Alfajores (Al-fa-ho-res) are a South American type of shortbread sandwich cookie that are filled with dulce de leche (caramel filling). These delicious cookies can trace their origin back to the Moorish occupation of Andalusia, Spain and the great culinary traditions of the Mediterranean Basin. As per some Spanish culinary experts, the cookies were first composed of dried fruit preserves rolled in carefully prepared dough then rolled in an assortment of nuts or sugar.
With the Spanish conquest of the Americas came one of the greatest culinary exchanges in history. The Spaniards brought with them their foods and traditions, and it was just a matter of time before each region the American Continent developed their own style of cooking, taking a little from both the native and conquering cultures and a great deal of improvisation to create what we now known as Mexican, Peruvian, Argentinean, Chilean, Nicaraguan, Californian, or Cuban Cuisine to name just a few.
With time each region of the Americas adapted the Spanish Alfajor and made it their own. For example, in Argentina and Peru alone, there are over 15 varieties of the same basic cookie. In Nicaragua, the Alfajor is made with cornmeal, molasses, and cocoa resembling a brownie or fluffy energy bar.
No matter where you go in Latin America, you will find a local version of an Alfajor, and everyone will tell you they have the "Original Alfajor". Little do they know the history of this cookie stretches back hundreds of years across continents.
Through research, we have been able to trace the recipe to the late 1800's to what is now Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.
Sweet on dulce de leche? Try these Alfajores - sugar cookies that are filled with dulce de leche and covered with chocolate or just drenched in confectioners' sugar. A classic Latin American dessert.