Friday, March 2, 2012

This year's Black Beans

I made these for extra credit.*

Alfajores with Cinnamon Dulce de Leche (Peruvian Sandwich Cookies)
Versions of these delicate sandwich cookies are part of many Latin American cuisines, so I figured I should just go for it. After all, he might not take Spanish next year.  The shortbread cookies are delicate and crumbly, and almost melt in your mouth as a result of the cornstarch.  The thick cinnamon caramel filling is heavenly on its own, and even better as part of the whole cookie.  A keeper!  This recipe is a mash up of ideas from Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart, and others around the Web.

For the Cinnamon Dulce de Leche:

1 c. whipping cream
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cinnamon sticks
pinch of salt

Combine cream and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir to combine, add cinnamon sticks, and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is reduced slightly and is golden brown.  Remove from heat, and stir in the sweetened condensed milk and the salt. 

Cover the pan, and return to the stove over very low heat.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until thickened and the color is a deeper golden brown.  Cool completely. If not using immediately, spoon into a jar or airtight container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

For the Shortbread Cookies:

2 c. flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature, cut into smaller pieces
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)
2-3 tsp. milk or cream, as needed

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, salt and lemon zest.  Pulse to mix thoroughly.  With the machine running, drop in the butter pieces, and run just until large moist clumps form.  Add the vanilla. almond extract (if using), and 2 tsp. of the milk, and pulse again until dough just begins to come together.  Add additional milk if needed.

Remove dough from the machine, and gently form into a flat disc with your hands.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 350, and line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.  Take the dough out of the fridge, and roll out, either between sheets of waxed paper or on a lightly floured surface, to about 1/4 inch thick.  Using a round or square cookie cutter, cut cookies and place onto prepared baking sheets,   They don't spread, so they can be fairly close together if you like.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges are just beginning to turn brown.  Cool completely.


To form cookies, place a spoonful of dulce de leche on the bottom of one cookie.  Top with another cookie, bottom side down.   Once all the sandwiches are made, dust with powdered sugar and serve.

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* A big improvement over last year, when all I did was foist canned black beans onto the menu. Pin It

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