Dolce de Leche + Alfajores

DSC_0052

Someone introduced this cookie to me and, although I’ve often seen them at restaurants, the recipe seemed far too difficult to mess with. It involved Dolce de Leche and I wasn’t going to just use the store-bought jarred stuff. If I was going to do this, I needed to commit. A solid 4 hours for cooking time and an additional 2 for the cookies.

Let’s think. I just finished my last class of college ever. I have no finals, and as of now no full time job to report to. I’d say today was a perfect day for a 6+ hour baking spree. Not to mention I had a fellow baker in my company so we decided to take the challenge.

Dolce de Leche

– 8 cups whole milk

– 2 1/2 cups sugar

– 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or bourbon (Yes, I’m 21)

Heat all the ingredients in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Stir occasionally for the first 1.5 hours but as the milk reduces and darkens you have to stir it more frequently. If the milk doesn’t seem to be hot enough (it should be very slowly bubbling) you can increase the heat for a little bit. Be sure to keep it mostly at medium until the very end. BE PATIENT. This will take a solid 3.5-4 hours.

DSC_0007

 

Leave the Dolce de Leche in the pot to cool and start on the cookies:

 

CoOoOkiez

– 1 cup cornstarch

– 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

– 1 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

– 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

– 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature

– 1/3 cup granulated sugar

– 2 large egg yolks

– 1 tablespoon brandy

– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 1 cup Dolce de Leche at room temperature

– Powdered sugar for dusting

    1. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl and mix until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks,  brandy, and vanilla and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Now add the dry ingredients. Mix until there are no white pockets of flour.
    2. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape it into a smooth disk, and wrap it tightly. Place in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.

 

  1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough. Roll to 1/4-inch thickness (the dough will crack but can be easily patched back together).
  2. Place the cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheets, 12 per sheet and at least 1/2 inch apart. Bake until the cookies are a very light brown on the bottom edge, about 12 to 14 minutes. (The cookies will remain pale on top.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Flip half of the cookies upside down and gently spread about 2 teaspoons of the dolce de leche on each. Place a second cookie on top and gently press to create a sandwich. Dust generously with powdered sugar before serving.
    DSC_0056DSC_0062
  4. Press the cookie sandwich just enough for the dolce de leche to start oozing out of the sides (caramel is one of the few times where it is acceptable to use the otherwise disgusting word ‘ooze’)
  5. Roll the sides of the cookies in a shallow bowl of toasted coconut or sprinkles or chocolate shavings. Enjoy!

    Love From Lauren,

    DSC_0045

Futter

Alright alright, just to put any and all guessing to rest… futter = fake butter.

This recipe is great for cooking and for spreading on food. It is also a good vegan alternative for baking, but can change the texture of your baked goods. I did this for fun, I have no intention of becoming vegan.

The differences you will see when using futter in baking depend on your exact measurements and how much you use in the recipe, but include: thicker dough, denser cakes/bars, baked goods that don’t do well in the fridge (aka turn rock hard). SO it may be a little more difficult to use futter, but is definitely a healthier alternative that you’ll love.

1 Cup RAW coconut oil.

2 Tablespoons organic, extra virgin olive oil. I like Spanish, Italian or Greek oils. (OPTIONAL). I prefer without, but both versions solidify equally.

3/4 tsp salt

Pinch of nutritional yeast flakes (optional. if you add bouillon instead, be AWARE of palm oil in most of those cubes and also broth powders.)

Very small pinch of turmeric (NOT optional to make futter, as it not only gives futter anti-inflammatory properties, but the most lovely buttery color as well.)

  1. Put 1 Cup coconut oil in a sauce pan on low heat. Stir for about a minute, wait till you notice about 1/2 of coconut oil heats up to liquid, and take off burner, put on trivet on counter. Do NOT heat on burner for very long, and don’t allow liquid get HOT. The ingredients only blend together when cooled (congealed) quickly.
  2. Add tiny pinch turmeric, a bit larger pinch nutritional yeast flakes, and 2 Tbsp of organic extra virgin olive oil into the saucepan. Mix all together.
  3. Fill a bowl or deep pan with ice water. Pour contents of saucepan into a 2 C glass pyrex/glass container. Put your glass container with the FUTTER/vegan butter mixture in the ice water, making SURE the water doesn’t get into your glass container.Time is important here: continue to stir until the mixture congeals. This will take about 5 minutes. 

    ENJOOOOOY!!!

Summer Lovin’

Well, it’s been a full year since I’ve tried to start this baking blog and I’m back again!  A great summer batter with fresh coconut and lime flavors. Decorations: I used graham cracker crumbs, teddy grahams, melted chocolate to make faces on the teddies, gummy rings, swedish fish, and octopuses on toothpicks (paper umbrellas if you have them!) for the beach umbrellas.

We used unsweetened coconut and it tasted perfectly fine. So here it is, Coconut Lime Cupcakes (taste like a baked goods version of  Malibu rum!)

Coconut Lime Cake

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons finely grated lime peel
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk (I substitute with almond milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour (all purpose works just fine)
Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with liners. Beat the butter, coconut extract, lime peel, sugar and eggs in large bowl with electric mixer. Stir in milk an coconut, then stir in flour. Divide the mixture among the cupcake liners and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool and then frost with…..

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 5 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime peel
  • 3 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar