Last month was my turn to host book club. I chose Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende, which a friend recommended. I loved it! It was the last book I read in 2012, and it was a great way to end my literary year. If you’ve never read any of her work, check it out.
For the club meeting, I wanted to prepare food that fit the theme of the book. Allende is Chilean, and the main character in this book, Eliza, is also. After some research, I come up with two dishes: empanadas and alfajores. I balanced it out with chips, guacamole, and a few other snacks.
Alfajores are traditional cookies in Spain and many Latin American countries. This particular version I found online as ‘authentic Chilean.’ I prepared them the day of our meeting, and they were amazing! It’s pretty simple…
Make some thin, slightly crunchy, round sugar cookies.
Make some gooey, caramelly dulce de leche, kind of to the texture of taffy.
Smush them together into a sandwich.
Dust them with a bit of confectioners sugar.
Alfajores adapted from Mummy’s Busy World
1/4 cup and 3 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/4 cup and 3 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup and 3 tbsp of flour
Powdered sugar for dusting
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and flour, and mix until incorporated. Once combined, divide into two. Form each into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Flour the surface of your work space and roll one section of the dough out very thinly — about 1/8″. Cut with a round cookie cutter and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for about 12 minutes or until edges get slightly brown.
Dulce de leche (adapted from CFE)
Most dulce de leche recipes call for boiling a can of condensed milk for a few hours. I decided to try a different route — one that wouldn’t take as long and seemed safer than risking an exploding can. Still, be very careful with this method. The candy gets hot enough to burn and really sticky.
Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a large mixing bowl. Microwave at medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove and stir with a whisk.
Continue microwaving on two-minute intervals until the dulce de leche has a taffy-like texture after whisking.
Once the cookies have cooled, form the dulce de leche into small coin-sized pieces. Sandwich the dulce de leche between two cookies. Use a fine-mesh sieve to sprinkle a dusting of confectioners sugar on top of each cookie. Serve.
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