I just love Alfajores!!! I was born in Lima, Peru and I remember when I was little my grandmother making them and the whole house smelling like pastry and my cousins and I running to the third floor where my grandmother had her kitchen and just waited until the cookies came out of the oven and watch my grandmother put them together with manjar blanco (Dulce de leche). It was just amazing, every single bodega (store) in Lima sold alfajores wrapped individually in parchment paper for an equal or lesser amount of a US quarter.
But many people think that Alfajores originated in Latin America...well, that is incorrect. The 'alfajor' is actually a traditional Arabic confection called 'Alaju' that was brought to Spain by an Arab general named Musa Ibn Nusair during the conquest of Medina Sidonia, Alcala de Guadaira and Carmona. The name Alfajor originated from the Nebrija-Spanish Dictionary as 'alfaxor' or alaxur'.
Alfajores presence became known in Southern Spain during the 12 and 13th centuries being developed in Andalucia 'Cuidad de los Gitanos' (City of Gypsies). Alfajores were brought to Venezuela and Peru first by the Spaniards and then made itself known through out all Latin America.
I do hope that you have enjoy this bit of history and that you will also enjoy this great recipe.
3/4 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (2 1/2 stick)
2 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 cups of corn starch
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powderdulce de leche
1. Preheat oven at 350° F
2. Line cookie baking sheet with parchment paper
3. Mix sugar and butter until light and fluffy
4. Add lemon zest
5. Sift all purpose flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder and baking soda together
6. Add sifted dry ingredients to the butter mixture, do not over mix
7. Roll out the dough, using as little flour as possible, about 1/4 inch thick
8. Cut with a small round cookie cutter
9. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet
10. Bake for 8-10 minutes
11. Remove cookies immediately to cool on a wire rack
12. Once cookies are cooled, spread cookie with a teaspoon of Dulce De Leche, then sandwich together with another cookie
13. Roll the sides in the shredded coconut