Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Alfajores - And a Giveaway

 In honor of my 100th post last week, I wanted to do a giveaway. 

Since it's my first giveaway, I wanted it to be a good one. 

Which set me to thinking - "What amazing things do so few of my friends know about and would love me forever for introducing them to?"

The answer came as I was gallivanting around my local Mi Pueblo...

1. Vanilla (the Mexican version is sooooo superior to anything in a normal grocery store)
2. Piloncillo (the conical raw sugar of choice with a delightful molassesy flavor)
3. Cajeta quemada (which Mr. S claims - and has proven - can go on anything)

I couldn't very well just pick one and force you all to miss out on the deliciousness that is the other two. 

And besides. Two of these three are important components of alfajores - a far superior version of the Oreo cookie, which contains two delicious vanilla shortbread cookies with caramel (or cajeta) in between them. 

Oh - Rules! Rules!

To enter the giveaway - leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite Latin American dessert. And I'm only capable of shipping within the USA. (Sorry Masha!)

On Friday at 6 pm Pacific I'll pick a winner using a random number generator. Good luck!

And Mr. S - YOU HAVE YOUR OWN BOTTLE OF CAJETA ALREADY - so stop filling the comment field. Seriously. Or I'll revoke your chocolate ice cream privileges.

Now - back to the cookies.

Start with butter and powdered sugar.

 Beat till fluffy and add egg yolks, lemon zest, and Mexican Vanilla. 

Sift the flour and baking powder in. 

Beat until it looks like sand. Scrunch it together. 

Form the sandy dough into a log shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge. 

Slice into little rounds.

Put them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

They should still be white, not browned at all. 

Allow to cool. 

Dollop one cookie with the cajeta quemada and sandwich with another one. Refrigerate the cookies so the caramel firms up. 

Or you can enjoy the goopyness. I definitely do.

Adapted from A Taste of Peru
Makes around 2 dozen sandwiches, depending on the size you want your cookies
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp Mexican vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
Cajeta Quemado

In a medium sized bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Beat in the egg yolks, zest, and vanilla. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and beat until the mixture becomes sand-like. Scrunch it together and form a log the size you want your cookies' circumference to be. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Spread half the cookies with Cajeta Quemada. Top with the other half. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 


  1. Why do things always break when I try to use them?!?!? Comments up and running now - hopefully!

  2. This looks delicious. I love your blog - you make scary recipes look easy and you even make me excited about getting in the kitchen and trying stuff (usually Steve is the experimental one in the kitchen). Not that I have overcome my fears yet and actually TRIED any of your recipes. But I'm printing some of them and saving them and I know that one day I will :)

    Favorite Latin American dessert... Tres leches cake (a cake with dulce de leche - actually I've had it at an Indian restaurant, go figure, but with that name it had to be from South America...)

  3. Ok, I'll bite. My favorite is Meribeth's friend Jan's Flan. what could be more classic than Flan? especially one that includes lots of eggs, sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, 4 TBS of MEXICAN vanilla, cream cheese, and carmelized sugar??? it is so thick and creamy and smooth, it is amazing! If you really ask nicely I will share the recipe.

  4. Tres Leches Cake! Mmmm...I'm trying to think if there is a better dessert than sponge cake soaked with 3 creamy milks. I would love to do it with coconut milk or coconut cream (maybe a mix of the two) and top it with toasted coconut.

    Love the blog (and the giveaway!)

  5. Shoot, I missed it! But for the record, I LOVE Mexican coffee... needs no additions. Don't know the secret, but there's some cinnamon and spice involved. I had it at Oyamel in DC, then when we were in Mexico we stopped at a place on the side of the highway---which is apparently the way to do it--- and had delicious cafe de jarro. Hit the spot especially bc it was freezing in that place. Called cafe de jarro (jar) because they make it in those earthenware bowls.

    Could you figure out a gringo-ized version for me?

    Israel and I also love flan and tres leches.

    1. Oooooh. Mexican coffee! According to the Oyamel menu - "Café de Olla is
      Traditional spiced Mexican coffee, organic Zona Rosa coffee
      with cinnamon, star anise and piloncillo sugar"

      I will definitely experiment and let you know! But here's a quick guess:

      Use your coffee bean grinder to grind up coffee beans, 1/2 a cinnamon stick, and 1 star anise pod for ~8 cups of coffee. Brew as usual and sweeten with piloncillo.