I was in Argentina for about a week in 2005. I swear, I came back 10 pounds heavier. The meals I ate there were probably some of the best in my life, and I have eaten some seriously tasty things in my 24 years.
It was in Argentina that I was first introduced to Dulce de Leche, a sweet, creamy, spreadable, caramel-like substance that is found in nearly every sweet treat in that country. On it’s own, it’s divine. Spread on cookies, in the center of a pastry, stirred in a latte…it’s your diet’s worst nightmare.
All that to say, make these cookies with caution. If you’re looking for the perfect tea-time cookie, this is it. If you’re looking to fulfill a midnight sugar craving, you might not want to make these, because you’ll probably eat them all (or at least the whole can of dulce de leche)!
This recipe is a two step process, so make the dulce de leche first and mix up the cookies while it cools.
Dulce de Leche
What you need:
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk (usually found in the baking isle of your grocery store)
1 large pot with lid
Peel the label off of the can of sweetened condensed milk.
Place the whole can of condensed milk in a pot and cover completely with water.
Bring to boil and then lower heat. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for about 3-3½ hours. Check on the can every 45 minutes, and add water as necessary, to keep the can completely submerged.
Using tongs, remove the can from the water and let it cool completely before opening. When you open the can, do so cautiously, as the contents have been under pressure. (I sound like an airline stewardess.)
1 cup cornstarch
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg (optional)
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
¼ cup white sugar
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
Prepared dulce de leche (see recipe above)
Sift cornstarch, flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg (if using) in a bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of your mixer cream together the butter, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and mix until incorporated.
On low speed, add the sifted ingredients and mix until the dough comes together – don’t over mix. The dough will be crumbly.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread a piece of parchment paper on the counter and dump the dough out on it. If your dough is still crumbly, use your hands to help bring it together.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thickness. If the dough is sticky, dust your rolling pin with flour frequently.
Use a round cookie cutter (any size) to cut circles in the dough.
Re-roll the scraps to make more circles. Place dough circles on your baking sheets and bake for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. The cookies should be pale, not brown. Using a spatula, place the cookies on a cooling rack to cool.
Once the cookies have cooled completely, scoop a generous dollop of dulce de leche on one side of a cookie and top with another cookie. Before serving, dust the tops with confectioner sugar, if desired.
Eat a cookie, dance some tango, and eat another.