Healthy Eating

Alfajores - Dulce de Leche Shortbread Cookies


Alfajores are popular South American sandwich shortbread cookies filled with dulce de leche and coconut. Living with arthritis does not mean you have to stop living – you can still enjoy a little treat once and a while! Alfajores contain coconut, which is high in dietary fibre, copper, iron and selenium, an important antioxidant. Research has shown that some people with rheumatoid arthritis have lower levels of selenium. Alfajores provide a little sweet indulgence to bring a perfect end to a delicious feast.

Nutritional information (per serving*):

Calories: 175; Protein (2g); Total Fat (7g); Saturated Fat (5g); Monounsaturated Fat (1g); Carbohydrates (24g); Fibre (1g); Sodium (73mg).

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Yield:  12 cookies
*Servings: 1 Alfajor cookie


  • 1 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup condensed milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon brandy (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon lime or lemon zest
  • 4oz dulce de leche (1/2 an 8oz. jar or bottle)
  • ½ cup finely shredded coconut


  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda.
  2. Place the softened butter, icing sugar and condensed milk in a large mixer bowl. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat until ingredients form a light cream, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Add the egg yolk to the butter cream. Gradually increase speed to medium and mix well. Add lime or lemon zest, vanilla, and brandy (if using). Mix until combined. Start to add the dry ingredients slowly into the mixture and beat with the electric mixer until just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Form dough into a bowl and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Cut the dough in half and return the other half to the fridge. Lightly sprinkle cornstarch on a work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a thickness of ¼ inch and cut into twelve 2-inch rounds, re-rolling scraps as needed.
  7. Place the cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden. It’s okay if the tops are a little pale.
  8. Place the cookies on a cooling rack to cool. Repeat with the other half of the dough and bake remaining 12 cookies.
  9. Once all the cookies have cooled, turn over half of them. Using the back of a spoon or a small spatula, place one tablespoon of dulce de leche on the flat surface of the cookie. Place a right-side-up cookie on top of the filling and gently press the sandwich together until the dulce de leche slightly overflows from the sandwich.
  10. Spread the shredded coconut on a flat plate and roll the edges of the cookies in the coconut.
  11. Dust with icing sugar (optional).

Extra tips:

  • Find the dulce de leche at your local grocery store in the international section or buy online.
  • Store the alfajores in the lower section of your refrigerator and take them out 10 minutes before serving! This keeps them fresh but allows them to be served at room temperature.
  • This recipe is gluten-free if you use gluten-free cornstarch. If you are able to consume wheat, add 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour to the cornstarch mix to obtain a firmer cookie dough.