expensive, so adaptations to the original recipe were necessary; and by now nearly each Latin American country has its own way of preparing them. In Peru Alfajores consist of two layers of fine and crumbly cookies made of flour and / or cornstarch, butter and powdered sugar filled with Manjar Blanco, a sweat, caramel-like, sticky reduction of milk and sugar.

Alfajores are a delicious little sweet for in between, perfect on the coffee table, great as special treat on a buffet or a good way to end a Peruvian dinner. And the good thing, they are quite quickly and easily prepared.

Ingredients for Peruvian Alfajores.

  • 150 g all-purpose flour
  • 150 g cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 g powdered sugar
  • 200 g butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 small egg
  • 220 g – 240 g Manjar Blanco
  • Powdered sugar for decoration

Preparation of Peruvian Alfajores.

In a bowl sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and powdered sugar together. Cut butter in small cubes and add to the dry ingredients. With an electric mixer incorporate the butter. Then add the egg and stir in. Flour your hands and knead to a well-combined and shiny dough. Next roll it out to about 3 mm thick. Best use baking paper or cling film on the bottom and top to avoid sticking. Refrigerate the rolled out dough with the baking paper for at least 30 minutes.Remove the top sheet of baking paper from the dough. With a floured round cookie cutter cut out cookies. Cover a baking tray with baking paper and carefully place the cookies onto it. Pierce twice with a fork. Then bake for 8 – 10 minutes at 170°C. The cookies should stay white and not brown. Allow to cool.

To assemble the Alfajores spread one cookie with a generous teaspoon of Manjar Blanco and then sandwich-like place a second on top. To avoid having the sticky Manjar Blanco everywhere, but on the cookies, you can fill the Manjar Blanco in a forcing bag and pipe a decent amount of it onto the cookie and then top it with another. Dust with plenty of powdered sugar.

When using a cookie cutter with a diameter of 4 cm the amount of dough makes around 80 cookies / 40 alfajores.

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