To get you ready to watch the Spurs this season, bake up a bunch of alfajores, the official cookie (although calling them a cookie just doesn't seem adequate) of Pounding the Rock. Don't let the length of the instructions scare you; it's just the teacher coming out in me to be very specific. Enjoy!
ALFAJORES (just one is called an alfajor)
1 jar or can of dulce de leche (Nestles makes one in a can – found with the sweetened condensed milk – make sure it says "dulce de leche" and not caramel sauce, which is too thin)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
3 ounces cream cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes and chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes and chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes
1 TBS vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
In a food processor with the steel blade, process the sugar for about 15 seconds to a fine powder (or you can buy extra fine granulated sugar to start with). Add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt and run the motor for 15 seconds until well incorporated.
Evenly scatter the cream cheese and butter cubes over the flour mixture. Combine the dough with 15 one-second pulses until the flour looks like coarse meal.
Beat the egg yolks and vanilla in a small bowl (I whisk them in a 2-cup measuring cup). Pour over the flour. Pulse with 10 one-second turns, scrape down the sides (and bottom), then process for about ten more seconds until the dough barely starts to come together and clings to the outer portion of the bowl, leaving the center clear. The dough will be dry and crumbly.
Turn to dough out onto a lightly floured surface and push it together with your hands to form a ball. Do not knead. Divide the dough into thirds, pat each into a flat 5-inch disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Take one piece of dough out of the refrigerator at a time, lightly flour it, and roll into a rough circle about ¼ inch thick. Cut as many 2 inch rounds as possible, reserving the scraps. Place cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper no more than 1.2 inch apart – these cookies do not spread out. Continue with the remaining dough rounds. Combine all the scraps once and repeat the same steps for rolling, cutting, and baking.
Bake the cookies for around 12 minutes at 375, rotating the cookie sheets halfway through until the cookies have a golden edge and bottom. Let the cookies rest for about two minutes on the baking sheets, then cool on wire racks.
REMEMBER YOU WILL NEED 2 COOKIES FOR EACH ALFAJOR! What seems like a lot of cookies really will make only about 2 to 2 1/2 dozen alfajores.
Melt 1 stick of butter in the microwave in a 1 quart bowl. Add 8 ounces semisweet chocolate and 2 TBS corn syrup. Let stand for a minute – the heat from the butter should melt the chocolate. Stir until melted completely – can microwave for 10-second intervals if needed. OR DO IT THE EASY WAY – BUY READY MADE MILK CHOCOLATE CANDY COATING!
1 cup shredded coconut, finely chopped (use food processor or blender) and toasted at 250 degrees – DO THIS WHILE THE DOUGH IS CHILLING.
ASSEMBLING THE FINISHED PRODUCT:
Line baking sheets with waxed paper and put the wire racks on the paper. Place half the cookies upside down on the racks and spoon a heaping teaspoon of dulce de leche on each one. Top with another cookie and press to distribute the dulce.
Spoon a thin coating of the chocolate over the cookie’s top and sides. YOU WILL WASTE LESS CHOCOLATE IF YOU PUT A WIRE RACK OVER THE BOWL AND DO ONE AT A TIME, THEN TRANSFER THEM BACK TO THE ORIGINAL WIRE RACK ON THE COOKIE SHEET. Place cookies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up the chocolate.
Place coconut on a plate (I use a paper plate). Roll cookies’ edges in the coconut to seal in the dulce de leche. IF YOU USE THE READY MADE CHOCOLATE COATING, YOU CAN DO THIS STEP IMMEDIATELY AFTER COATING THE COOKIES AS THE READY MADE ICING SETS UP QUICKLY.
Store the alfajores in the refrigerator or freezer. They should keep in the fridge about 3 – 4 days and in the freezer for three months. You can eat them right out of the freezer!