Last Updated on August 19, 2023
Alfajores de Maicena are a traditional Latin American cookie made with cornstarch, butter, sugar and eggs. The cookies are often filled with dulce de leche and then covered in desiccated coconut.
They are soft and crumbly on the inside and have a delicious sweet flavor that you won’t be able to resist.
This recipe includes everything you need to make the perfect Alfajores de Maicena, including step-by-step instructions and tips to help you make the most of this tasty dish. So, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What is the Alfajores de Maicena?
Alfajores de Maicena, a type of Latin American cookie made with cornstarch, butter, sugar and eggs is believed to have originated in the Middle East before being brought to Spain by the Moors during the 8th century. Later on in the 16th century, it was taken to South America by Spanish conquistadors and has since become a beloved dessert in the area.
These are the sweet, buttery and crumbly cookies with a hint of vanilla. The texture is soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. When filled with dulce de leche and rolled in desiccated coconut , they have a unique and delicious flavor that will be sure to please even the pickiest of palates.
I was first introduced to these cookies when I visited Argentina as part of a student trip. We were served them in small cafes where they were served as an after-dinner treat. The flavor and texture of the cookie was unlike anything I had ever tasted before and I instantly fell in love with them.
After coming back to US, I decided to try and recreate these cookies in my own kitchen. After a few trial-and-errors, I eventually perfected the recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation in Argentina.
It tastes so good that even my non-Latin friends enjoy it and can’t keep their hands off of them.
How to make Alfajores de Maicena?
Making these delicious cookies is easy and only takes a few simple steps. Keep in mind the key here is to ensure that all of the ingredients are at room temperature and that you mix them together properly for best results.
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- Baking powder: Incorporate this to create a lighter texture.
- Egg yolk: Adding an egg yolk with a whole egg yields a richer shortbread.
- Egg: Included as a binding agent, utilize fresh and free-range eggs for best results.
- Vanilla Extract: Opt for quality natural vanilla extract/essence, not the artificial kind.
- Cornflour: Also referred to as cornstarch, this is what makes the shortbread cookies melt in your mouth.
- Caster Sugar: Commonly known as superfine sugar, finer textured sugar mixes into the butter more easily than standard sugar.
- Butter: I choose salted butter for this recipe (gasp!), as I find the subtle taste complements the sweet dulce de leche nicely. Unsalted butter can also be used if preferred.
- Coconut: Desiccated coconut is used to coat the finished alfajores de maicena in dulce de leche. This is an optional step if coconut isn’t a favorite.
- Plain Flour: Plain flour should be used, no self-raising flour or baking powder should be substituted in this recipe.
- Condensed Milk : A can of condensed milk is necessary to make the homemade dulce de leche.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line two baking trays with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, egg and egg yolk until creamy and pale in colour.
Sift in the cornflour, plain flour and baking powder and mix together until the dough comes together.
Divide the dough into two balls, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one of the balls to a thickness of around 5mm (0.2 inches).
Using a round cookie cutter (or the rim of a glass), cut circles of dough out and place onto one of the baking trays.
With the remaining dough, re-roll and repeat until all the dough is used up.
Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown, then remove from oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Once the biscuits have cooled, spread a teaspoon of dulce de leche onto half of them.
And sandwich with remaining biscuits.
Roll in desiccated coconut to finish off.
• If you’re not a fan of coconut then feel free to omit it from the recipe or substitute for something else, like icing sugar or melted chocolate.
• For an even tastier result, use homemade dulce de leche instead of store-bought.
Alfajores de Maicena Recipe
- stand mixer or electric beaters
- Rolling Pin
- baking tray /cookie sheet
- 125 grams (½ cup) butter at room temperature
- 115 grams (½ cup) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 150 grams (1 cup) plain flour
- dulce de leche
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 150 grams (1¼ cups) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- desiccated coconut for rolling
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line two baking trays with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, egg and egg yolk until creamy and pale in colour.
- Sift in the cornflour, plain flour and baking powder and mix together until the dough comes together.
- Divide the dough into two balls, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one of the balls to a thickness of around 5mm (0.2 inches).
- Using a round cookie cutter (or the rim of a glass), cut circles of dough out and place onto one of the baking trays.
- With the remaining dough, re-roll and repeat until all the dough is used up.
- Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown, then remove from oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Once the biscuits have cooled, spread a teaspoon of dulce de leche onto half of them.
- And sandwich with remaining biscuits.
- Roll in desiccated coconut to finish off.
- If you’re not a fan of coconut then feel free to omit it from the recipe or substitute for something else, like icing sugar or melted chocolate.
- For an even tastier result, use homemade dulce de leche instead of store-bought.
Each alfajor contains approximately Calories: 130kcal
Saturated Fat: 3g
Vitamin A: 181IU
What to serve with Alfajores de Maicena?
Alfajores de Maicena are a great treat that can be enjoyed on their own or served with coffee, tea, hot chocolate or even an Argentine tereré. They also pair nicely with ice cream and whipped cream for a special dessert. If you want to make the experience even more special, try serving them with some traditional Argentinian mate or a glass of Malbec.
How to store Alfajores de Maicena?
You can store Alfajores de Maicena in an airtight container to maintain their freshness and texture. The cookies can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To help keep them from drying out, place a piece of bread inside the container (it will act as a humidity absorber).
If you want to extend their shelf life, you can freeze them in an airtight container or zip-lock bag for up to 3 months.
When ready to serve the cookies, just thaw at room temperature before serving.
Can pregnant women eat this?
Yes, pregnant women can eat Alfajores de Maicena. These cookies are generally considered safe to eat during pregnancy since they do not contain any ingredients that should be avoided such as raw eggs or unpasteurized dairy products.
However, it is important to note that all desserts and snacks should be enjoyed in moderation. As with any food, it is best to practice moderation and listen to your body’s signals while eating.
If you experience any discomfort or adverse effects after eating Alfajores de Maicena, it is best to stop consuming them immediately.
Additionally, pregnant women should be sure to check the ingredients list when purchasing store-bought Alfajores de Maicena.
Are Alfajores de Maicena gluten-free?
Alfajores de Maicena are not traditionally gluten-free, as they contain both plain flour and cornflour which contains gluten. However, it is possible to make a gluten-free version by substituting the plain flour with a certified gluten-free alternative, such as almond flour or coconut flour.
Can I use other types of sugar instead of caster sugar?
Yes, you can substitute caster sugar with light brown sugar if desired. However, it is important to note that the texture and taste of the final product may be slightly different from the original recipe .
Is it necessary to refrigerate the dough before baking?
Yes, it is important to refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking. This helps to firm up the butter so that it does not spread too much during baking, as well as firms up the dough so that it can hold its shape. Refrigerating also allows time for the flavours of the ingredients to infuse into the dough, resulting in a richer final product.
Alfajores de Maicena are a traditional Argentinian cookie that is made with cornflour, plain flour, butter, sugar, egg and vanilla extract. The biscuits are sandwiched together with homemade dulce de leche and rolled in desiccated coconut for an added touch of sweetness.
Perfect for any occasion, these cookies are sure to be a hit with everyone. With easy-to-follow instructions and simple ingredients, anyone can make Alfajores de Maicena at home in no time. Enjoy them on their own or pair them with a cup of coffee, tea or Argentinian tereré – the choice is yours!
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