The Chilean alfajores are delicious and incredibly easy to make. Moreover, we can create a variety of versions based on our preferences: adding raspberries or strawberries, coconut, walnuts, almonds, or anything else we desire to the dulce de leche filling to give them an extra special touch. The recipe I will provide you with is the base, but feel free to let your imagination soar.
Origins of Alfajores:
Although the name “alfajores” is the same as the ones in Spain, Chilean alfajores are a different recipe. Spanish alfajores are sweet treats made from dried fruits, nuts, and honey traditionally enjoyed during the end-of-year festivities, particularly at Christmas. On the other hand, alfajores in America consist of two (or more) cookies or wafer-like layers sandwiched with a sweet filling, usually dulce de leche or caramel, but there are versions with honey, chocolate, etc. Another characteristic is that they are often coated, for example, in chocolate, meringue, royal icing, etc.
Tips for preparing hojarasca alfajores:
Butter should be at room temperature; otherwise, it will be difficult for the dough to form properly. If you forgot to take it out of the refrigerator (something that happens to me often), you can fill a large metal bowl with boiling water and let the metal warm up for a few minutes. Carefully empty the bowl and place it upside down over the chilled butter, like a bell. This way, the metal will radiate heat to the butter, making it softer in just a few minutes.
If you want your alfajores to look neater and more uniform (which is important if you plan to sell them), you can roll out the dough using a pasta machine. (This machine is not only used for making pasta but also for rolling out thin dough)
Variations of Chilean alfajores:
Like any recipe that has been around for a long time and in many places, there are numerous versions of alfajores. For example, there are alfajores made with cornstarch, but one of the most typical in Chile is the hojarasca alfajores, and when they are coated with meringue and dried in the oven, they are called “Chilenitos.”
These hojarasca alfajores are made using the exact same dough as the Chilean hojarascas cake and are very similar to the yellow dough that serves as the base for many typical Chilean sweets, like the ones sold in Ligua. Fun fact: if you add some fresh raspberries to the filling or flavor the dulce de leche with orange zest or ground nuts, I assure you won’t regret it.
Storage and Shelf Life:
Ideally, store the components separately, i.e., the cookie layers alone since the dulce de leche will start to moisten the cookies and make them soft and fragile within two days. If you store the cookie layers in an airtight container with a paper napkin inside (to absorb moisture), they can be kept in perfect condition for up to one week.
If you love dulce de leche you must try this easy dulce de leche dessert.
The Chilean alfajores are delicious and incredibly easy to make.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3.5 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons pisco or rhum, cointreaux or any other spirit
- Dulce de leche caramel spread, you can use it alone or mixed
Preheat the oven to 392°F (200°C).
In a bowl, mix the flour and butter with your hands until it forms a sandy texture.
Add the egg yolks, milk, and pisco to the flour and butter mixture. Work the dough with your fingers until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and roll out each part on a lightly floured surface until it is as thin as possible.
Cut out circles of the desired size, approximately 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
Place the circles, one by one, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick the circles with a fork and bake for 5 to 10 minutes (baking time depends on the thickness of the dough) until cooked but not golden. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly. Repeat the process until all the circles are baked.
To assemble the alfajores, spread a tablespoon of dulce de leche (or desired amount) onto one of the circles and place another circle on top, pressing lightly with your fingers.
Enjoy your alfajores!