The word alfajor or الفاخر comes from Arabic and it means luxury. After around 700 AD the Moors began conquering the Iberian Peninsula which is modern day Portugal, Spain and parts of France. The result was a large influx of Arabic into the Spanish language. The prefixes “al” and “a” are Arabic and can be found in a plethora of words: albóndiga (meatball), albahaca (basil), azúcar (sugar), etc. Even the phrase “the coast is clear” comes from the Moore invasion, “no hay moros en la costa”, literally translated “There aren’t any Moors on the coast”.
So what is an alfajor? In Spain alfajores are very different from Latin American alfajores; they are cylindrical in shape and the dough is stuffed with honey, nuts and almond butter. When the Spaniards began conquering the Americas, they brought with them alfajores. The Argentine alfajor is made of sweet cookies stuffed with dulce de leche or jam. On a typical day in Argentina, between five and seven million alfajores are consumed; that’s an average of one kilo of alfajores per year per person. Many people enjoy having an alfajor as a breakfast or a snack with mate, a bitter herbal tea. Because most Argentines don’t eat a large breakfast like in the United States, the alfajor is a sweet alternative with just enough savory sugar to get them up and going.
The following recipes are ways in which you can vary the traditional take on this Spanish/Arabian treat and they won’t take you more than fifteen minutes to prepare. Enjoy!
Alfajor tart with homemade dulce de leche mousse
Start by taking two alfajores, either the cookie or cornflower type, and cut them in half. Next, prepare the homemade mousse by mixing 2 cups of cream with 3 spoonfuls of dulce de leche and 6 oz. of chocolate pudding. Before mixing add two drops of vanilla and mix for about 10 minutes. Let that sit in the refrigerator for about an hour. Then add your dollops of homemade dulce de leche mousse on top of the alfajores and finish with either chocolate syrup or chocolate chips. The mousse should be enough for the four half alfajores.
Simply cut the alfajor in four pieces and place in a blender. Next add about two cups of ice cream and a half a cup of milk. Mix for about thirty seconds and then you’ll have an Argentine milkshake.
Alfajor frozen pop
This next idea is the easiest to prepare. Simply open a chocolate alfajor and insert a popsicle stick about halfway through the middle of the alfajor in the dulce de leche. Next, place it on a small dish and place in the freezer. Once completely frozen, you’ve got a frozen alfajor perfect for eating on the go. It’s a frozen and crunchy take on the traditional treat.
Alfajor ice cream cookie sandwich
Cut the alfajores in half and mix an ice cream flavor of your choice in the middle. Place the cookies back together so that they’re a sandwich again and then wrap in saran wrap. Keep the wrapped alfajor ice cream cookies in the freezer until frozen. They are great for sharing amongst friends!
Do you have any dessert ideas using alfajores? Let us know in the comment section below!
Written by Brian Athey