Mini Alfajores

Cookies, Desserts

Have I ever told you I’m really bad at math? Don’t ask me math questions. And please answer mine. If I’m asking, it means they’re serious and important.

For instance, if I for some reason burst into our office, covered in flour, and ask you how many grams 3/4 of a cup of flour is…it’s important. Really important.

Also, I’m a little heavy handed with the sugar when putting it in my coffee. Don’t judge me.

Let’s do cookie math, shall we? It’s way more fun than normal, real life math flour math…mainly because we get to eat this math.

This recipe yields 50 small cookies. For each cookie sandwich you’ll need two buttery, shortbread cookies and one small teaspoon of dulce de leche. Each cookie is about two bites. That means this recipe will give you 50 glorious, delicious bites of my childhood.

Yes, that’s right. These cookies you see here were some of the first I baked up. Ever.

Why did I wait this long to make them for the blog you ask?

I sort of have an attitude with most alfajores. The ones of my childhood were glorious–they were made with dulce de leche (a.k.a manjar blanco) that was stirred for hours and hours (by hand!!).

The shortbread cookie was soft and crumbly. The cookies were filled with about two tablespoons of dulce de leche and then rolled in powdered sugar. MAJOR!

But…they were always too big. Too rich. Just too much to eat (for me at least).

It’s totally silly to say that I really never thought of simply making them smaller-which is about the easiest thing to do, ever.

I think it’s that they were so ingrained in my head as these monster cookies that I never thought I could do it.

Just not really an option.

But guess what…I did. And I fell in love with them all over again.

They’re buttery, soft with just the perfect amount of give. Not too little dulce de leche, not too much…just enough.

A little sprinkling of powdered sugar on top…and you got yourself two bites of major cuteness.

Mini Alfajores

Print this recipe!

1 can sweetened condensed milk (label removed)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup fine granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In a large pot, fill with water to cover the can of sweetened condensed milk. Over high heat, bring to a boil Let simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, making sure to add more water as necessary. Remove the can of dulce de leche from the water and let cool to room temperature.

2. Preheat oven to 350Λ™F. In a medium bowl combine flour and salt. In a stand-up mixer cream together butter, sugar and vanilla extract for 3-4 minutes, mixture will turn light and fluffy. As mixer is going, add in flour and mix until combined. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. On a heavily floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness. The dough will be a little sticky so be sure to flour your roller, too. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cutter, cut out shortbread cookies and place on baking sheet. Poke a series of three holes, using a fork, in the center of each cookie.

4. Transfer cookies to oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden brown. Let cool on wire rack. To assemble the sandwiches, open the can of dulce de lece. Lay half of the shortbread cookies bottom-side up. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of dulce de leche on one half of the cookies. Top with the other half and lightly press down until you’ve gone through all the cookies.

Yields approximately 25 sandwich cookies

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Leave a Reply

  • Reply Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga December 2, 2011 at 8:58 am

    I didn’t even really know what an Alfajores was until reading this post…all I know is that a can of sweetened condensed milk, butter, sugar and more sugar all in cookie form sounds pretty amazing to me!

  • Reply Kiran @ December 2, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I want to stuff this and run so far away, for the fear of sharing it with others! I love alfajores!!

  • Reply Katrina December 2, 2011 at 11:18 am

    This sounds delightful! I can’t wait to try πŸ™‚

  • Reply Becki's Whole Life December 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

    These look perfect and so cute! I love the buttery cookie and I can only imagine how wonderful the dulce de leche tastes sandwiched between the two. I have never done the condensed milk version, but I so want to. This would be a great recipe to try it with.

  • Reply Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau December 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve never had these before but they sound like delightful little explosions of flavor. The dulce de leche oozing out of the sides of these looks so tempting!

  • Reply Heather (Heather's Dish) December 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    i love the short ingredient list…those are always the best! i’ll be making them this weekend for sure

  • Reply Staci December 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    These look just amazing! Shortbread and dulce de leche! Got to try them!

  • Reply Blog is the New Black December 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    These look amazing, love that it only requires few ingredients!

  • Reply Heather December 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    You had me at dulce de leche! I also just nabbed a boxed collection a dozen biscuit/cookie rings at our local thrift store (for $2!!) that are begging to be broken in.

    “Helloooooo alfajores! I have no idea what your name means but your ingredients mean that you’re delicious!” (If you’re a fan of a short ingredient list like I am, check out this recipe! It’s addicting, I’m afraid.)

    Heather @ Find That Warm Fuzzy Feeling

  • Reply Nicole Franzen December 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    LOVE alfajores πŸ™‚ I spent a year in Argentina and its my favorite treats.

  • Reply Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray December 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Whoa, totally thought I was reading this wrong when I saw that you’re boiling the water around the sweetened condensed milk *in* the can–how cool!

    Also these sound like little bites of heaven, please and thank you.

  • Reply la domestique December 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    I’ve never tried alfajores before! These little shortbread cookies are too cute. Thanks for sharing them.

  • Reply mallory @ total noms December 2, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    My family is from Argentina, and alfajores are my 100% favorite dessert of life. In Argentina you can get them covered in dark chocolate….. YUM I’ll have to try this recipe!

  • Reply Becca December 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I’d never heard of these before but they look absolutely delicious!

  • Reply Aimee December 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    mmm, I had a student from Argentina make these for me a couple times. They were amazing. These look amazing. You need to roll the cookie in coconut for the final touch.

    • Reply Adrianna December 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      Fun fact: Argentinians roll them in coconut and Peruvians roll them in powdered sugar. Since my mama is Peruvian I had to do a little dusting of powdered sugar. But I bet the coconut is delish!

  • Reply nicole {sweet peony} December 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    i’ve never had an alfajore but they look amazing & oh so adorable! i can’t wait to try these! thanks adrianna & have a great weekend πŸ™‚

  • Reply [email protected] December 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    My mouth is watering. Must try these soon!

  • Reply Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen December 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    These look so delicious, but I’ve always been downright terrified to make dulce de leche! Boiling a can seems like an explosion waiting to happen!

    • Reply Adrianna December 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm

      If you open the can while it’s hot, there will be a mini explosion. (I did this…that’s how I know. πŸ™‚ ) But the boiling part is super safe!

  • Reply Bev December 2, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    we do something very similar but fill the cookies with a royal type icing.I also make the cookies closer to only an inch round so you can pop one cookie in your mouth. They just melt in your mouth and are heavenly! We tint the icing to a color that goes with the season. Christmas is always pink and green (red is too dark). Have been known to do blue and yellow for Easter or for other special occasions.

  • Reply Maria December 2, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Can’t wait to try them, they sound wonderful! I might also try adding some cocoa powder to dolche leche, we used to do that growing up. Makes it taste even better!

  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats December 2, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    I’ve always been afraid to try the boiling-the-can method to make dulce de leche…but not that you’ve assured me it’s safe, I think I’m gonna do it. These sound seriously amazing!

  • Reply cindy December 2, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I love this! Mini Alfajores! I always think the standard ones are super delicious, but way to rich, and really, I want to eat more than one cookie at a time…way to solve real life problems.

  • Reply [email protected], Read, Rant December 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    why have I never heard of these cookies before, let alone had them?! I may have to make these this weekend. Oh yes!

  • Reply Megan December 2, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Whoa. These cookies are total babes.

  • Reply channing @delish test kitch December 2, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    little pillows of pure heavenly bliss! thank you + cannot wait to try!

  • Reply Teri Lyn Fister December 2, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    So cute. I love the pictures! GOOD JOB YO!

  • Reply Dana December 2, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    These look darling! I love that they’re tiny!

  • Reply DessertForTwo December 3, 2011 at 2:01 am

    I had these cookies for the first time a few years ago from a friend’s mom who grew up with them in Argentina. I’m addicted! I’m not truly a cookie fan, but these, now these I can 12 of. She used to roll the edges in coconut and use a tiny bit of lemon zest in the cookie. Oh heavens!

  • Reply beti December 3, 2011 at 2:09 am

    I always wanted to make them, they look amazing

  • Reply yummy supper December 3, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Adrianna, those cuties do look like the perfect mouthful (or two) of deliciousness. All you have to say is dulce de leche and I’m in!

  • Reply Dana B @ thebakingbooth December 3, 2011 at 5:13 am

    what fun! I’m not a big fan of sweetened condensed milk, but these sound like one of the few recipes with it that I would really like! (besides homemade Bailey’s πŸ™‚

  • Reply Holly Henderson December 3, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Like… a mini whoopie pie made with shortbread? I’m in!

  • Reply mali December 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I would not assure anyone that boiling a can of condensed milk is safe. It’s only safe if you make absolutely sure the can is fully covered with water the entire length of the cooking time–the water can never, ever, boil away because the can will explode. You will have dulce de leche on your walls and ceiling, believe me. So if you think you are likely to walk away and forget about what’s on your stove–understandable given the length of cooking time required–simply don’t attempt it. I grew up with a Cuban mom who always made us dulce de leche this way, and it’s delicious (at least to Hispanics like us who have a real sweet treat–it’s usually too much for Americans, in my experience). But please don’t underestimate the need for vigilance when you’re making something like this.

  • Reply Kitty December 3, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Bravo! Your pics are beautiful…and yummy too!:)

  • Reply Nik December 3, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    These are darn cute!

    I’m also very terrible with math. Solidarity, sister.

  • Reply Taelin December 5, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Perfection! Can’t wait to try this recipe! xx

  • Reply percentblog December 5, 2011 at 5:48 am

    This look delicious and seem like a great respite from the sugar cookies and chocolate desserts of Christmas time, while still being a great sweet treat.

  • Reply Maria December 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I love everything and anything mini! I’ve posted this to my Mexican food blog and I hope you’ll check it out! Have a great day, Maria

  • Reply Monica @ Soirees & Such December 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I didn’t know you made dulce de leche this way!! I’ll definitely give it a try!

  • Reply Yum Alert: Mini Alfajores | The Luxury Spot December 5, 2011 at 11:01 pm

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  • Reply Josie December 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    You can burst into my office anytime covered in flour asking how many grams 3/4 cups of flour weighs. However, you will be met with further questions related to relative humidity and protein content (all purpose, cake, bread or whole wheat flour). It’s kinda what I do every day. But with potatoes and french fries. Yeah. Being a Food Scientist is fun! πŸ˜€

  • Reply HoneyFor Jam December 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Dulce De Leche, wow they look delicious! Is there anything better than condensed milk….I love it!

  • Reply Traci December 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    These look seriously absolutely amazing. And are DEFINITELY finding their way to my Christmas cookie plate this year! One question: how would they do if you froze them after assembly?

    On another note… your nail polish posts kind of make my day. No joke. My life is totally complete now that glitter nail polish is back in.

    • Reply Adrianna December 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm

      Hi Traci, I’m actually not sure if they’ll freeze well. Something tells me no due to the dulce de leche. But if you try it be sure to let me know if they do! I’m super curious.


  • Reply Lee December 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    I did a trial run of these last weekend to see if they’d make the cut for a cookie exchange I’m attending next weekend. They were fabulous! I used a 1 1/2″ star shaped cookie cutter to make them more seasonal. My taste testers were going gaga over them! Five stars!!

  • Reply 57 Holiday Baking, Drinks & Gift Recipes β€” Savvy Eats December 17, 2011 at 7:24 pm

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  • Reply Alesha December 17, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    omg, just made these for my Christmas treats plates!! AMAZING….Thank you for the recipe, and your pics that make me want to make everything because it all looks so dang delicious!!

  • Reply Let Me Eat Cake December 20, 2011 at 2:59 am

    i want these like right now!

  • Reply Jess December 28, 2011 at 6:34 am

    My mom loves alfajores, I’m so glad I found this recipe πŸ™‚

  • Reply Erin January 4, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I made these over the holidays! They were SO delicious! My can exploded a little when I opened it, despite the fact that I read your warning. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Melissa Klotz January 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Only six ingredients? WOW!

    • Reply Adrianna January 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      It’s how I roll! (Sometimes.)

  • Reply Anna January 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    We used to refer to boiling a can of condensed milk as “Danger Pudding” when I was growing up in the south. Love this idea, though!

  • Reply Johnna December 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Next time you make these could I swing by and have one or could you drop off a few??? I’ll make you hot chocolate or buy you a Lamill latte in return! (: xx

  • Reply Kelsey December 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I made these as part of my Christmas cookie package and they were amazingly delicious despite the fact that the cookie part didn’t turn out quite right. The cookies spread out a little as the were baking and were kind of webby towards the edges – there were little holes you could see right through. Not sure if I’m explaining it in any helpful manner – but I’m still gonna ask if you know why that happened/what I can do to prevent it.

    • Reply Adrianna December 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Kelsey, I made this exact recipe a few days ago and they didn’t spread very much. Generally cookies spread for two reasons: 1. The dough is too warm. 2. or higher altitudes. Was the cookie dough very warm by the time it went in the oven? That might’ve been the culprit. Sorry this recipe gave you trouble!

  • Reply Sally January 9, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Hi, Adrianna. I really like your blog. A question on the recipe as written. You call for a teaspoon of vanilla in the ingredient list but I don’t see reference to it in the directions list. Did I overlook it? (I ended up adding the vanilla after I creamed the butter and sugar.) Also, in calling for fine granulated sugar, do you mean the common granulated sugar or baker’s sugar (superfine?)?

    • Reply Adrianna January 10, 2013 at 8:25 am

      Hi Sally, Let me fix the vanilla note. Sorry about that! But you’re correct, you’re supposed to add it after creaming the butter and sugar. Yes, fine granulated sugar is the white sugar you’re used to using.

      • Reply Sally January 10, 2013 at 11:57 am

        Thanks, Adrianna! I made the dough and cut out the cookies last night. (I used a 1 1/2 inch fluted cookie cutter.) I baked and filled them this morning. At least five people asked me which bakery I bought them from. This is a great recipe. (Next time I’ll make my own dulce de lech – I used bottled from an Argentine market.)

  • Reply Sandy Johnson October 10, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Hi Adrianna. I just made the homemade dulce de leche and the cookies. I need both to stay fresh to serve in three weeks for a school project. Can I freeze the assembled cookies?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme October 12, 2013 at 8:43 am

      Hi Sandy, I hope my response isn’t too late. I don’t think the assembled cookies will freeze well. I have a feeling the dulce de leche is gonna do weird things when frozen. In the future you can freeze the cookie dough, boil the can of dulce de leche (and then don’t open it) and assemble them the day of.

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  • Reply leslie February 22, 2019 at 10:29 am

    hi! half an inch thickness seems a lot…do they sink in size?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme February 28, 2019 at 9:17 am

      they don’t. you’re welcome to roll them to 1/4-inch if you like. they’re a bit difficult to move around at that thickness but give it a try! πŸ™‚