“Oh Julianna, I have a present for you…” – exclaimed my friend Violetta, upon her return from Argentina. And when she excitedly handed me the coveted box of Alfajores, I did a happy dance! I mean real Alfajores, from Argentina are just not found in Vancouver – anywhere! And here is my confession: I didn’t share them…not even with my husband! Oh no, I closeted myself in my office at work and ate every crumb by myself! But I saved the box to share with you in my photos – how kind of me, eh? Oh, and just in case you don’t know what an Alfajore is; it is like a “Wagon Wheel” if you grew up with them, except that the filling is dulce de leche instead of marshmallow. Some are coated in chocolate, and some in a crunchy white sugar coating. Either style is ultra addictive.
When MB first posted this recipe for Salted Alfajore Bars on her mouth-watering blog, Bourbon and Brown Sugar, I just knew that I had to try making them, and I knew that I would want to share them with my good friend, Violetta who had so kindly gifted me the originals from Argentina. These bars are loosely based on the idea of Alfajores, but they are amazing in their own right, and just as addictive as their namesake. Because I am still learning about my new oven, my batch came out a bit dry, but once I stored the cooled bars in an airtight container, the pastry softened up and was a perfect, sweet, crumbly base for the rich dulce de leche. I will make these bars again for sure. I hope you enjoy them as much as we all did.
Salted Alfajores Bars
4 sticks (1 pound) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 16-ounce jar of dulce de leche
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars, and beat until creamy. Add the vanilla, and mix until combined. Add the flour into the butter mixture and mix on low speed until a smooth, soft dough forms.
Grease a 9”X13” pan and line with parchment paper.
Press half the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill.
Bake the bottom crust until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown, about 20 – 25 minutes.
Remove crust from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Microwave the dulce de leche for about 30 seconds, so that it softens a bit and is easy to spread.
Spoon the dulce de leche onto the bottom crust and spread it evenly. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and crumble it evenly over the filling layer. Sprinkle the sea salt evenly over the topping.
Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the topping is firm and lightly golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let the pan cool completely before using a sharp knife to cut into squares.