Alfajores are a favourite typical Peruvian food of mine. In a country not famed for its desserts, these small round biscuits have raised spirits on many a long afternoon here in the office. The instant sugar rush from these sweet delights kicks up your energy levels and combines perfectly with a cup of tea. Of course with any sugar rush, there is an even bigger drop. So the only answer is to have a good supply of them to keep you topped up.
Where to try Alfajores
Sold in bakeries throughout Peru but South America and Spain you can find some average ones and some delicious ones. They are also often sold pre-packaged but these just are not as nice. As with most baking, the nicer the cake shop the better a product will probably be. But sometimes home baked and still slightly warm out the oven just cannot be beaten. I had some the other day at a party, and they reminded me of the biscuits we used to bake for the school fete. There is something about biscuits transported in quantity in a tupperware box that just loses a little bit of the flavour.
As with much typical peruvian food, these were brought to the continent by the Spanish some 500 years ago. And again, as with so many things that the Spanish brought, they have their origins in the Moors, the Muslim peoples of Morocco, Algeria and nearby countries.
You can do these in a mixer or by hand.
Cream half a cup of butter and third of a cup of sugar till light and fluffy.
Mix in two egg yolks and half a teaspoon of vanilla
Slowly mix in half a teaspoon of baking powder, half teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and 2 cups of flour. NB most recipes use about half cornflour and half plain flour.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put in the fridge for an hour. Then take out and shape into round shapes a quarter of an inch thick and place on baking sheets with a bit of a flour dusting. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 12 mins.
Allow them to cool on a rack before sandwiching in pairs with dulce de leche and there you have it. Simple!