These irresistible sandwich cookies are a sweet taste of Argentina.
- 2 cans sweetened condensed milk (395 g each), labels removed
- 3 tsp brandy
- 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 125 g plain (all-purpose flour)
- 165 g cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ½ tsp fine sea salt, plus a pinch extra for the dulce de leche
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 140 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks
- 100 g dessicated coconut
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, then carefully lower in the condensed milk cans on their sides. Simmer for 3 hours 15 minutes, refilling with hot water as needed to keep the cans submerged. Never let the water boil away, or the cans could burst. Using tongs, transfer cans to a rack to cool. (This is the recipe author's suggested method. However, this method can be unsafe. Please see Note below for an alternative.)
Meanwhile, to make the cookies, combine the brandy, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter for about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the yolks and beat to combine, then add the brandy mixture and beat until just combined. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a log about 4 cm thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper.
Remove dough from the plastic wrap and slice into 3 mm-thick rounds. Place on prepared trays, then bake for about 7 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden. Transfer the trays to a rack to cool completely.
In a small bowl, combine the dulce de leche with the remaining teaspoon of vanilla extract and a large pinch of salt. Spoon the mixture into a plastic zip lock bag and cut a corner off. (Or you could scoop it into a piping bag if you prefer, or just use a spoon.)
Flip half the cookies upside down and pipe a thick layer of dulce de leche onto bottoms (or use a spoon to spoon the mixture on). Top with the remaining cookies to sandwich the dulce de leche in the middle. Roll the sides in coconut. Eat right away, or store in the refrigerator until serving.
• For an alternative and safer method of making caramel, see Nestle Australia's FAQ here.
© 2016 New York Times News Service. Photographs Andrew Scrivani/The New York Times.