My Recipe Box

Chocolate-Covered Sandwich Cookies with Dulce de Leche (Alfajores)

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Yields about twenty-eight 2-inch sandwich cookies.

  • To learn more, read:
    Cookie Swap
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 102

My wife is from Argentina, and the first time I traveled there with her, I fell in love with alfajores—delicate shortbread cookies with a gooey dulce de leche filling and a coating of dark chocolate. Several years—and many cookies—later, I was finally able to recreate them at home, just the way they tasted in Argentina. They’ve been our holiday go-to cookie ever since.

Web extra: As part of Fine Cooking's Virtual Cookie Exchange, Andy demonstrates the technique behind these cookies. Watch the playback to learn why Andy doesn't temper the chocolate, why he uses an offset spatula, and how he makes relatively quick work of dipping the cookies.

  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • Two 13.4 oz. cans Nestlé dulce de leche
  • 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 pint heavy cream
Make the cookies

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the orange zest. Scrape down the bowl and paddle with a rubber spatula.

With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. After adding the last of the flour but before it’s fully incorporated, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup cold water and mix just until a smooth dough forms, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, form into disks, and wrap in plastic. Chill overnight.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment. Roll out the cold dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s 1/8 to 3/16 inch thick. With a 2-inch plain or fluted round cookie cutter, cut the dough in circles—you can gather and reroll the scraps once. Bake one sheet at a time until the edges are very lightly browned and the cookies puff up slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool the cookies on a rack and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month, until you’re ready to fill and coat them.

Fill the cookies

Lay out the cookies, flat side down. Put a heaping 1/2 Tbs. of dulce de leche on half of the cookies. Cover each with a top cookie, flat side up.

Coat the cookies

Put the chocolate in a small, deep, heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream just to a boil. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir the mixture very gently, incorporating the cream steadily and without overworking, until glossy and completely mixed.

Line 2 cookie sheets or rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Pick up a sandwich cookie with a small offset spatula. Immerse in the chocolate mixture, flipping the cookie to coat completely. Pick up with the spatula and tap a couple of times on the side of the bowl to get rid of excess chocolate. With another spatula in the opposite hand, gently smooth out the top of the cookie and then run the spatula along the bottom. Transfer to the parchment-lined sheet. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Allow the coating to set at room temperature for a few hours and then serve.

Store in a plastic container, separating each cookie with parchment or waxed paper, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per cookie; Calories (kcal): 370; Fat (g): fat g 19; Fat Calories (kcal): 170; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 12; Protein (g): protein g 6; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 45; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 160; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 50; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Although I think it is a great idea, it feels like a very complicated recipe to duplicate. They pictures look fantastic. Sometimes we find cookies and desserts in bakeries and we want so badly to be able to make them ourselves, and this recipe really allows us and food lovers to see how hard it is sometimes to find a great recipe that is easy! I work for Better Recipes so I am constantly looking for better Cookie Recipes and although this one is very interesting - it feels a bit too complicated for the average chef.

I am really disappointed in all of the bad reviews. I am posting the original recipe that I gave to the editor of this recipe in hopes that it will be better than the one they published. I did some calculations, and the recipe published here is actually different from the one I sent. Sugar should have been 1 cup (7 oz.), butter should have been 9 oz. and water should have been 3 oz. I don't know why I didn't figure this out before. Here is my original recipe in weight meaure: Flour 32 ounces (create your own ratio of whole wheat to AP) Baking Powder 0.5 ounces Salt 0.25 ounces Sugar 12.25 ounces Butter 16 ounces Water 5.5 ounces Citrus Zest 0.25 Vanilla 0.125 ounces

I am giving this recipe three stars because it such a great idea. However, it turned out horribly for me. The cookie did not brown and once baked, tasted more a like a biscuit I could use for caviar. I could barely taste any sweetness but I do think there is a way to remedy that. By changing the shortbread to a regular brown sugar cookie, I should get better results. Also, I think milk chocolate would be better better than bittersweet or maybe even half and half. This is the first recipe from FC did not turn out so well for me. Better luck next time!

These cookies were good, but not quite as delicious as I expected. I followed the recipe exactly and the cookies did look beautiful, but they were actually a bit dry, and if it were not for the dulce de leche (that I made following the "how to" from Fine Cooking magazine), rather boring. I thought the cookie itself was a little dry, dense, and overall not very flavorful. As I was working the dough, I had to add more water because the mixture kept falling apart ; I attributed this to high altitude and went on with the recipe, but maybe I would have been better off using butter instead of water. Also, I don't know that the wheat flour was a very good idea, I thought it made the cookie taste coarse instead of refined. And by the way, the cookie needed a bit more sugar in my humble opinion. I actually liked them better than anyone in my family, but next time I will try using my own light butter cookie recipe instead. Thank you for submitting the recipe anyway, they're a great idea and they're gorgeous -just a bit of work and not quite as luscious as I wanted, I guess.

I was so excited to see this recipe in Fine Cooking since my Peruvian friend introduced me to these cookies a couple of years ago. I made these for my friends for Christmas and was fortunate enough to finish half of the batch first to try them. I used white whole wheat flour which does not have as strong a flavor as the red whole wheat. I rolled out the first disk of dough with all purpose flour and the cookies had a strong nutty flour taste which was barely overwhelmed by the ganache and dulce de leche. When I rolled out the second disk of dough I used powdered sugar instead of flour. This very much improved the flavor of the actual cookie. I didn't even notice a flavor problem in the second half. My boyfriend tasted them and declared them his favorite cookie of the four kinds I made. I would definitely recommend using powdered sugar to roll out the dough instead of flour, and if I make these again next year I might substitute all-purpose for half the wheat and add a smidge of vanilla. The alfajores I tried a couple of years ago were dusted with powdered sugar instead of dipped in chocolate. The chocolate dipping, while delicious can be messy, so if you wanted to skip it, you could just give the cookies a dusting of powdered sugar.

Sorry Andy, these were a disaster for me. I found the cookie very dry and all I could taste was the flour and a touch of orange zest. The cookies baked very unevenly, more oval shaped than round, and some puffed up significantly more than others. I've made dulce de leche before and that turned out fine. The chocolate was way too thick and it was impossible to dip the cookie and get an even coating without making a total mess. I ended up just dipping half the cookie in an attempt to salvage the cookies. Didn't care for the overall taste, expense and time for this poor result.

The picture looks delicious-I added vanilla to my dough. And it said it only took 1/4 cup cold water to form dough, but it took me a lot more. I think it was because of the wheat flour. I think if I were to do this again, I would add vanilla, more orange zest, and less whole wheat flour.

Very disappointing! I made homemade dulce de leche and used ghirardelli chocolate, but the cookie part was so bad, those two things couldn't even save it. I took a reviewers advice and used just 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 3 cups regular. Definitely not worth the trouble!

This cookie could be very good but the cookie itself is lacking in flavor and texture. If I make them again, I will not include the whole wheat flour, it is to over powering. I will also add more vanilla and sugar. The cookie taste more like a biscuit then a cookie. The dough is easy to work with. But my kids won't eat them....that says a lot!

I have made my own dulce de leche filling many times by boiling the cans of sweetened condensed milk, so my rating is based solely on the cookie part of this recipe. The dough is easy to work with, but I think lacks a bit of flavor. I have made the recipe three times now for a cookie swap and it definately tastes better with pure vanilla extract added and perhaps the addition of more sugar? Also, for my own personal preference, I think the flavor of the whole wheat flour is a bit overpowering. I am going to try the recipe using all regular flour at some point. Overall though, an outstanding, different and memorable cookie!

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