Alfajores with Quinoa and Coffee Dulce de Leche

Pastry Chef and Fair Trade supporter Malika Ameen created this twist on the traditional Peruvian alfajores cookie in honor of our Mother's Day campaign. The dough recipe begins as a traditional recipe, and then I introduce cooked quinoa for a unique surprise. The little bits of quinoa give a hit of nuttiness to this crumbly confection. If you have time, try gently toasting the quinoa in a little oil or butter until it starts to pop before boiling it – you will love it even more!

Alfajores are typically served with coffee, but with this version, there is a delicious coffee dulce de leche filling. You’ll get the whole experience with one bite of this unique treat.

Happy Baking!

Try these unique and delicious Peruvian alfajores cookies by pastry chef and Fair Trade supporter Malika Ameen!

Alfajores with Quinoa and Coffee Dulce de Leche

Yield: 2 dozen 

For the cookies:

1- 2/3 cup cornstarch

1 -¼ cup all purpose flour

1-teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon Fair Trade Certified cinnamon

¾ cup cooked Fair Trade Certified quinoa

2/3-cup Fair Trade Certified sugar

5 ounces unsalted butter (10 tablespoons), at room temperature

1-tablespoon Fair Trade Certified vanilla extract

½ -teaspoon coarse salt

4 egg yolks

½ cup confectioners sugar (optional)

In a small bowl sift together cornstarch, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl, being sure to incorporate everything, and beat again for a few seconds. Add egg yolks one at a time and beat until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix. Add the dry ingredients and quinoa and mix on low speed being sure that everything is well incorporated. Transfer dough to a countertop and knead briefly bringing everything together. Divide dough into two equal discs and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working with one piece at a time, roll dough to ¼ inch thickness. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter cut out cookies and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheets. The cookies should be spaced at least 1 inch apart. Reroll scraps and repeat. Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes until just golden. Let cookies cool. Flip half of the cookies and fill with 2 teaspoons of coffee dulce de leche filling. Top with remaining cookies. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.


Coffee dulce de leche filling:

1-cup heavy cream

1-tablespoon ground Fair Trade Certified coffee

½ teaspoon(heaping) coarse salt

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons canned prepared dulce de leche

8 ounces Fair Trade Certified bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips

Place chocolate in a mixing bowl.  In a small saucepan whisk together milk and coffee and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover and steep for 5 minutes. Whisk in dulce de leche until smooth and bring back to a full boil. Immediately pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer onto the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.


About Malika Ameen

While Malika Ameen is a Chicago pastry chef, restaurant consultant and mother of three, she was also one of 12 contestants on Bravo's series, Top Chef: Just Desserts. Malika is passionate about beautiful, delicious food. She's obsessed with using only the finest ingredients and is a master at finding the whisper of spice that will enhance her unique flavor combinations. "I believe that spice should be used to compliment flavor . . . never dominate or overpower." says Malika. From simple sea salt and vanilla bean to organic lavender, Malika believes that a hint of spice is what makes her dessert creations . . . memorable.

With many years of fine dining restaurant experience and knowing what flavor combinations strike a rich cord on dessert menus, Malika has created her own indulgent cookie collection called, byMdesserts Couture Cookies. Adored by the who's who of Hollywood, they are sophisticated, decadent and of the highest quality . . . definitely not your grandma's cookies. From Chocolate Truffle to Brown Sugar Shortbread with Lemon Lavender Glaze, each cookie selection showcases her unique understanding of spices and her creativity. In addition, Malika is a consultant helping restaurants and chefs design their ideal dessert menus.