Salted Dulce de Leche Shortbread (Alfajores) Bars

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I first spotted (and bookmarked!) Alfajores on What Jessica Baked Next– South American shortbread sandwich cookies filled with Dulce de Leche. They were beautiful, no-doubt delicious, yet labor intensive and time-consuming. More for winter baking, not summer baking! I was thrilled to spot this shortcut version on Bourbon and Brown Sugar adapted from Jill O’Connor’s Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey cookbook. EASY and delicious. Yay! I used unsalted butter, cut the recipe in half, and modified the baking times. We gobbled them up. 🙂

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1/2 pound), at room temperature (if using salted butter, omit the coarse salt)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 T vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz Dulce de Leche (about 1/2 of a jar, or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Beat until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Add the salt and flour, and mix on low-speed until a smooth, soft dough forms.
  4. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Press approximately half of the dough into the bottom of the pan and spread evenly to form a bottom crust. Place remaining dough aside in the refrigerator to chill.
  5. Bake the bottom crust until firm, and the edges are a pale golden brown, approximately 15 minutes in a convection oven or 20 minutes in a standard oven. When the bottom crust is finished, let it rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Microwave the Dulce de Leche for approximately 30 seconds so that it softens and is easier to spread.
  7. Spoon the Dulce de Leche onto the bottom crust and spread it evenly.
  8. Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it over the top of the Dulce de Leche.
  9. Sprinkle the sea salt over the top of the crumbled dough.
  10. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden brown, approximately 20 minutes in a convection oven or up to 30 minutes in a standard oven.
  11. Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

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