If you’ve been following along you know that I’ve made Dulce de Leche. Obviously I could just spoon the stuff into my mouth and get fat from all that goodness, but it was probably a more sensible (boring) idea to use it in baking.
Paula of Vintage Kitchen Notes had made Alfajores, using her Grandmother’s recipe no less.
Alfajores are an Argentinian sweet treat. Paula lives in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Of course other countries are also known for Alfajores too.
My first and only encounter of Alfajores was at Patagonia Chocolates in Queenstown. The one I had, though called an Alfajore, was a chocolate biscuit completely covered in dark chocolate. That set the scene for what I expected this recipe would yield.
The biscuit I made was completely different, a much more firm biscuit yet so much lighter. The one from Patagonia was almost like a the base of a slice than a biscuit.
I started out making this recipe the way Paula described. By hand you cream the butter and sugar. I tried, I really did. I worked hard and it was tiring and my shoulder was protesting. And I reasoned that Paula’s Grandmother probably didn’t have the luxury of a hand mixer or cake mixer and I felt certain she wouldn’t mind if I dragged mine out to get things moving along a bit quicker, and without so much grumbling.
This is like no other biscuit I have ever made. And the idea of rolling the mixture out like pastry and cutting it into rounds was really novel. I didn’t even own a straight biscuit cutter until Friday.
I felt my pastry was a little on the sticky side and added two more tablespoons of cornflour, and then it all just came together perfectly, just as Paula had described.
My oven cooks too fast so I didn’t need to bake these as long as Paula had suggested, but then she said they need only be barely coloured. So when the biscuits reached that point I knew they were ready.
Putting them together, to make a sandwich was dead simple.
The biscuits is usually rolled in finely chopped nuts or coconut. Since Mr Fussy wont eat nuts and isn’t keen on coconut I dressed them up a little by dipping some of them into chocolate.
I can’t quite describe the flavour of the biscuits. The Cognac we had (which we didn’t even realise we had) was flavoured with Passionfruit juices, pink Grapefruit and Mango. Sounds like a bit of a hodge podge. No wonder I’m struggling trying to describe the flavour of the biscuits.
They are quite crumbly. Don’t eat them without a plate, or suffer the consequences of vacuuming, or finding a dog to eat the crumbs off the floor.
I hope I made them right, but I can’t be sure because the one Alfajore I have had before was never going to be a good comparison.
I enjoyed making something quite different. And we’re still snacking on them. I think I would have ended up with around 25 complete biscuits i.e 50 odd single biscuits.
You can find the recipe here:
A few last comments. As you’ll notice if you go to Paula’s post, the Dulce de Leche that comes from NZ Highlander Condensed Milk doesn’t really look the same as what I’ve seen elsewhere. The richness in colour and the thickness in consistency just doesn’t eventuate from boiling our Condensed Milk. I’m convinced, now that I’ve tried two different brands, that Condensed Milk is not the same worldwide.
I guess the next step is to make it from scratch by boiling down milk. I might try it one day, but it’s a long process that can take more than an hour, and during that time you need to be watching the pot all the time. You know what it’s like when you boil Milk. The moment you take your eyes off the pot it’ll boil over.
Mr Fussy also commented that he couldn’t really get a good taste of caramel. He’s right.