Maple syrup in both the shortbread cookies and the dulce de leche give these cookies great flavor. The shortbread dough is easy to work with, and can be cut into traditional circles, or into other shapes.These leaf-shaped cookies are decorated with colored turbinado sugar, perfect for Thanksgiving, or any fall celebration.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
- For the dulce de leche:
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 can condensed milk
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- For the cookies:
- 2 sticks of butter, softened
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup corn starch
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar for decorating
- Food coloring
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
- Place the evaporated milk and condensed milk together in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the salt, baking soda, and 1/3 cup maple syrup.
- Bring mixture just to a boil and simmer, stirring constantly.
- Continue to heat and stir mixture until it gradually thickens and turns caramel brown color, about 30-40 minutes. You should be able to draw your spoon across the bottom and see the bottom of the pan for a second or two when the mixture is thick enough (see how to make dulce de leche).
- Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and set aside to cool.
- To make the cookies, cream the 2 sticks of softened butter with the brown sugar and maple syrup until light and fluffy.
- Stir in the flour, corn starch, egg yolk and vanilla until mixture comes together into a smooth dough.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in half, and roll out one half on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters into desired shapes. Reroll scraps and cut into more cookies. Repeat with remaining half of dough.
- Divide turbinado sugar into three bowls. Add 4 drops red food coloring to the first bowl, 2 drops red and 2 drops yellow (to make orange) to the second, and 4 drops yellow to the third. Stir well with a spoon until sugar is evenly colored.
- Beat egg in a small bowl, and use pastry brush to brush tops of half of the cookies with egg (for top half of alfajor). Sprinkle those cookies with colored sugar.
- Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until just barely golden brown around the edges. Let cool slightly and transfer to a cooling rack.
- Spread plain cookies with about 1 teaspoon dulce de leche, then top with sugared cookies.
- Store cookies in an airtight container.