★★★★★

Alfajores Cookies

Make traditional Latin American cookies at home! Buttery shortbread cookies are sandwiched with dulce de leche and a sprinkle of coconut in this easy Alfajores cookie recipe.

Love cookies? Be sure to try our classic chocolate chip cookie recipe first. Or give our melt in your mouth chocolate chip shortbread cookies a whirl next.

Stack of alfajores cookies on a black plate.

Alfajores are sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche caramel and rolled in coconut. They’re eaten in dozens of Latin American countries, but especially beloved in Argentina and other regions of South America.

The tender, melt-in-your mouth texture of Alfajores (or “alfies”) sets these sweet treats apart from the crowd. The soft and delicate crumb yields instantly when you take a bite, allowing ribbons of milky caramel to escape into your mouth.

Don’t let their fancy name fool you. These are as easy to make as shortbread cookies!

All that dulce de leche makes these cookies super sweet and rich —perfect for sharing with friends over a cup of strong black coffee!

Alfajores cookie assembled with coconut being pressed to sides of cookie.

Ingredient Notes

  • Cornstarch reduces the amount of flour needed in these cookies to give them a soft, tender consistency.
  • Powdered sugar sweetens the cookies without altering the delicate consistency of the dough.
  • Unsalted Butter is essential for a rich flavor and that melt-in-your mouth quality! We use a full stick of butter for these cookies.
  • Dulce de leche is a sweet, thick caramel sauce made from condensed milk. It’s sold in cans at most well stocked grocery stores and Latin markets.
  • Shredded coconut isn’t included in all Alfajores recipes, but we love the variety of texture and flavor it adds. You can use sweetened, unsweetened or even toasted coconut. Whichever you prefer!

Tips and Tricks

Step by step photos showing how to make alfajores cookies.
  • Chill the dough. After mixing together the Alfajores dough, roll it out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the whole thing in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  • Cut out cookies evenly. I use this biscuit cutter set to create perfectly round, evenly sized cookies. You can also use this traditional alfajores cookie cutter for the more intricate design.
  • Use a frosting bag. While you can use a spoon to add the dulce de leche to your Alfajores, a piping bag (or ziploc bag with a corner snipped off) makes life so much easier (and cuts down on the mess).
  • Storage. Alfajores can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container. If your home is too warm, the dulce de leche may drip out of cookie, so storage in a refrigerator can be done instead.

How to Make Alfajores without Tools

Alfajores dough rolled into a log to slice and bake.

No cookie cutter? No problem. You can create dulce de leche cookies as a slice and bake treat instead.

  • Instead of rolling the cookie dough onto parchment paper, create logs of dough (like in our icebox cookie recipe). Log of dough should be about 2 1/2 inches around.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Slice into 1/4-inch slices and bake as above.
  • Fill with dulce de leche and add coconut as directed.
Stack of three dulce de leche cookies on white counter.

Recipe FAQs

Why are my Alfajores hard?

Adding too much flour to the dough is a common reason Alfajores end up hard and crunchy rather than delicate and buttery. My guide for How to Measure Flour includes best practices for helping you measure flour accurately for baking success.

What can I serve with Alfajores?

Traditionally, Alfajores are enjoyed with black coffee to balance the ultra sweetness of the cookies. In Argentina, it’s common to enjoy an Alfajor in the morning with a cup of yerba mate (a strong, highly caffeinated tea).

Do they need to be kept refrigerated?

Alfajores do not need to be refrigerated. However, if your home runs warm, you may want to refrigerate them so the dulce de leche stays firm between the cookies.

Can I make these without coconut?

Absolutely! While I love the taste of the coconut on these pastries, Alfajores are often made sans coconut. You’ll love them just as much on their own!

Yield: 24 Cookie Sandwiches

Alfajores Cookies

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 22 minutes

Make traditional Latin American cookies at home! Buttery shortbread cookies are sandwiched with dulce de leche and a sprinkle of coconut in this easy Alfajores cookie recipe.

Ingredients

For the Cookie Dough

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 Tablespoons (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Filling

  • 1 can (13.4 ounce) dulce de leche
  • ⅓ cup shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and baking powder.
  2. To the bowl, add in the softened butter, mixing until combined (using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer). Mixture will resemble coarse crumbs.
  3. Add in eggs and vanilla extract. Mix on medium-low speed until the dough is combined (the consistency of shortbread dough).
  4. Roll the dough on parchment paper until ¼-inch thick. Slide parchment onto a baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Remove from refrigerator, and using a 2-inch biscuit cutter to cut circles. Place on baking sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes, until edges begin to lightly brown.
  7. Remove from oven and cool completely before filling.
  8. Fill a piping bag with the dulce de leche. Add about 1-2 Tablespoons per cookie sandwich. Be sure to pipe all the way to edges to allow the coconut to stick.
  9. Dip edges into shredded coconut, if desired. Store in refrigerator until dulce de leche hardens, about 30 minutes.

Notes

  • No cookie cutter? No problem. Instead of rolling the coolie dough onto parchment paper, create logs of dough (like in our icebox cookie recipe). Log of dough should be about 2 ½ inches around. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Slice into ¼-inch slices and bake as above.
  • Chill the dough. After mixing together the Alfajores dough, roll it out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the whole thing in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  • Cut out cookies evenly. I use this biscuit cutter set to create perfectly round, evenly sized cookies. You can also use this traditional alfajores cookie cutter for the more intricate design.
  • Use a frosting bag. While you can use a spoon to add the dulce de leche to your Alfajores, a piping bag (or ziploc bag with a corner snipped off) makes life so much easier (and cuts down on the mess). Instead of piping the dulce de leche, use a small metal cookie scoop. Each cookie will get the exact same amount of filling (about 1.5 Tablespoons).
  • Storage. Alfajores can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container. If your home is too warm, the dulce de leche may drip out of cookie, so storage in a refrigerator can be done instead.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 94Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 61mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

If you love sweet caramel and shortbread, Alfajores are ready to become your new favorite cookies!

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on May 5, 2022

Comments & Reviews

    1. Either one will work great (the cookies are sweet enough). But I tend to use sweetened coconut.

  1. Hi Aimee,
    After I bake these cookies can I just leave them plain? or use some other filling?
    Thank You

    1. You can leave them plain, however they are slightly different in texture and flavor than shortbread. If leaving plain, I would add some lemon zest to the dough.

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