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Alfajores, the South American Shortbread Sandwich

Chocolate and Coconut Topped Shortbread Sandwich
Chocolate and Coconut Topped Shortbread Sandwich

Shortbread is something we make a lot of here, it’s so quick and simple and great to have on standby in the biscuit tin. Coming across these South American inspired treats however has been very dangerous….these are seriously addictive biscuits.

Alfajores are hugely popular in Argentina, Venezuela and other South American countries where you find them in cafes, bakeries and homes. They are a melt-in-the-mouth shortbread sandwich, filled with Dulce de Leche or caramel then rolled in dessicated coconut. Variations include spreading or dipping the sandwich in chocolate, sprinkling nuts or coconut on top or leaving nude with just the gooey filling.

I made them all, just for research purposes of course!! Start with a really good shortbread recipe and the rest is easy…..

Alfajores rolled in coconut
Alfajores rolled in coconut

Ingredients:

  • 250g real butter, softened
  • 140g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g cornflour
  • 200g self-raising flour

For the filling:

Dulce de Leche or Carnation Caramel to fill. Dessicated coconut for rolling or sprinkling. Good quality dark chocolate to melt for topping or dipping

This recipe makes approx 24 biscuits, using a small cookie cutter.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 170C fan. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer for a couple of minutes until pale and smooth. Sift in the cornflour and flour into butter mix and briefly mix on the lowest speed until the dough just combines.
  3. Bring the dough together in the bowl using floured hands, wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 30-45 mins to chill.
  4. When ready, tip onto a flour wokstop, roll out to approx 5mm thick and cut into small disks using the cookie cutter. Space apart on the baking sheet and bake in teh preheated oven for approx 10 minutes until lightly golden in colour.
  5. Remove the biscuits to a wire wrack and allow to cool fully before assembling. If you are goign to top with chocolate, now is a good time to melt this in a bowl over a lightly simmering pot of water.
  6. Once cold, sandwich two shortbread together using the Dulche de Leche, making sure it comes right out to the edge of the sandwich. Roll the sandwich in the coconut so that it sticks to the edges. You can top with the melted chocolate at this stage then transfer to the fridge to chill and set.
Chocolate and Coconut Topped Shortbread Sandwich
Chocolate and Coconut Topped Shortbread Sandwich

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