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Nov 8, 2021

Orange-Scented Alfajores

These orange-scented alfajores, sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche, are so soft that they will almost melt in your mouth. 

Cookies on a plate

What are alfajores?

Allfajores are round sandwich cookies that are filled with dulce de leche and are popular in South America, especially Argentina and Perú, where they are a Christmas tradition. 

The most well-known version of an alfajor (singular) is made with a cornstarch and flour dough that also includes egg yolks, sugar, and lots of butter. There's often a delicious combination of cognac, vanilla, and lemon zest in the dough as well. 

Cookies in a bowl

For a traditional look, after you sandwich together the cookies with the dulche de leche, press a little of the filling out of the sides and roll the edges in shredded unsweetened coconut. 

I had a some leftover flaked unsweetened coconut, so I gave it a few turns in my mini food processor, and voilá, I had shredded coconut. 

The coconut in this recipe is not a deal breaker, so you don't have to make a special trip to get some. 

Alfajores with the dulce de leche in the background.

What is dulce de leche?

Dulce de leche is is a mixture of milk, sugar, baking soda, and sometimes vanilla, that are cooked together until you have a deeply colored and thick caramel-like mixture. I first used it to make Noche Buena Cookies, and fell in love. 

I've also incorporated it into an amazing frosting for a Ukranian caramel honey cake, and as a filling for dulce de leche dumpling cookies

You can make it from scratch if you like. You can also make it by cooking canned sweetened condensed milk in the oven, the slow cooker (in the can!), or the Instant Pot. 

You can also buy it if it's readily available in your area as it is here where I live. One 13 ounce La Lechera brand can was just enough for filling these cookies. At my local grocery store, it was less than three dollars per can. So worth the time it saved. 

alfajores on plates with coconut edges.

Rather than cognac or brandy, this recipe for these orange-scented alfajores includes Grand Marnier, which is a combination of orange liqueur and cognac. In addition, you add either orange zest or orange oil to the dough along with pure vanilla extract. 

If you don't want to buy a full bottle of Grand Marnier (which is delicious by the way), you can either try a mini bottle, or use another orange liqueur. 

Traditionally, to make these cookies, you chill the dough, roll it out and cut out rounds, and then chill the cut out dough disks again before baking. Next, you re-assemble the dough, reroll it, and cut more disks, which you chill. 

With this recipe, you form the dough into a log and chill it until you are ready to bake the cookies. Once the dough is chilled, just slice and bake it while it is still cold. No rolling out or extra chilling necessary. 

Cookies on a long plate

You can freeze this dough for up to three months in advance. 

To keep the dough from becoming flat on one side, I like to store it in the refrigerator by using a cardboard center of a spent paper towel roll. Just slit it open lengthwise, and place the wrapped dough log inside to chill. I use some butcher's twine to tie the whole thing up. 

Shaping round slice and bake cookies in a paper towel roll.

These cookies are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and perfect for the holidays. 

Welcome to this year's Christmas Cookies Week hosted by Family Around the Table! Twenty-five food bloggers have gotten together to share all new recipes for Christmas cookies. 

Some my past Christmas Cookies Week recipes include Maple Sugar Cookies, Christmas Ornament Cookies, Speculoos, Spiced Chocolate Molasses Cookies, and Melting Snowman Cookies, just to name a few. 

Check out everyone's Christmas Cookies and be sure to come back on Wednesday for Cinnamon Spiral Cookies and Friday for Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies:

Monday Christmas Cookie Recipes

Orange scented alfajores with caramel cut in half.

Orange Scented Alfajores

Orange Scented Alfajores
Yield: 24 cookies
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 20 MinInactive time: 3 HourTotal time: 3 H & 35 M
These orange-scented alfajores, sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche, are so soft that they will almost melt in your mouth.


  • 170 grams / 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 185 grams / 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 225 grams / 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 200 grams / 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3/4 cup dulce de leche
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium for one minutes. Scrape down the bowl. 
  3. Add the egg and egg yolks, the Grand Marnier, vanilla, and orange zest, and beat until blended, about one minute. 
  4. Turn off the mixer and add the flour mixture. Pulse the mixer to mix it in so that the flour doesn't fly out of the mixer. 
  5. Mix on low until just incorporated. 
  6. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a smooth cyllinder with a 2 inch diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. 
  7. You can also freeze the cyllinders in foil and freeze them for up to three months. 
  8. Heat the oven to 325 degrees F with a rack in the center. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  9. Slice the dough into 1/4 inch slices and place them on the baking sheet, about 12 per baking sheet. Leave the rest of the dough in the refrigerator while you are baking the first sheet. 
  10. Bake the cookies for 18 to 23 minutes, until they are firm on top, and lightly browned on the edges. 
  11. Cool the cookies on the pan for 10 minutes, and then move them to a wire rack. 
  12. Repeat with the rest of the disks.
  13. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the dulce de leche onto the flat side of one of the cookies and press another cookie, flat side down, and gently press until some of the caramel oozes out of the edges. 
  14. Spread the coconut out onto a plate and roll the cookie edges in the coconut to coat. 
  15. Repeat with the rest of the cookies. 

Nutrition Facts



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Would you like to comment?

  1. They look so good! We are going through a bit of a dulce de leche loving phase around here, so I should make a batch.

  2. Oh these sound addictive and delicious! We always love melt in the mouth kind and with orange scented onesand dulche de luche, I will have to make more batches. Amazing cookies!

  3. What a beautiful cookie. Too pretty to eat!

  4. What an impressive cookie! Not only are they elegant and lovely, I bet they taste amazing too!

  5. One of my favorite cookies!!!!! definitely need to bake a batch....

  6. Yum! These cookies with the Grand Marnier in them then the Dulce de Leche sounds amazing!

  7. These are so elegant and would be lovely for a nice tea, not just the holidays! Good tip on the paper towel roll!

  8. Love that this is a slice and bake version! They look fantastic!

  9. I love learning about traditions in other countries. The fact these are orange scented is even better. The perfect addition to my cookie tray this year.

  10. Such an impressive cookie. There is not one thing I don't love about this cookie.

  11. These sound and look delightfully sweet! And, I love that little bit of coconut crunch on the edges!

  12. These are a bucket list item for me. They look so good and I love the orange scent in there. Right up my alley.

  13. I love a sandwich cookie and that creamy center is to die for!


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