These caramel sandwiches take a little effort to prepare, but it's well worth it

Alfajores

Alfajores pose a bit of a translation challenge. They are delicious shortbread sandwiches filled with a uniquely well-loved South American treat, dulce de leche - a caramel-like substance just on the right side of being sickly sweet! Encased in biscuit and dusted with a sprinkling of sugar, it's unbeatable in this winning combination that is popular across the whole of the continent.

To make the dulce de leche:
If you can't get hold of it tinned (as the Latin Americans do), worry not as it's simple to make: just combine one can of sweetened condensed milk and one can of evaporated milk in a saucepan and cook gently over a medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring steadily, until thick and caramelised. Yum!

To make the biscuits:
200g unsalted butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg
2 egg yolks
5 cups plain flour
4 tablespoons honey
1/2 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
confectioner's sugar

1. Blend the butter with sugar, egg and yolks in an electric mixer using the whisk attachment.
2. In another bowl mix the flour, honey, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and vanilla.
3. Carefully combine the two mixtures and work the dough until there are no remaining lumps. 
4. Let the dough rest for at least half an hour - the longer it is left, the easier it will be to work with.
5. Cover a chopping board with flour and roll it out to a half centimetre thickness using a rolling pin.
6. Cut biscuits of around 5cm in diameter with a biscuit cutter and place on a prepared baking tray.
7. Bake for 10 minutes in a pre-heated oven at around 180°C until the biscuits begin to brown, then let them cool on a wire rack.
8. Spread roughly a tablespoon of dulce de leche on one biscuit and cover with another to make a sandwich. Repeat until all the bisuits are used up.
9. Dust with confectioner's sugar, then devour.

Variations:
A popular alternative to the sugar dusting is to cover the biscuits with melted chocolate.
It is also common to roll the biscuits sideways in desicated coconut so that the coconut pieces stick to the overflowing dulce de leche.

Image: technicolorkitcheninenglish.blogspot.com


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