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Alfajores 1 - alfajores

Latin American food seems to be all the rage these days – and I’m seeing alfajores – buttery sugar cookies stuffed with soft caramel – popping up everywhere. They’re my new favourite thing; an alfajor or alajú is a traditional sweet found in some regions of Spain and Latin America; in North America, the term alfajores most often refers to shortbread or sugar cookies sandwiched with dulce de leche, a soft milk caramel that’s perfect for spreading on just about anything, but especially cookies.

Alfajore sugar cookies - alfajores

Fortunately, they’re easy to make at home. Dulce de leche is available in some grocery stores and most Latin markets – or try soft maple spread, or to make your own soft caramel. Another delicious (albeit non-traditional) alternative? A jar of Nutella.

Alfajores 2 - alfajores


1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt

dulce de leche or homemade caramel, for filling

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes, until pale and light. Beat in the vanilla.

Add the flour and salt and beat just until the dough comes together; gather it into a ball, divide it in half, shape each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic or waxed paper. Refrigerate for half an hour or so.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough out 1/4-inch thick and cut into 1-1 1/2 inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and prick each once or twice with a fork.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Once completely cooled, spread half the cookies with dulce de leche or caramel and top with a second cookie.

Makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies.

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