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Monday
Mar082010

Gimme More: Pisco-Infused Alfajores Recipe

C is for Cookie, but A is for Alfajor.

Say what?

If you've never heard of them, alfajores are definitely one to add to your alphabet of sweets: a delectable type of crumbly cookie commonly sandwiched with indulgent dulce de leche.

Though most commonly associated with South American countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Paraguay, Chile, Perú and the South of Brazil, these cookies actually take their roots in the Arab World: per Wikipedia, "the name alfajor is derived from Arabic الفاخر, which means "fancy" or "great" sweets. The archetypal alfajor entered Iberia during the period of al-Andalus."

Though this sweet treat has a long history, I took a more modern approach by making a Pisco-infused batch (with thanks to Gran Sierpe, who kindly donated some Pisco, a Peruvian brandy, with which to test out some recipes). The brandy adds a slightly sophisticated bite to the sweet cookies, compelling you to take bite after bite to try to figure out the source of the je ne sais quoi.

Want to make your own? Here's the recipe I used.

Alfajores

Adapted from About.com's South American Food

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Pisco (I used Gran Sierpe)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup dulce de leche, OR 1 cup vanilla buttercream, for filling
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut, finely chopped (optional)

 

Procedure

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the cornstarch, flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix briefly.
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture, blending with your fingers until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and Pisco, and mix with your hands until the dough is homogeneous and smooth. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. For this step, either follow the original recipe by rolling out dough to 3/8" thickness, and cutting into 2 inch circles--OR, do as I did and roll the dough into a log and then slice cookies to your desired thickness (I liked fat ones, maybe 1/4 inch thick).  Place cookies on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes, until they are barely golden brown. Let cookies cook 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to rack to cool completely (they are quite fragile until they cool).
  7. To fill the cookies, spread one cookie with dulce de leche and top with second cookie (note: as I found out, buttercream works beautifully too--picture below). If desired, roll the edges in the coconut. Store in an airtight container.

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    Seeking Sweetness in Everyday Life - CakeSpy - Gimme More: Pisco-Infused Alfajores Recipe

Reader Comments (11)

Cakespy! Anything with PISCO and ALFAJOR in it made me jump up and down inside. I lived in Chile for a year and ate more alfajores than I'd like to admit. They sell them on the corner of every street for about 20 cents a piece. Also, pisco, had more of that than I'd care to admit...we'll avoid discussing that. Love this post! Thanks

Your blog is awesome! I love the colors :) Anyways, your post looks so delish! Great one!

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March 8 | Unregistered CommenterMari Ann

My entire family is from Argentina, I grew up eating alfajores. My mom and her sisters make them from scratch and they are amazing. They will always remind me of my childhood, I am 28 now. I still get excited when my mom or aunt makes them.

March 9 | Unregistered CommenterStefanie B.

I loooove dulce de leche and alfajores are a must indeed :)

March 9 | Unregistered CommenterDolce

You've got a new french fan of your website ! I love your pics, your recipes and I wanna try it right now :)

March 9 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Wonderful post... Very informational and educational as usual!

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March 17 | Unregistered CommenterJay B.

I LOVE ALFAJORES! I'm Peruvian (well my dad is, but I was born in the U.S.) and whenever we go to Peru, I devour these little babies. They're so yummy! Thanks for the recipe, I'm definitely going to make these soon!

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