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A square picture with a stack of alfajores on a white plate dusted with powdered sugar.


Traditional alfajores are a South American dessert made with tender shortbread cookies and a gooey dulce de leche center.

Course Snack
Cuisine South American
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Chilling time 1 hour
Total 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 18 sandwich cookies
Calories 244 kcal
Author Michelle


  • cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting work surface
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter chilled and cubed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Dulce de Leche chilled
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  • Shredded coconut for rolling


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, powdered sugar, and cornstarch; set aside.

  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

  4. Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract, and salt, and mix until combined and smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until the dough just comes together. This may take a few minutes, as the mixture will go from looking sandy to seeing small clumps, and then it will eventually come together into a dough.

  6. Separate the dough in half and work with one piece at a time. Roll the dough ¼-inch thick on a well-floured surface. Using a plain round or fluted round 2-inch cutter, cut out the cookies and place them on the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch of space between cookies. Reroll any scraps and continue cutting rounds.

  7. Bake until slightly firm and set, 11 to 14 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  8. Assemble the Alfajores: Spread about 1½ teaspoons of dulce de leche on the bottom of half of the cookies, then top with the remaining cookies. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. You can also roll the sides in shredded coconut, if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • Equipment: Round cutters (plain or fluted)
  • Specialty Ingredient: Dulce de Leche (purchase at a grocery store, online, or use instructions in the post above to make your own)
  • Shredded Coconut Alternatives: You can also roll the cookies in the following: sprinkles, chopped nuts, shaved chocolate, or dip in melted chocolate.
  • Make-Ahead: If you are planning to make these in advance I would break it down by making the cookies up to 3 days ahead of time
  • Dulce de Leche Prep: If you are making the dulce de leche you can prep it up to 3 weeks in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They will get a bit soggy towards the end as the cookies absorb the dulce de leche.
  • Freezing: Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 244 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 40mg13%
Sodium 3mg0%
Potassium 34mg1%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 475IU10%
Calcium 9mg1%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.