Alfajores with Dulce de Leche

August 12, 2012 § 5 Comments


One day we’re all going to get over this salted caramel thing.

But it is not this day.

Dulce de Leche is caramel, and as they don’t really sell the good stuff here, it can be made by slowly and carefully cooking sweetened condensed milk. These alfajore biscuits are so lovely though, that they also would be wonderful plain, or sandwiched together with thick jam. They are just slightly crumbly, and remind me of kourabiethes. Recipe adapted from Serious Eats.

Makes about 30 individual cookies, or 15 sandwiches.

You will need: a cookie cutter, a beating/mixing device.

Ingredients:

Biscuits:
125 grams butter, softened
6 tablespoons sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon brandy
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup corn flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
icing sugar to dust over the top

Filling:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
sea salt flakes
OR
1 cup jam

Dulce de leche takes a while to make so if you want it start that first.

Dulce de leche:

Pre-heat oven to 150°C.

Empty the tin of sweetened condensed milk into a large shallow baking dish (like a pyrex or similar).

Put the dish into a high-sided roasting tray (or similar) and put in oven. With a jug, pour hot water into the tray so that it comes up around the sides of the baking dish. You want it to be as high up the dish on the outside as the sweetened condensed milk is inside the dish.

Allow to cook for an hour and half, giving the milk a stir every half hour, and replenishing the hot water if necessary. You want the contents of the dish to become, well, caramel-coloured. Be careful not to let the top burn by keeping the water up around the sides. When it has turned a nice golden, turn the heat off and let the contents cool a bit before trying to remove from the oven.

See if you can take the dish of caramel out first, before removing the roasting dish, as it is hard to hold the whole thing steady.

For the biscuits:

Pre-heat oven to 160°C.

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg yolks one at a time, then mix in vanilla and brandy.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, corn flour, baking powder, bi-carb and salt.

Scrape the butter mix into the flours and mix together with a hard spatula or knife, by “cutting” through the mix. This is a little easier than stirring with a spoon (I find). When it’s mostly combined, get your hands in there and start pressing it together into a dough. The dough will be quite crumbly, but just keep pressing it all into a ball. Once a ball has formed, wrap loosely with plastic wrap and place somewhere cool for 30 minutes to rest.

As it is a crumbly pastry, you may want to roll it out between two sheets of baking paper. I found it easy enough to roll out in thirds on a smooth, floured bench.

Roll to a thickness of about 1/5 inch, so quite thin. The recipe I used said 1/4 inch, and I think that was a bit too much.

Cut out as many cookies as you can from the dough and place on a lined baking tray (it will take 2 trays/batches). Gather the leftover dough together and repeat ad infinitum (until all the dough has been cut into cookies). Place in oven for 12 minutes, until barely golden on the edges — no more.

Remove from oven, allow to cool.

Spread one biscuit with the cooled dulche de leche and sprinkle with salt flakes, sandwich together with another cookie.

Dust with icing sugar and serve.

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