Melbourne restaurant San Telmo might be the city’s home of Argentine barbeque, but even smoky pitmasters have a sweet spot. The next time you fire up the grill at home, save some room for San Telmo head chef Steven Clark’s traditional alfajor cookies. The corn flour gives the dough a smooth texture that produces a delicate crumble when baked. Dulce de leche provides the decadent filling of this refined cookie sandwich.
Makes 15 cookies
450g plain flour
60g corn flour
250g castor sugar
300g unsalted butter
45g egg yolks
25g baking powder
250g dulce de leche
100g desiccated coconut
50g icing sugar
Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar until it's light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. You can use an electric mixer/beaters or mix by hand. Add the egg yolks and mix until well combined.
Mix your dry ingredients in a separate bowl then gradually add to butter and egg mixture, mixing until well combined. You should have a dough-like mixture to form your cookies.
Turn the dough out and divide into two, then shape each portion into a long cylinder or a log.
Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour until firm. Each log should be roughly 250cm in length and 50cm in diameter.
Once your dough is nice and firm, place on a cutting board and with a sharp knife cut the dough out into medallions. Each cookie should be no more than 15mm in thickness and should make roughly 15 cookies per log of dough. As the cookies will be paired to make sandwiches, be sure to bake an even number.
Place the cookies onto a tray with baking paper, leaving at least a 1cm space between them.
Place into the oven and bake for roughly 12–14 minutes. The cookies should be firm and lightly golden on the bottom, while still pale on the top.
Once the cookies are completely cooled, take one cookie and place a tablespoon of dulce de leche (see recipe below) onto the base of the cookie and smooth until evenly covered. Then place another cookie on top to sandwich the dulce de leche between.
To finish your cookies, roll them through some desiccated coconut so it sticks to the dulce de leche and lightly dust with icing sugar.
Dulce de leche
Makes about 395ml
Sweetened condensed milk 395ml (1 x can)
Remove the paper label from the can and place unopened into a medium-sized pot. Cover with water till it is about an inch over the top of the can then bring to a boil. As soon as it is boiling, immediately bring down to a low heat and gently simmer for 3 hours.
It’s important that the simmer is very low and the water always remains an inch over the top of the can. Top up the water when needed to keep it at the correct level.
After three hours, turn off the heat and let the water come to room temperature.
Don’t open the can while it’s hot. Once the can is cooled you should have a lovely thick glossy dulce de leche to make the alfajores.
If you don’t have the time to make dulce de leche the old school way, there are plenty of stores where you can purchase it pre-made and ready to go.