June 09, 2007

Gifts From Afar

Back in March I was challenged to make alfajores, a shortbread-like cookie sandwiched with dulce de leche, an Argentinean specialty. That wouldn’t have been such a difficult task if I hadn’t of had to make the dulce de leche. For one very long day, I reduced a pot of milk in the hopes that it would turn into a wonderful and thick caramel-like sauce. That never really happened, but the resulting cookies looked neat and they tasted great so I guess that’s all that really matters.

Shortly after that post I received an email from Patricia of Technicolor Kitchen. Patricia, who resides in Brazil, generously offered to send me some authentic alfajores. I would have been a fool to turn her down and happily accepted her offer. To repay her kindness I insisted on sending her something in return. I was only too happy to be a part of someone’s first maple syrup experience. So I packed up a bottle of maple syrup and after shipping it off, I was left to wait for a card to arrive, telling me I had a package to pick up. Patience is not always my strong suit and it seemed like forever before that card arrived. When it finally did, I packed up a couple turnovers for the lady at the post office, (she benefits whenever someone sends me a package, so please, think of the post office lady!) hoped in the car and I was off.

Moments later, I sat with a bright yellow Havanna box in my hands, eager to dig into the goodies that were hidden inside. After one bite I knew it was worth the wait! For me, the Havanna alfajores are the Argentinean equivalent of the Australian Tim Tam, and oh how I love Tim Tams! The thing is, I have the same problem with both of them; they don’t make them in Canada! I guess that just means I’ll have to do more traveling, all in the names of cookies…

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Marce said...

oh yes, indeed, now you know what an Argentine alfajor tastes like! As soon as I saw your pictures, I knew they were Havanna!!! They are delicious and they come with different glazes as well. So damn good. I´m lucky to have one of their stores just a few blocks away from my house, finally living in Argentina pays off!
You should check google when you finish your box and start going cold turkey, I´m sure some online store carries Havanna and can send you some. Of course, if you decide to come to Argentina to get them, that´s an even smarter move.

Virtual Frolic said...

How funny! I've been thinking about alfajores forever and a kind coworker who had to go to Argentina for work brought the two kinds (that you got) back for me! I have to say, those were so good with a nice strong cup of coffee. I liked them straight out of the freezer! I totally want to try to make some now!

thepassionatecook said...

oh! i had forgotten about those! i used to indulge in these or somethimg similar when i lived in mexico... the most indulging thing ever, especially when you're a cajeta/dulce de leche addict like me!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wow, those are really good looking. Call me maybe we can hop the same plane to Argentina!

K & S said...

these look great and if they taste like TimTams they must be good!

Bake your cake and eat it too said...

Oh I miss foods from other countries, especially from NZ where I used to live. They do look alot like tim tams! YUM

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Hay first time to ur blog......u have a great blog......All ur posts are excellent.....Love it...

Helen said...

I have had the only once and I loved them! Enoy...make them last...if you can!

HungryKat said...

Mmm... I love dulce de leche too!

Just some girl said...

This is off topic for this post, but.....have you seen THIS recipe? it totally sounds like you to me!

bacon baklava

1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon
1 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dates
1 package phyllo dough
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons bourbon
Finely grated zest of 1/2 orange

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a skillet, fry the bacon in batches until crisp. Drain well and crumble. In a food processor, finely chop the bacon with the almonds and dates.
Butter a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan. Lay a sheet of phyllo in the pan; trim the edges to fit and brush with butter. Repeat with 4 more phyllo sheets and butter. Spread 1 cup of the filling evenly over the phyllo. Repeat this layering of 5 phyllo sheets and bacon filling two more times. Top with 5 buttered phyllo sheets, buttering the top well.
With a small, sharp knife, cut the baklava into diamonds. Bake the baklava for 10 minutes. Turn the oven to 325° and bake for 1 hour longer, or until nicely browned.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, maple syrup, water, bourbon and orange zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then let cool to room temperature. Pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava and let stand at room temperature uncovered overnight.

From http://www.chowhound.com/topics/391483#2479216

Little Foodie said...

I was all set to leave a comment then read the bacon baklava which sent my mind in a different direction. We've been eating Tim Tams all week! Never had an alfajor but they sound great and if they're anything like tim tams I think it best I don't try them. Amanda

evinrude said...

I haven't tried alfajores, but I do love Tim Tams! I'm so lucky to have them available in Singapore. Hehe. But maple syrup is another story, I can't find it anywhere! They're all maple flavoured syrup. Ok, maybe I have found it once before, but it costs so much. =\

Kelly-Jane said...

David Lebivitz does a quick version in the oven I'll post the recipe if you like.

The biscuits look fabulous, that looks like the kind of thing I'd like to savour, but would probably wolf down :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Hey, sweetie!!
I was away - we had a holiday here last Thursday and Friday was a day off too - and almost missed this post!!
I'm so glad you liked them, Bri. Seriously - I had doubts because it may be really hard to satisfy such a wonderful baker/cook. :)