Recipe by Carol Murphy Clyne via Leites Culinaria
Notes: With the disappointing failure of the previous batch, I finally assembled all the ingredients for the recipe I wanted to try in the first place. In the version found on the Leite's Culinaria website, the cookie has cream cheese and cornstarch. The latter is often found in shortbread recipes, and cream cheese is often used in soft, tender cookie doughs, so these were good signs. Due to its high fat content, the dough was easy to roll but got warm and harder to work with as I was cutting the rounds out. Twelve minutes was too long in the oven for my first batch, and the cookies came out too dark and crispy. I didn't bother with the additional touches of melted chocolate and coconut. I'll add those finishing touches once I've perfected the cookie.
These alfajores were very much like shortbread. While this recipe is significantly better than my last effort, it still falls short of what I'm imagining in my mind. The cookie was too firm and crisp, instead of dry, soft and powdery.
Update (2011-07-02): I spotted alfajores at El Rey del Taco at the Jean-Talon Market. Naturally, I had to try one, along with a glass of horchata. The edges on these cookies were rolled in dulce de leche and then rolled in plain shredded coconut. Very tasty, soft and crumbly, like the one I had in Toronto. I must find a recipe that will produce cookies like this!