Here goes, these biscuits are my version of alfajores, the South American shortbread biscuit and dulce de leche sandwiches. To the shortbread dough, I’ve added a cup of blitzed pecans and taken down the sugar a little(the condensed milk is intensely sweet!). Once the cookies are done, it’s pretty straight forward. You just wait til they’re cool, then spread half with the caramelised condensed milk, or dulce de leche as it’s more commonly known and put another on top. I toyed with the idea of dipping them in dark chocolate but in the end decided that they were probably rich and good enough without it. My advice is to let them sit for a couple of hours after you’ve filled them, so that the leche can soften the crunchy shortbread and give you a soft mouthful of caramel, cinnamon and pecan. So, so, so good.
This shortbread dough may seem incredibly crumbly at first, just force it all together, refrigerate it and then roll it out between two sheets of baking parchment if it’s still crumbly. It should come together nicely as it warms up from the chilling. Also, I always use a timer when I’m baking biscuits, it helps for the cooking time and the two minutes they need on the baking sheet. You’ll need to start the day before. Makes 20 alfajores.
For the dulce de leche(Thanks to Sophie from Stovetop Revolution for the how to on dulce de leche!)
1 395g can of condensed milk
1 teaspoon of salt
For the shortbread(Adapted from an Ina Garten recipe)
1 1/2 cups of toasted pecans, chopped finely
3/4 of a cup of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups of plain flour
340g room temperature butter
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 a teaspoon of salt
1. For the dulce de leche, poke 3 holes in the top of the can of condensed milk. Place the can in a pot and pour enough water in to come 2/3 of the way up the sides. Bring to the boil over medium heat and let it simmer away, topping up the water occasionally so it’s always at the 2/3 level, for 2 1/2 hours.
2. When it’s done, remove the can and set aside until 100% cool, preferably overnight.
3. To make the shortbread, first preheat the oven to 180 Celsius. Then in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed, mix the butter and sugar together for about 5 minutes. It needs to be combined but not totally fluffy.
4. Add the sifted flour, salt, cinnamon and beat on low until just combined. Add the pecans and stir again. Divide the dough into two logs and refrigerate until firm, about half an hour.
5. Roll the dough out to 5mm thick(see note at the top!) and cut into 6.5cm rounds. Line a large baking tray with baking paper and place the cookies on. Refrigerate for a further 10 minutes.
6. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Leave on the tray to cool 2 minutes, then place on a rack to cool completely.
7. Meanwhile, spoon the dulce de leche out of the can and into a bowl. Give it a stir to remove any lumps and add half a teaspoon of salt.
8. When cool, spread with half the cookies with dulce de leche and sandwich the other half on top. Leave them for a few hours, if you can, to soften.