This recipe is a great debt that I had with you. I had pushed it back over and over again and I finally got around to making it! These Peruvian alfajores filled with manjar blanco are absolutely delicious. They melt in your mouth almost instantly and are a true addiction.
I have a nickname for these alfajores and it’s “toothless alfajores”. The reason is that you don’t need teeth to eat them! They’re extremely soft and they melt away with the slightest push against your palate. Before this, I actually wasn’t in love with these alfajores that are made with flour because I thought they weren’t soft enough. That’s why I prefered much more my cornstarch alfajores. However, I have now been converted! I love both now. I don’t know if that’s good or bad for my figure, but it’s definitely great for my soul, lol.
For these alfajores, I made a condensed milk “manjar Blanco” (that’s what we call it in Peru) or dulce de leche. It’s made within the can of condensed milk directly. This is another option for the regular Peruvian manjar blanco which is much more attention-demanding. This one takes longer but you don’t have to be stirring the whole time like the other one. The only thing you need to bear in mind is that you need to check on it every 20-30 minutes and top up the water if needed. You can also do this in an electric pressure cooker such as an Instant Pot which is much easier. Check the recipe notes for that procedure. In terms of flavour, the condensed milk can procedure gets a more caramelized flavour and the manjar blanco is a bit milkier.
This recipe for Peruvian alfajores has really made me struggle in the development process. Whenever I start to develop a recipe I already have in mind how I want it to taste and feel. Add to this that I’m a perfectionist and yo have a perfect storm! In total, I tested 6 versions of recipes to get to this one and honestly, no regrets! At one point I have achieved a really yummy cookie but it domed when baked, like a tiny hat. To counteract that I added an egg yolk and a bit of water and that was enough to stabilize the dough. I have to say that the recipe is delicate, with many tips and times that you need to respect, but I promise the result is worth it.
Para las tapitas
- 150 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp water
- 250 g all-purpose flour
For the condensed milk "manjar blanco" / dulce de leche
- 1 can condensed milk 390-400g
For the cookies
- Mix the butter, icing sugar and salt in a bowl using a whisk.
- Add the egg yolk and water and also mix them in using the whisk.
- Add the flour and mix using a spatula. When the spatula doesn't help anymore, finish mixing with your hands. Be aware to not over-mix because they can turn tough.
- Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper until it's 3mm thick. The dough is really soft, so rolling it between paper is necessary.
- Place the rolled out dough in the fridge for 2 hours or a maximum of 2 days. Once that time is up, remove the dough from the fridge and cut the cookies using a cutter. Cut the cookies really close to each other so that you don't have to roll out as much dough.
- Place the cookies on a tray lined with baking paper (it can be the same paper from before), silpat or nothing if the tray is non-stick. Place the cookies on the tray. As they come back to room temperature they will start to turn soft, you'll need a small spatula to lift them off. If it gets too complicated you can just return them to the fridge for 15-30 minutes or until it's hard again.
- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes at 180°C / 350°F or until they have a light gold colour. At the 5 minute mark give them a look. If by chance you see that some of the cookies have one or two bubbles, poke just the ones that need it with a fork. Continue with the rest of the baking process as normal.
- Remove them from the oven and let them cool down completely before filling them. Repeat with the rest of the dough. This time it will only need 20-30 minutes in the fridge to get hard again.
For the condensed milk "manjar blanco" / dulce de leche
- For the condensed milk dulce de leche, first, remove the tag from the can. Place the can in a pot with water at room temperature. You need enough water to cover the can plus 2 fingers of water above it. The can needs to be covered all the time.***
- Cover the pot with its lid and place it over medium heat. From the moment it starts to boil, lower the heat to medium-low and let it cook for 2 hours. If you see that the level of water has decreased, fill it up. It should always cover the can.
- Be very careful when doing this because if by any chance you forget about it and the water fully evaporates, the can could explode.
- Once ready, remove the can from the pot and let it cool down completely before opening it. If you open it while hot, there will be manjar blanco splashing everywhere.
For the assembly
- Place the manjar blanco in a pastry bag and fill up the alfajores. Be careful because the cookies are very delicate :).
- If you want to pack them up in, say, a box, it's best to leave them out for at least a couple of hours so that the outside of the manjar blanco dries up a bit and thus resist more inside packaging. Besides that, I have to add that they are even more delicious the day after making them… but I don't think they'll last that long!
I am Peruvian and every recipe I kept finding included cornstarch! Im so glad I found these, took them to a potluck and everybody loved them!! If I may ask, have you baked a big torta de alfajor yet? If so may I ask the instructions for baking those? Thank you so much for sharing!
I have 🙂 Here it goes: https://cravingsjournal.com/?s=alfajor