Viva Argentina! or: lets make Alfajores

This week’s blog post means a lot to me. When Clara from tastesheriff posted the new ‘ichbacksmir’-topic wanderlust I literally needed a few seconds to know what I could bake for this topic.
Wanderlust hits me when I think of Argentina. Four years ago I went there for my year abroad and what started as a very scary adventure turned out as one of the greatest experiences in my life.
My time in Argentina wouldn’t have been the same without alfajores – two biscuits filled with dulce de leche, either coated with chocolate or with desiccated coconut. You can buy them in every bakery or super market in Argentina and now I finally managed to make them myself. Please find the recipe below, they are really worth the effort and tasted like proper Argentinean Alfajores :).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Last weekend one of my best friends came for a surprise-visit to Manchester and coincidentally she was also the one that visited me in Argentina back then. We spent the afternoon making alfajores, reminiscing about  the amazing time we had together.
Back then in Argentina we travelled to the impressive waterfalls of Iguazu, spent days discovering Buenos Aires and loved the time we spent relaxing in Cordoba where I lived at the time – and of course we ate alfajores whenever we could.

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Initially we started baking following a recipe I found a while ago. We soon found though, that there were things we wanted to do differently so we kind of developed our own recipe. To be honest, we would never have thought that the alfajores would turn out so delicious – but really, they tasted like proper Argentinean alfajores!

There is a lot of cornstarch involved, don’t be surprised. We were very unsure about this high amount of it at the start but that way the biscuits get the perfect consistence and it worked out great! We still used less cornstarch than many other recipes do and it worked really well.

For around 20 Alfajores we used:
225g flour
260g cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
230g unsalted butter softened
130g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod scraped
zest of one small lemon
1 jar dulce de leche
50g shredded coconut
350g dark chocolate melted

Mix together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and baking soda.
Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time. Beat in the lemon zest and the scraped vanilla pod, but do not over mix. Fold in the flour mix until you have a crumbly dough – as I already mentioned above, it may seem like there is a lot of cornstarch involved…but believe me: it will work :).
Form the dough to a ball and let it cool for around one hour in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 175 degrees.
Roll out the dough by only using a little bit of flour until it is around 1/2 a centimeter thick. Cut the dough with a round cookie cutter (we didn’t have one so we used an espresso cup) and bake in the oven on a baking tray covered with baking paper for 7 to 10 minutes until they are set but not brown yet.

Let cool and then spread dulce de leche on one side of a cookie and put another cookie on top, so that you have something that looks like a sandwich.
Now you can either roll the edge of the Alfajores in the shredded coconut or cover with the melted chocolate (we covered half in chocolate and half in designated coconut). The ones covered in chocolate need to harden for around two hours.

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Argentina has got a very important place in my heart, I met amazing people over there – some of them are still very close friends and one of them even is the guy  I moved to England for and that I’m going to get married to :). In general: Argentina is a stunning country with lovely people – I can’t wait to go back.
…and until then I’m going to drink a generous glass of Fernet Branca with Coke every now and then as well as many of these delicious Alfajores!

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