Habemus Papam

Today we have a brand new Pope; Francisco I. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Buenos Aires was elected this March 13 as the 266 º Pope of the Catholic Church.

To celebrate this event I leave you with a delicious Argentinian dessert, Alfajores (this is a repost from 2011). Catholic or not, I’m sure you will love these.

alfajores
Alfajores

This is another Hispanic delight that comes with an origin denomination: Argentina.

But truth be told the alfajores came to America from Spain, during the conquest, and before that they originated at the Arabic cuisine. Its name comes from the term “al-hasú” that means “filling”.

You will need two things, Shortbread Cookies and Dulce de Leche (milk caramel). To make dulce de leche takes time, I will give you the procedure, but you can either buy a can of it or make it yourself by simply cooking a can of sweetened condensed milk until thick and golden colored (3 to 4 hours).

 Ingredients

Shortbread cookies

  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup (60 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Milk Caramel

  • 4 cups (1 quart) (1 liter) whole milk (cow’s or goat’s milk)
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

IMGP0814

Directions

Shortbread cookies

In one bowl whisk the flour with the salt and in the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer); beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF) with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is about ¼ inch thick. Using a lightly floured 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Place on the baking sheets and place in the fridge for about 15 minutes. (This will firm the cookies so they maintain their shape when baked.) Bake 7 – 10 minutes, or until cookies are brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack. Shortbread cookies with keep in an airtight container for about a week.

IMGP0815

Milk Caramel (Dulce de Leche)

Put the milk, sugar, corn syrup, baking soda and salt in a heavy-duty 8 quart (8 liter) saucepan or Dutch oven. Place over medium-high heat and bring just to a boil. Watch carefully, and as soon as the milk begins to foam up, stir with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, and reduce heat until the milk is just at a low rolling boil. Continue to cook the milk, stirring the bottom and sides of the saucepan frequently, until the mixture becomes very thick and sticky and caramel colored (this will take about 40 – 60 minutes). It is important to frequently stir the milk so it does not burn.

Note: There are several stages the milk goes through during the cooking process. When the milk first comes to a boil there is a lot of foam. Eventually the foam subsides and after about 15 minutes, the milk turns a light beige color. As it continues to cook, the milk thickens and gets darker in color. Once the Dulce de Leche has been reduced to about 1 ¼ cups (300 ml) remove from heat and strain. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool before covering and storing. The Dulce de Leche can be stored in the fridge for a month.

Assembly

Take two shortbread cookies and sandwich them together with a heaping teaspoon of Dulce de Leche. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with confectioner’s sugar. They can be covered and stored for a few days in the fridge.

Source: Joy of baking

20 thoughts on “Habemus Papam

  1. seems so delicious… Today I made cupcakes but not happened nice… I will try again tomorrow🙂 I am not good in the kitchen. Celebrate to this day! Thanks and Love, nia

  2. Great excitement – let’s hope some good changes are on the way for the world.Perhaps you should send him over a portion of these to help him…I’m sure he’d be thrilled!

    1. Jajaja! Gracias Tanya! Si, ha sido muy emocionante, sobretodo para los niños, que hace 8 años con Benedicto todavía eran demasiado pequeños como para darse cuenta de lo que pasaba…

  3. Ended up on the Spanish version, I think it was … I just love when I read about cakes, cookies, desserts … with no calories. Wonderful … eye candy this.

    1. Yes, it was the Spanish version, but now you are in the right place… Bad news, if yuo are looking for a no calories dessert, this is not the one for you😉 But they work wonderfully as eye candies😉
      Thanks for your comment!

      1. Was only …. joking about about the calories … give me a cake or dessert that dosen’t have calories and if they don’t have calories … it taste terrible.
        Haven’t met a calorie that I don’t like *smile

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