These riquísimos Argentinian treats are one of the few things I still make since coming home. Maria Elena, our adopted mother, taught me how to bake them and she demanded nothing short of perfection. If she saw me making them now she would shake her head - they are decidedly imperfect. She would shout "castigo!" ("punishment!") when I broke a cookie or rolled the dough unevenly. And then she would smile and give me a spoonful of dulce de leche for my "castigo" - it was so rough. Needless to say, I never learned my lesson.
I love this woman and will always remember her love for me & JD and making these cookies just so.
Maria Elena's Alfajores Maicenas:
3 egg yolks
1 cap of vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
200 grams self-rising flour
300 grams cornstarch
150 grams sugar
200 grams butter
dulce de leche
Time required: a lot (block off the morning, especially with littles)
Bakes: 30+ alfajores
Melt butter in a saucepan. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and cornstarch. In a separate, smaller bowl mix egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add wet mixture and melted butter to dry mixture and combine until mixed, then gently kneed until a ball of dough.
Sprinkle some flour on the counter and roll out the dough to a 1/4" sheet. Flour the rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking to it. Cut out circles and place on baking sheet. Wad dough into another ball and roll out again, repeating process until there is no more dough. Bake at 350°F until firm to touch - not golden or brown - roughly 10 minutes.
Slather dulce de leche generously between 2 cookies and then coat the edges with dulce. Roll in lightly toasted coconut.
Gracias, María Elena, por enseñarme y amarme.