When it comes to traditional Argentinean sweets, alfajores de maicena are a true delight. These delicate cookies, filled with dulce de leche and coated with powdered sugar, have been a staple in Argentinean households for generations. In this article, we will explore the history of alfajores de maicena, the ingredients and steps to make them, and why they have become such a beloved treat in Argentina.

The History of Alfajores de Maicena

Alfajores have a long history that dates back to the Moorish occupation of Spain. The Moors introduced a sweet treat called “alajú,” which consisted of a filling made from almonds, honey, and spices, sandwiched between two thin wafers. This treat eventually made its way to the Iberian Peninsula and was adapted by the Spanish, who added their own twist to it.

When the Spanish colonized South America, they brought their culinary traditions with them. Alfajores quickly became popular in the region, with each country adding its own unique touch. In Argentina, alfajores de maicena emerged as a variation of the traditional alfajor.

The Ingredients and Steps to Make Alfajores de Maicena

To make alfajores de maicena, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cornstarch (maicena in Spanish)
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • Dulce de leche for filling
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Now, let’s dive into the steps to make these delicious cookies:

  1. In a bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract to the butter mixture and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch, flour, and baking powder.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until a soft dough forms.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  7. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
  8. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden.
  10. Allow the cookies to cool completely.
  11. Spread a generous amount of dulce de leche on the bottom side of one cookie and sandwich it with another cookie.
  12. Dust the alfajores with powdered sugar before serving.

Why Alfajores de Maicena Are So Beloved in Argentina

Alfajores de maicena have become an integral part of Argentinean culture and cuisine. Here are a few reasons why they are so beloved:

1. Soft and Melting Texture

One of the defining characteristics of alfajores de maicena is their soft and melting texture. The combination of cornstarch and flour in the dough creates a delicate cookie that practically dissolves in your mouth. This unique texture is what sets alfajores de maicena apart from other cookies.

2. Dulce de Leche Filling

The dulce de leche filling is what truly makes alfajores de maicena irresistible. Dulce de leche is a thick and creamy caramel-like spread made from sweetened condensed milk. Its rich and sweet flavor pairs perfectly with the delicate cookie, creating a heavenly combination.

3. Versatility

While the traditional alfajores de maicena recipe calls for dulce de leche filling, there are endless variations to explore. Some people add a sprinkle of coconut flakes to the filling, while others dip the edges of the cookies in chocolate. This versatility allows for creativity and personalization, making alfajores de maicena a treat that can be enjoyed in many different ways.

Q&A

1. Can I use a different filling for alfajores de maicena?

Yes, you can experiment with different fillings for your alfajores de maicena. Some popular alternatives include Nutella, fruit preserves, or even a combination of dulce de leche and chocolate ganache.

2. How long do alfajores de maicena stay fresh?

When stored in an airtight container, alfajores de maicena can stay fresh for up to a week. However, they are best enjoyed within the first few days to fully savor their soft texture.

3. Can I freeze alfajores de maicena?

Yes, you can freeze alfajores de maicena for longer storage. Place them in a freezer-safe container or bag, separating each layer with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Thaw them at room temperature before serving.

4. Are alfajores de maicena gluten-free?

While the traditional recipe for alfajores de maicena contains wheat flour, you can make gluten-free versions by using a gluten-free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour. Ensure that the cornstarch you use is also gluten-free.

5. Can I buy alfajores de maicena instead of making them?

Yes, alfajores de maicena are widely available in Argentinean bakeries and specialty stores. However, making them from scratch allows you to customize the filling and enjoy the satisfaction of creating a homemade treat.

Summary

Alfajores de maicena are a beloved Argentinean treat with a rich history and a delightful taste. These delicate cookies, filled with dulce de leche and coated with powdered sugar, have captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world. Whether you choose to make them from scratch or indulge in store-bought versions, alfajores de maicena are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and transport you to the

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