This post was a while in coming. We were all very busy for the end of Ramadan, Eid and now with life getting back to “normal” for a week, just in time to welcome some guests over to our place for nearly 2 weeks.
I at least wanted to share the recipe for the alfajores I served up when our friends came over a few weeks ago. I’m not too sure how much time I will be able to dedicate to posting when our guests will be over as we are working at our regular jobs and then coming home to entertain our guests in the evening. So, I make no promises but I will try to post a bit more often.
I’m also currently working on a “healthier” version of date squares. My mother-in-law wants to take something to my father (which it seems is customary after a surgery). He loves dates, we want to give him something healthy, and I would like to teach her a recipe for once. I was thinking of making them “raw” but decided not to push it too much. We’ll see if the recipe makes it onto the blog in the next little while. I also have to work on a post for all the food we prepped for when we had my parents over last weekend.
I’m also trying to make up a recipe for lemon-mint bars that are also healthier. My God! The amount of butter and sugar used in most recipes!!!! Holy cannoli! That’s one’s going to be tough.
Without further ado, I present to you a recipe for Alfajores!
Yield = about 15-20 cookie sandwiches
-1 cup corn starch
-1 1/4 cup flour
-1 tspn baking powder
-1/2 tspn baking soda
-1/4 tspn salt
-1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (if semi-salted or salted, omit the salt)
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 egg yolks
-1 Tsbpn water (adjust once you mix)
-1 tspn lemon zest
-1 tspn lemon juice
-1/2 tspn vanilla extract or ground (ground will not be as strong in flavour and will add specs in your cookies)
-dulce de leche (recipe posted below this one)
Putting it together:
1- In a medium bowl, sift together corn starch, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg yolks one at a time. Add in water, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix well.
3- On slow speed, add in dry ingredients until a dough forms. Do not overmix.
4- Take dough out of bowl, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
5- Preheat stove at 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
6- Roll out dough to about 1/4″ thickness. Cut out cookies with a round cookie cutter (about 2 inches in diameter). Place on cookie sheets. Some advise not to roll out the dough more than twice.
7- Bake for 10-15 minutes until bottoms start to brown but the tops are still pale. Transfer gently to cooling rack – the cookies tend to crumble if you’re too rough.
8- Once completely cooled, spread dulce de leche on the bottom of one cookie, top with another. Do not overfill, the dulce de leche will ooze out the sides and make a big mess. Take a bit of extra dulce de leche and spread along the sides of the cookie. Dips this into the coconut shavings to coat.
9- Store in the fridge to prevent the dulce de leche from running. Enjoy!
Dulce de leche
Yield = enough for 2 batches of alfajores, or one batch and leftovers for ice cream or other piggy foods
-1 can of sweetened condensed milk (such as Eagle Brand)
Putting it together:
1- Stand unopened can in a large pot (that will go on the stove). Make sure there are a few inches of space between the top of the can and the top of the pot. Fill the pot with water until there are a few inches of water completely covering the can.
2- Bring water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to gently simmer. For a thick caramel (good for Alfajores), let simmer for 4 hours. For a thinner caramel (for other things), simmer for 1-3 hours. The longer you simmer the can of milk, the darker and thicker the caramel will be. Make sure that there is always plenty of water covering the can. If water levels drop below the top of the can, the can could explode!!!!
3- Once done, let can cool (unopened) in the pot of water. This may take a few hours.
4- Open and try not to eat the whole can the second you open it.
Other ways to cook up the dulce de leche: open the can, pour it into a shallow oven-proof container, cover in foil and place into a larger oven-proof container. Fill 1/2 way up with water. Bake for a few hours at 425F. You can also pour the can into a microwave-safe container (such as a Pyrex measuring cup) and microwave at 30% for 3 minute increments.