January’s Gin of the Month box has transported us straight to Amazonia, and we’re celebrating with everything the region has to offer, including alfajores the perfect snack for elevenses!
Think of alfajores as South America’s answer to the macaron: two buttery, light biscuits sandwiched together by thick, creamy dulce de leche. Cornflour is responsible for the dreamy, cloudlike cushiness of the biscuit, and with a dusting of powdered sugar on top, this shortbread seems to melt away in your mouth. We dare you to eat just one!
Despite the multitude of cultures weaving through the countries of South America, the continent is united by a serious passion for sweet desserts. We’ve infused some gin in the beloved recipe.
Alfajores With Gin Dulce De Leche
1.Begin by preparing your dulce de leche. Remove the label from a tin of condensed milk and pop the whole tin into a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour and a half, ensuring that water always covers the lid of the tin. Using tongs, flip the tin and leave to simmer for another hour and a half. After three hours total, turn the heat off and let the water come to room temperature before removing the tin.
2. Meanwhile, make your biscuits. Sift together the cornflour, flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder, and set aside.
3. In either a mixer or large bowl, beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, tangerine zest and vanilla extract and beat together until combined.
4. Beat in the flour mixture until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
5. Lightly knead the crumbly mixture to form a dough and shape into a ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.
6. Roll the dough out on either a floured worktop or between two sheets of parchment paper until it is 0.5cm thick. Cut into rounds with a small cookie cutter and lay out onto a parchment-covered baking tray.
7. Preheat the oven to 180C and return the cookies to the fridge for 10 minutes to prevent them from spreading during baking.
8. Cook for around 8 minutes, until the edges are just going golden, and then remove from the oven and leave to cool.
9. To make your filling, mix together the dulce de leche, gin and spices. Spoon a couple of teaspoons of this filling onto a cookie. Sprinkle a couple of flakes of sea salt on top, and then press together with another cookie.
10. Repeat with the remaining mixture, then decorate by rolling the edges in desiccated coconut, dusting with icing sugar or dipping into melted chocolate for a truly indulgent treat!
For the dulce de leche filling:
400g tin of condensed milk/dulce
1 ½ tbsp gin
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
For the shortbread biscuits:
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp baking powder
4 medium egg yolks
Zest of 2 tangerines
1 tsp vanilla extract
To decorate, either:
Shredded or desiccated coconut
400g plain chocolate