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Close up of several shortbread dulce de leche alfajores on a white paper.

Dulce de Leche Cookies

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4 from 2 reviews

These are sweet, shortbread-style alfajores. Two buttery cookies filled with gooey dulce de leche (a caramel-like spread). We eat them year-round as they make great finger desserts for parties and festive occasions. Different from our traditional cornstarch alfajores, they're just as delicious and a great addition to the holiday cookie tray. 

  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 25 filled cookies


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (improves taste but is not traditional)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dulce de leche for the filling


  1. In a bowl, beat butter with sugar just until incorporated.
  2. Add the egg and extracts and beat for 1 minute.
  3. In 2 or 3 parts, add sifted flour, baking powder and salt. You can sift them before or have the ingredients measured and sift them directly over the butter mixture (my choice). 
  4. It will be a soft but not sticky dough.
  5. Wrap it and chill it for several hours or overnight. It can be in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or frozen for a few weeks (defrost in the refrigerator the day before).
  6. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F/180ºC.
  7. Have baking sheets ready; no need to butter or line them with parchment paper, but you can. 
  8. Roll the dough in 2 parts and leave the unused piece covered, in the refrigerator. You can use two large pieces of parchment paper or a lightly floured surface to roll the dough. 
  9. I put the dough in the middle and roll it between the pieces of paper. The dough is cold but does not crack when stretched. 
  10. Chill it again until cold, and and use a round cookie cutter to cut cookies. Dip the edge of the cutter in flour and shake the excess so the dough doesn’t stick to the cutter. These are meant to be small. I use a 1.18-inch (3cm) plain, round cookie cutter
  11. Place them on the cookie sheet and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, until they are dry and just beginning to color. It depends a lot on the thickness of the dough.
  12. Let them cool completely on a metal cooling rack.
  13. Fill half the cookies with a thick layer of dulce de leche. I like it to be as thick as the cookie. 
  14. Dust the other half of the cookies with powdered sugar before placing them on top of the filling and pressing lightly to assemble the alfajores.


  • Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
  • Make-ahead: as with most cookie doughs, it can be made ahead and kept for 4-5 days in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer. Always make sure you wrap it well in clingy plastic. Otherwise, the top layer will dry out. 
  • Storage: the cookies can be kept in an airtight container for about a week. Fill them several hours ahead of the time you're planning to eat them so they have time to soften a little. Take into account that the dulce de leche transfers moisture to the shortbread cookies and they will be softer when you bite into them. 
  • Piping bag: you can use it with a smooth, plain piping tip for a more even and neater filling, or use a teaspoon and get more of an irregular filling. 
  • Filling-cookie ratio: this is a fundamental part of an alfajor, and it's important that you find the one that you like the most. You can bake thinner or thicker cookie rounds and use a thinner or thicker layer of dulce de leche. Do a few tests first; that is my recommendation.
  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Refrigeration time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Argentinian