Chocolate Covered Alfajores with Cajeta
These alfajores de maizena are really popular all over Spain, South America, and Mexico. They are two round cookies sandwiched together with jam or cajeta (caramel) and then dusted with powdered sugar. Alfajores have been enjoyed since the 1800s in South American but they can be traced back to the Arab world. The word “alfajor” is similar to the Arabic word for fancy or great.
Peruvian alfajores are often coated in powdered sugar and Mexican ones are rolled in coconut. In the Canary Islands and Nicaragua, alfajores tend to contain various grains including corn and they are flavored with molasses. There is a dessert called alfajor in Cadiz, Spain, which is nothing like this recipe. In that region, the alfajores are made with honey, flour, cinnamon, and almonds and sold around Christmas.
In the following alfajores recipe, cajeta-filled cookies are rolled in coconut, and coated in chocolate. Coating these Mexican cookies in chocolate makes them extra special. Alfajores are popular with kids and adults and they are one of the most delicious examples of typical Mexican baking. The lemon and vanilla scented cookies are sandwiched together with gooey caramel and then rolled in coconut. The chocolate coating goes beautifully with the other ingredients and these cookies are great with a hot or cold drink, served after dinner as a special treat.
Although pretty much every cuisine has cookies, there is something very special about Mexican ones. Perhaps it is the delicate flavors like vanilla, chocolate or cinnamon which are so prevalent, or it could be the distinctive taste that nothing but Mexican cookies offer. Whichever is the case, alfajores are a prime example of Mexican baking at its best and these chocolate-covered treats will go down like a dream.
- 1 cup white sugar
- 12 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 egg yolks
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups cornstarch
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons cognac
- Grated coconut
- 1 tub cajeta caramel (dulce de leche)
- 12 oz semisweet chocolate
- 2 oz vegetable oil or cocoa butter
- Cream the sugar and butter together, and then stir in the flour, egg yolks, egg, lemon zest, vanilla, cornstarch, cognac, and baking powder.
- Knead this dough on a floured board until it is smooth, and then let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Roll the dough out to ¼ inch thick, and then cut it into 2 inch disks.
- Put them on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
- Spread some cajeta on the bottom of half the cookies, and then press another one on top.
- Let some of the cajeta squeeze out the sides and roll the cookie sides through the grated coconut so it sticks to the cajeta.
- Melt the semisweet chocolate and vegetable oil or cocoa butter in a double boiler or a bowl over simmering water.
- Drop the alfajores in the melted chocolate and lift them out using a fork, letting the excess chocolate drip off.
- Let them set on an aluminum-lined cookie sheet and serve.
These delicious and mouthwatering homemade alfajores are easy to make and the combination of lemon, vanilla, caramel, chocolate, and coconut is amazing. You can leave off the chocolate coating if you want but it does add a really good flavor and keep the cookies together. The chocolate coating takes a couple of hours to set properly, by the way, so start making these alfajor cookies in plenty of time. If you are looking for Mexican dessert recipes, which are sweet, satisfying, delicious, and typically Mexican, you cannot go wrong with these wonderful alfajores. In fact, you might want to double the recipe because these are guaranteed to be popular.
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