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Dulce de leche cookies from Argentina

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Our Celebrity Cruises ship stopped in Ushuaia, pretty much the southernmost
Cookiessettlement on earth, and a place with a stark, life-affirming beauty – and (who knew?) incredible food!
Halfway through a pretty hairy, off-road, 4×4 trip, on the way back from canoeing in a stunning, glacial lake (I think I mentioned this was the trip of a lifetime…) our driver turned and passed us a packet of Alfajores. These are the ubiquitous Argentinian sandwich cookies, that knock the pants off a custard cream or bourbon, I can tell you.
They’re basically made of two crumbly biscuits, sandwiched together with dulce de leche caramel (thank goodness this is now available in loads of UK supermarkets – M&S has the best in my view, in its international brands speciality food section) and sometimes dipped in chocolate, or rolled in shredded coconut.
If you fancy baking something new, try them. They are absolutely delicious and will wow any teatime guests, young or old.
Here’s a recipe…

350g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
scant pinch of salt
150g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
220g dulce de leche
Icing sugar, dark chocolate, dessicated coconut, optional

Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

In another bowl, whisk together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the lemon zest and vanilla extract.

Fold the flour in until you have a crumbly dough. Break the dough into walnut-sized pieces and roll into balls. Place a few inches apart on the baking sheets. Push gently on them with the palm of your hand until you have round biscuits about 1 cm thick.

Bake for around ten minutes until cooked but not browned. Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Sandwich pairs of the cookies together with dulce de leche. Dust with icing sugar, or roll the sides in dessicated coconut, or both. Alternatively, dip the whole cookie in dark melted chocolate and sprinkle with coconut if you wish.

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