Making holiday cookies with (and for) friends is one of the best parts of our winter. Nothing brings you together quite like destroying a kitchen, eating raw cookie dough for major meal components, and playing John Denver and the Muppets at full blast.
This year we’ve put together three alternatives to the ubiquitous sugar cookies. The first of these: Alfajores.
Alfajores are our new favorite cookie for lots of reasons (eating the remaining quarter jar of Dulce de Leche being among them), but what makes it really special is its ability to be gluten free without sucking. Gluten is a controversial thing in the food community, but there are lots of people who we love and want to fill with cookies that just can’t handle it. These cookies make a nice compromise that sacrifice absolutely nothing for inclusivity.
- 1 cup Cornstarch
- ¾ cup All Purpose Flour
- or -
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- ⅓ cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Egg Yolks
- ½ tsp Vanilla
- 1 can Dulce de Leche
Note: We thought “Oh. Dulce de Leche is easy to make! We’ll just be fancy and do it ourselves.” No. Ours beefed it pretty spectacularly. While caramels are simple, be difficult to get the perfect, creamy, spreadable-at-room-temp texture without those tasty chemicals if you aren’t a caramel master. Save yourself an hour’s work and buy it for these cookies (but make it for your sundaes!). Most brands are GF, but please read your labels so your friends don’t die/shit their pants.
Sift together Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt, and your Starches.
With an electric or stand mixer, cream together the Sugar and Butter. Add the Egg Yolks and Vanilla, continue to beat until well combined.
Mix the Starches and Buttery stuff together— you don’t have to be dainty. Please know that the dough will likely be a big mess at first, but eventually turns into playdoh. Stick everything in the fridge for at least a half an hour, as long as a month in the freezer.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°.
Roll the dough out into ⅓” and stamp out little rounds using small biscuit cutters or a clean juice glass. These cookies are pretty rich, so err on the side of small. Because the dough has so little (or no) gluten, there’s not much risk in overworking them. Don’t be afraid to re-roll scraps.
Once rolled and cut, dock the cookies (we made cute patterns with a fork; you don’t need to be that fancy) so they rise evenly. Bake for 10-15 minutes, cool, and sandwich a fat layer of Dulce de Leche between any pair.
Totally Optional Step!
Dip the sides in Toasted Coconut, Sprinkles, or any other toppings on hand in your pantry. It makes it a little bit more festive and hides any weird globby bits with zero actual effort!