Alfajores is an almond flavored sandwich cookie often found in Latin cultures. There are many different versions of this cookie from different parts of Latin America. This particular recipe is a Peruvian version. I came to learn about this delicious cookie from one of my co-workers when she brought some back from lunch at a local Peruvian restaurant. I was totally hooked and I had to find a recipe. I found this recipe from Christmas-cookies.com that I thought I should try. We're going on a trip to the mountains this weekend and I figured these would be perfect to take along with us.
The cookie itself was pretty easy to make. The tricky part was the caramel filling. It didn't thicken enough to spread on the cookie. It was very runny, but the recipe specifies that if the caramel is too thin, I had to add confectioner's sugar and it came out fine. Since our weekend trip falls right before Valentine's day, I wanted to be festive and make heart-shaped cookies, rather than the traditional round shapes. Overall, these cookies were delicious. I hope everyone likes them.
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup ground almonds (ground slivered almonds in a food processor)
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup half & half (or light cream, or evaporated milk)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2) Cream butter, confectioner's and granulated sugar until fluffy. Stir in salt, almond extract, vanilla extract, ground almonds and flour. Continue beating until well incorporated. Wrap the container and chill for 30 minutes.
3) Once chilled, roll out dough on a floured surface 1/4 inch thick. Cut desired shape of cookie and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks before spreading filling)
4) To make the filling: combine brown sugar and cream in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat. As it cooks, brush inner sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water to wipe away sugar crystals. Continue heating mixture to 238-240 deg F. Remove from heat and cool to 110 deg F.
5) Stir in butter. Beat mixture until it is thickened, about 8-10 minutes. If mixture is too thin, add confectioner's sugar until desired consistency is achieved. Add vanilla. Cool mixture in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to further firm up the filling. Spread on bottom side of one cookie. Place another cookie on top of filling. Dust with confectioner's sugar.