Sweets & Dessert

Billionaire Alfajores with Toasted Coconut

Horizontal stack of alfajores cookies

Step aside, Bezos. There’s a new king in town. All hail the Billionaire Alfajores with Toasted Coconut! These soft, buttery, crumbly cookies sandwich a thick layer of homemade dulce de leche and are finished with a dark chocolate drizzle and toasted coconut. They are so rich and luxurious you’ll feel like a billion bucks the moment you sink your teeth in! This recipes adapts a personal Yuletide favorite: Millionaire Shortbread, with one of the most beloved cookies of lands abroad: Alfajores.

What are Alfajores?

A Brief History

Alfajor cookies have a long history and have been making appearances across the globe for centuries. In fact, the word alfajor, albeit using a different spelling, was first noted by a Spaniard in 1492. For all we know, Christopher Columbus had a fanny pack full of these bad boys when he arrived to the New World! …Okay, probably not. However, these cookies DID find their way to the New World and WOW, are we thankful!

Admittedly, these New World variations look a lot different than their European ancestors. While the Spanish variations are cylindrical confections made of breadcrumbs, flour, nuts, honey and spices, this Billionaire Alfajor recipe best resembles the cookies found in Latin America. These alfajores are a beloved cultural tradition and consist of two shortbread style cookies filled with dulce de leche. Today, they are gaining popularity all over the world but are best known in South American countries like Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.

Two Cookies are Better Than One

The only thing better than one cookie is two cookies. And the only thing better than two cookies is two cookies sandwiched with dulce de leche. Facts. The cookie dough for this Billionaire Alfajores recipe is a lot like a shortbread cookie: lots of butter, not too sweet, and easy as pie. (Or should we say cookie?). The main difference between this recipe and our go-to shortbread recipe is the addition of coconut flour (for flavor!) and cornstarch (for texture!). The addition of cornstarch to this recipe results in tender, melt-in-your-mouth cookies with a delicate, sandy crumb. They almost don’t need the dulce de leche. Almost.

Cutting the alfajores dough to prepare for baking

So, What is Dulce de Leche?

Dulce de Leche verses Caramel: What are the differences?

  • car·a·mel (noun): a sweet dessert sauce or candy made of sugar or sugar syrup that is cooked until browned. Butter and cream may be added to create softer, richer variations.
  • dul·ce de le·che (noun): candy made from milk; a Latin American confection made from slowly heating and reducing sweetened milk until non-enzymatic browning occurs

Dulce de leche is the gooey, caramelized confection made from sweetened condensed milk. Depending on which side of the Andes you fall on, you may know this sugary treat better as manjar blanco. Meaning “candy of milk”, dulce de leche (or manjar blanco for the Westerners) closely resembles caramel. Caramel, however, can be made quickly with nothing more than granulated sugar. To the contrary, the richer and creamier confection of dulce de leche takes several hours on the stovetop (or in the oven) to achieve the deep color and desired flavor. For the Billionaire Alfajores with Toasted Coconut, we like to cook the dulce de leche until it is deeply browned and a scoop-able thickness. While lighter, runnier dulce de leche makes a lovely dessert sauce – thick, shape-holding dulce de leche is essential for binding these alfajores together.

How to Make Homemade Dulce de Leche

3 Different Ways to Make Dulce de Leche from Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sure, you could buy the pre-made stuff but why not treat yourself to the endless pleasures of homemade dulce de leche sandwich cookies? Here are three of our favorite easy ways to make dulce de leche right in your own kitchen. Feel free to make a few cans ahead of time and keep them ready-to-go in the pantry for whenever inspiration strikes. Get the full instructions in our recipe below.

  1. Stovetop: Dulce de Leche can be made in the can on the stovetop! Even though is takes 3 – 5 hours to complete, this is the easiest method and produces creamy, lump-free candy. Check out our safety tips below!
  2. Oven: If you are not comfortable boiling the whole can of sweetened condensed milk, you can use the oven to make dulce de leche! With this method, you will transfer your sweetened condensed milk into an oven-safe dish. Cook the sweetened condensed milk in a water bath for several hours, stirring occasionally. This method is a great way to monitor the caramelization, coloring and thickness of your dulce de leche but can create a few scorched lumps.
  3. Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot: If you are tight on time the pressure cooker is the fastest method for making dulce de leche! The pressure cooker/instant pot can transform your sweetened condensed milk in just 40 minutes! This is our recommended way to make dulce de leche for billionaire alfajores! Keep reading for keeping it safe!
A spoonful od dulce de leche (manjar blanco).

Is it Safe to Boil a Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk? YES!

Safe Practices for Boiling Dulce do Leche on the Stovetop or Pressure Cooker

We understand you may be a little hesitant to throw that canned good on the fire for so long. However, we assure you it is totally safe and could not be any easier! Read these tips and tricks to ensure your safety!

  • Remove the label and sticky adhesive from the can of sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)!
  • Check the can for any dents, improper seals or deformities. DO NOT BOIL ANY DAMAGED CANS!
  • For the stovetop method: Lay the can on its side! Yup, the round part! Standing the can upright will result in a terrible rattling sound that WILL drive you cuckoo for the next 4 hours. *More of a sanity tip than a safety tip, we suppose.
  • Make sure the can is CONSTANTLY covered with water. Uncovered cans will create uneven temperatures that run the risk of explosion! For the stovetop method, we set a timer to top off our boiling water every 30 minutes. For the pressure cooker method, fill your pot to the MAX water level before processing.
  • Allow the can to cool in the water completely before proceeding. Not only is that can HOT but it is also filled with boiling sugar. If you are using the pressure cooker, release all of the pressure, remove the lid and then let cool. Furthermore, the dulce de leche will continue to thicken as it cools and needs to be thick and room (or refrigerator) temperature before filling your alfajores. It’s worth the wait! We promise.
Breaking apart a Billionaire Alfajore: These Latin American Dulce de Leche Sandwich cookies were inspired by Millionaire Shortbread.

Dark Chocolate and a Sprinkle of Toasted Coconut

The modern day pastalero (pastry chef) has come up with endless variations of the crowd-pleasing alfajor cookie. Baking spices like cinnamon are commonplace but more adventurous preparations using nuts, fruits and seeds are no longer unlikely. For this Billionaire Alfajores with Toasted Coconut recipe, we are utilizing well-known alfajores flavors with a chic, elegant presentation. For a more classic appearance, roll the edges of your cookie in toasted coconut or opt for the decadent full-cookie dip in melted chocolate. Personally, we enjoy the more subtle notes of a dark chocolate drizzle and modest sprinkle of coconut, as pictured. However you choose to decorate, we know you’ll love bringing this South American favorite into your own family’s traditions.

How to Temper Dark Chocolate for Glossy Perfection

Properly tempering chocolate can be tricky, to say the least. Tempering is the process of gently warming, cooling and rewarming chocolate to specific temperatures so that the molecules do not separate and result in a perfectly glossy chocolate. It is a true art form and we’d be lying if we told you we were experts.

If you’d like to forgo the worry and the glossy perfection,
You can simply melt the chocolate in 15 second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between cook times until smooth.
You can add a teaspoon, or so, of coconut oil to thin the chocolate to a drizzling consistency, if needed.

If you would like to properly temper the chocolate, check out these instructions below. We recommend choosing a high-quality dark chocolate that is worthy of your efforts.

  1. Set up a double boiler over gently simmering water. Be sure that the water does not touch the bowl with your chocolate in it.
  2. Make sure all of your equipment is completely clean and dry. Water will seize your chocolate and render it un-useable.
  3. While stirring constantly, heat your dark chocolate to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees celsius).
  4. Remove from heat and continue stirring until the dark chocolate has cooled to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees celsius).
  5. Keep stirring while you return the chocolate to the double boiler. Rewarm the dark chocolate to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees celsius).
  6. Use your chocolate at this temperature and smile back at your reflection on that flawless gloss!
A plate full of Billionaire Alfajores with Toasted Coconut and a thick swirl of Dulce de Leche

Share Your Success!

We can’t wait for you to try this Billionaire Alfajores with Toasted Coconut recipe for yourself. These buttery, tender cookies sandwiched with rich, dulce de leche are the perfect special occasion cookie, after school snack or midnight indulgence. If this recipe makes its way to your table be sure to drop us a comment below! And, as always, tag @foodworthfeed in your Instagram posts and stories. We love having a seat at your table, you’ll always have one at ours!

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Horizontal stack of alfajores cookies

Billionaire Alfajores with Toasted Coconut


  • Author: foodworthfeed
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes – 4 hours*
  • Cook Time: 7 – 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes – 4 hours 15 minutes*
  • Yield: About 20 Cookies

Description

Billionaire Alfajores with Toasted Coconut: These tender, buttery cookies are sandwiched with dulce de leche and drizzled with dark chocolate!


Ingredients

Alfajores (Cookies)

  • 50 grams (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoonall-purpose flour, plus more to prevent sticking
  • 50 grams (about 1/2 cup)  finely ground almond flour (See Note: b.)
  • 25 grams (about 3 tablespoonscoconut flour
  • 165 grams (1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoonscornstarch 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine, sea or kosher salt
  • 141 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) high-quality unsalted butter, softened to room-temperature (See Note: a)
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) powdered sugar (See Note: c.)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 10 milliliters (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract

Dulce de Leche

  • 1 can (396 grams or 14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine, sea or kosher salt

Toppings

  • 60 grams (about 1/4 cup) dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped or morsels, tempered (See Notes: d. below & the How to Temper Dark Chocolate text above)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil, if needed to thin microwaved chocolate. 
  • 25 grams (1/4 cup) unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Instructions

Alfajores (Cookies)

  1. Gather, measure and prepare the recipe ingredients as listed. For the most consistent results, we recommend using metric weight measurements whenever possible.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift all-purpose flour, almond flour, coconut flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine. Set Aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. 
  4. Add egg yolks one at a time and mix on medium-low speed until fully incorporated. Add vanilla extract and stir to combine. 
  5. Add flour mixture and gently mix on low speed until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  6. Tightly wrap the dough in film and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes or overnight. (See Note: e.)
  7. Meanwhile, arrange two oven racks in the center third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees celsius) and prepare two baking sheets with nonstick silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  8. Once chilled, transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. You may need to let the dough soften for a couple of minutes before rolling. Roll dough to 1/4 inch (about 1/2 centimeter) thickness. (We use 1/4 inch dowels beneath either end of our rolling pin to ensure even thickness.) Using a 1 1/2 inch ( 3 – 4 centimeter) cookie cutter, cut as many rounds as possible from the dough. (See Note: f.)
  9. Transfer cut cookies to your prepared baking pan and chill in the refrigerator for an additional 20 minutes before baking. This helps cookies to resist spreading and maintain their shape while baking. 
  10. Bake the alfajores (cookies) for 7-10 minutes rotating the pans halfway through the cook time. Your cookies are done when the dough appears dry and matte and the edges are just beginning to be golden. These cookies are best when blonde so that they stay soft and tender. 
  11. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely before filling with dulce de leche and decorating with toppings. 

Dulce de Leche

We have included 3 Easy Ways to prepare dulce de leche. Choses whichever one best suits you. Please be careful and read the Safe Practices for Boiling Dulce do Leche on the Stovetop or Pressure Cooker text above.

Stovetop Method:

  1. Remove the label from the can of sweetened condensed milk and inspect for any damage to the can. Do not proceed with a damaged can.
  2. Place your can of sweetened condensed milk in a large stock pot. Add water to cover the can by, at least, one inch (2 1/2 centimeters) of water.
  3. Bring water to a boil. Set a timer in 20 – 30 minute increments to continually top off the water and ensure the can in completely covered. 
  4. Boil for about 4 hours. (See Note: g.) Allow the can and water too cool completely before removing.
  5. Canned dulce de leche can be stored unrefrigerated in your pantry for several months. 
  6. Once ready to use, stir in vanilla extract and salt. 

Oven Method:

  1. Arrange a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees celsius).
  2. Set up a water bath to cook your sweetened condensed milk: Place a few paper towels inside a large, oven-safe baking dish. Place a smaller, oven-safe baking dish on the paper towels (to avoid sliding). (See Note: h.) Meanwhile, boil some water. 
  3. Pour your sweetened condensed milk into the smaller baking dish and cover with tin foil. Place both baking dishes in the oven. Carefully, pour boiling water into the larger pan until the water level reaches about halfway up the smaller, sweetened condensed milk filled dish. Take care not to get any water in the sweetened condensed milk.
  4. Every 35-40 minutes, carefully stir the dulce de leche with a rubber spatula and return the tin foil to the best of your ability. (It will be hot!) When necessary, replenish the boiling water to maintain it’s level halfway up the smaller baking dish. 
  5. Cook for a total of 3 – 4 hours or until the sweetened condensed milk has transformed into a deeply caramelized dulce de leche. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room-temperature. Stir in vanilla extract and salt.
  6. Cooked dulce de leche that is not in the can will need to be refrigerated and can be kept refrigerated for up to two weeks.  

Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot Method:

  1. Remove the label from the can of sweetened condensed milk and inspect for any damage to the can. Do not proceed with a damaged can.
  2. Place the can of sweetened condensed milk in your pressure cooked and fill the pot with water to the maximum level.
  3. Heat your pressure cooker to high pressure or canning mode. Once pressure is achieved, process the sweetened condensed milk for 40 minutes.
  4. Release the pressure and allow the can and water to cool completely before removing. 
  5. Canned dulce de leche can be stored unrefrigerated in your pantry for several months. 
  6. Once ready to use, stir in vanilla extract and salt. 

Assembling Billionaire Alfajores with Toasted Coconut and Decorating with Toppings

  1. Scoop, spread or pipe dulce de leche onto half of your cookies. Use the remaining cookies to sandwich your dulce de leche filled cookies.
  2. Arrange cookies on a cooling rack or parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle (or dip) cookies with prepared dark chocolate. While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle (or roll) with toasted coconut.
  3. Allow chocolate to set and enjoy! Billionaire Alfajores with Toasted Coconut can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. For best results, allow refrigerated cookies to come to room-temperature before serving.

Notes

*Prep Time and Cook Time for this recipe will vary greatly depending on your dulce de leche method. If you have a pressure cooker, we recommend choosing that method of preparation for consistent, time-saving results. 

a. High-quality butter is classified by it’s fat content. Though typically more expensive, these high-quality butters have less water added and create superior baked goods. Since this cookie depends on butter for it’s superior flavor and texture, we recommend using the highest quality butter you can find. European made or local, artisan butters are usually higher quality than your supermarket standard. If you will be using a standard butter with lower fat content, you may want to increase to butter by 14 grams (1 tablespoon).

b. Almond flour is often sold made from either blanched almonds (without the skins) or whole almonds (with the skins). For this recipe, you can use either. Whole almond flour is darker and the almond skin will speckle your dough. In the photos, we used blanched almond flour to keep our cookies blonde and uniform in color. Feel free to substitute additional coconut flour in place of the almond flour to accommodate allergies or preferences. 

c. You can substitute granulated sugar, if needed. We recommend using powdered sugar to further contribute to the cookie’s fine, tender crumb. 

d. The weight of chocolate will vary from brand to brand or producer to producer. Since we are just using this chocolate as a garnish for these cookies, don’t worry about it too much. You will just need enough for a little drizzle. If you would like to dip half or all of your cookies in chocolate, you may want to use triple or quadruple the suggested quantities. 

e. The dough will need to rest in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes to fully hydrate the flours. Feel free to prepare this dough up to two days ahead of time, if preferred. Keep the dough refrigerated and tightly wrapped in plastic to prevent drying. 

f. You can reuse your first round of dough scraps to create more cookies. Be careful not to overwork your dough or incorporate too much added flour. To do this, we use a pastry brush to brush away any excess flour left on the scraps from the rolling process. Then, we gently gather and press the scraps in our hands. If the dough is too soft, tightly cover the dough in plastic wrap. Re-chill the dough in the refrigerator for about ten minutes before re-rolling and cutting your cookies. 

g. The amount of time it takes to process dulce de leche will vary depending on the size of your pot (smaller pots will require more additions of water that will disrupt the boil) and sea-level. [We live in Denver, Colorado (5,280 feet or 1609 meters) and have to process our dulce de leche for about 5 hours.] If, when you open the can, your dulce de leche is too thin, you can continue processing the dulce de leche using the oven method until the desired consistency is achieved. Keep in mind, the dulce de leche will continue to thicken as it cools. 

h. The water surrounding your inner dulce de leche baking dish will moderate the temperature and ensure that the sweetened condensed milk does not burn during the extended cook time. We used a 9×13” Pyrex as our larger pan and a 8×8” Pyrex as our smaller baking dish. 

  • Category: Cookies, Dessert, Baked Goods
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: South American, Latin

Keywords: Alfajores, Coconut Alfajores, Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies, How to Make Dulce de Leche, Billionaire Cookies

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