Got myself a nasty little spring cold, but that's not enough to stop me from trying these amazing Alfajores cookies. I mean really - cognac, lemon zest, dulce de leche and coconut? A litle Hennesey will surely help with the congestion, and what sick girl doesn't feel better with a plate of cookies? I am a woman of appetite. Said to be traditional tea time or snack cookies, these have a wonderful, somewhat biscuit like texture that I love, and despite the ultra-rich dulce de leche filling, the cookies themselves are not over the top sweet. There are recipes for dulce de leche from scratch, but I used the quick version in which sweetened condensed milk is simply baked until golden brown. If you want a special cookie, with a unique South American flavor, I highly recommend you try these little gems of goodness.
|Map Courtesy of Lonely Planet|
Cuisine in Venezuela varies greatly by region, but is influenced by indigenous and European influences, as well as by African and Native American traditions. Corn, rice, plantains, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, squash, beef and chicken are all staple foods enjoyed in this country.
Cream butter, sugar, then add egg yolks and egg
Kneed the dough, then let rest for 15 minutes
Alfajores (Recipe Adapted from About.com)
12 tablespoons sweet unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cognac
2 1/2 cups cornstarch
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Dulce de Leche
Cream the butter and sugar together, then mix in the remaining ingredients except the dulce de leche and coconut until well blended. Knead on a floured work surface until the dough is smooth and let rest for 15 minutes.
Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch and cut into 2-inch rounds. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 300°F oven for 20 minutes. When cool, spread some dulce de leche on the bottom of half the cookies and press another cookie on top, allowing some of the dulce de leche to squeeze from the sides. Roll the sides in the coconut until the sides are covered.
To make dulce de leche:
Pour 1 can sweetened condensed milk into 9-inch pie plate. Cover with aluminum foil. Place the pie plate in a in larger shallow pan filled with hot water. Do not allow the water to cover the smaller pan. Bake at 425 degrees F for 1 hour or until thick and caramel-colored.
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