Corn starch alfajores – Bite-sized perfection

Guest post by Antonella Delfino.

Alfajores are a sweet treat that has been present since colonial times all over Latin America. Each country has a different way of preparing them, but the concept is the same: two cookies filled with some kind of caramel. In Peru we have two basic kinds of dough (wheat flour or corn starch) and two kinds of filling (dulce de leche or syrup). The recipe featured in this post combines the less common corn starch dough with the traditional manjarblanco (dulce de leche) filling. And by less common I don’t mean it’s not common, just that the other preparation is even more famous.

This recipe has been in my family for many years, being part of my grandmother´s culinary inheritance. Apparently, she used to make them very frequently. Many times I heard about her famous “alfajores de maicena” (corn starch alfajores), but it all seemed like a legend to me, as no one in my family had prepared them for over fifteen years. A few days ago, driven to change this, I got my hands on the recipe -which didn’t specify any quantities- and ventured into trying it.

This kind of alfajores is very frail, so it is important to handle them delicately. You have to be patient and fill them slowly and carefully, one by one, but it is worth it because what you get at the end is amazing. The texture is fine and crumbly, almost powdery, and the flavor is perfect. No other word would describe it fairly. With this recipe you will get 35 small and delicious alfajores. They are a good accompaniment for coffee or tea, great to pass around on a big tray at parties, and a good option for lunchboxes too, or as a tiny dessert that takes away that sweet craving.

What do you think? Does your family have a favorite recipe for alfajores?

Corn starch alfajores
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 35 alfajores
  • 2 cups corn starch, sifted
  • ⅔ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh milk (if necessary)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can dulce de leche
  • Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat the eggs with the sugar at medium speed, for 3 minutes; add the butter and continue beating. Stop the mixer.
  3. Add the corn starch and baking powder in three parts, using a spatula, then knead lightly with your hand until the dough is no longer sticky. If the dough feels dry add the milk.
  4. On a floured table, roll the dough with a floured rolling pin to form a very thin layer, about a ⅛ inch.
  5. To make the cookies cut the dough with round cookie cutters, and bake for 8 minutes in ungreased baking sheets. If you don't have cookie cutters, be creative. You can use the top of a glass or cup, which will make slightly bigger alfajores.
  6. Cool the cookies on racks. When completely cool, fill them with a teaspoon dulce de leche. Place another cookie on top, like a sandwich, and sift the confectioner’s sugar over the alfajores.
  7. Serve at once with a glass of milk, coffee, tea, or with ice cream!


  1. I just want the dulce de leche! Que rico. Pinned.

  2. These are sooo delicious! I love ordering these at my favorite Peruvian Restaurant and now I have the recipe thanks to you!!

  3. Love it! These look so easy to make. Thanks for the recipe. Pinning it to my food board. xo

  4. These look so good! Great for a dinner party since they are bite sized. I’ve never seen them before actually. I wonder if Dominicans have their own alfajores.

  5. Peruvian alfajores are a delicacy. So soft and enjoyable! And yes, because they are bite sized, you can enjoy them, even if you are on a diet!

  6. I see baking powder in the ingredient list, but nowhere in the instructions. At what point is it best to add it? With the corn starch?

  7. Hey there great recipe! Only problem I had was when I put the cookies to bake in an ungreased cookie sheet, they all where stuck and it was disappointing! Next batch I greased the cookie sheet and they were wonderful!! Thank you for the recipe.

  8. Hey, I just read the last comment, I was about the ask the same, I did these yesterday. They are almost gone, but I noticed there is no instruction as to when to put the baking powder.

    I have another question, is there a way to prevent them to raise too much in the middle? When I do them (and this has happened in the past too), they don’t seem to keep an even shape when raising.

    • Hi Edgard. To prevent the cookies to rise in the middle, prick them several times with the tines of a fork before baking them. This will keep them even.
      The baking powder is combined with the dry ingredients.

  9. I tried these and they were perfect! Thank you so much for this recipe, had tried another but this one had the best texture and it was super easy to handle dough. I used powdered sugar for the sugar ingedient, and added a tablespoon. I also poked holes with a fork before baking. Also there is no need to refrigerate dough before baking which is great.

  10. Amazing! I would say better than “La Casa del Alfajor”! They melt in your mouth! Thank you so much! I’ve tried other recipes before (with flour and corn starch) and they were always dry. Now I have to practice how to make them super thin because they rise quite a bit.

  11. HI!!! love your recipes. any consideration to putting a search tab in? also, did you post a recipe for dulce de leche? gracias!!!

    • One of our recipes for dulce de leche is coming, Rosa. Stay tuned.
      And we have a search tab. It helps to find any recipe.
      Thanks for visiting!

  12. maggie petersen says:

    making these tonight…
    out of all the recipes i’ve seen, this one looks like it will give me the best
    results, will see 🙂

  13. Hello. For how long do you cook them in the oven?

  14. What a great recipe! I made these last night and they turned out great. Thanks!!!

  15. Hi, I did this recipe, delicious flavor, but I dont know where I went wrong. I know they are delicate cookies, but mine were super fragile, it was hard to put the dulce de leche without then falling/breaking apart. I used a sleeve, not a spoon to fill them. Any suggestion or thoughts on why mine broke?!
    By far this is the best and closest recipe I’ve done. Thanks 🙂

  16. Hi, I did this recipe. Delishes. Only problem, mine were too fragile. They would break when putting dulce de leche. And I used a sleeve, not a spoon. Any suggestions.? When you call for 4 tablespoons of sugar, is it confectioners sugar or regular white sugar. I used confectioners, thats the only thing that comes to mind that maybe I did wrong. Thanks for your help, looking foward to doing the recipe again!

    • Hi Jacqueline. These cookies are very fragile, that´s why they melt in your mouth… But maybe you roll the dough too thin? You can use regular sugar for the recipe. Thanks for visiting!

  17. Hi Peru Delights,
    I wonder if you would have a recipe with metric measurements as I am in the UK. Many thanks.

  18. These were very light and looked lovely, but I could really taste the baking powder in the finished product. Is it absolutely necessary to put this much in? I think I’ll give it another try reducing the baking powder in half…?

    • Hi JO. This recipe always gives us good results. I don´t know about the baking powder you are using, but try to reduce the amount by half, just to see if that flavor fades.

  19. hi! i tried your recipe earlier and mine turned out differently. i only tried half the recipe and had to add more cornstarch. after beating the butter with the egg mixture i noticed that it curdled a little bit. then after adding all of the cornstarch my batter was still runny. i added about almost a another cup more of cornstarch until it reached the consistency you were asking for. i hope you could enlighten me as to what went wrong so i could make a better batch. thank you!

  20. I am excited to try to make this cookie. I work with a Peruvian lady and she just gave me an alfajore. It reminds me of the flavor of Mexican Wedding Cakes. So yummy! My husband, his sister and neice have Celiac and cannot eat wheat so this recipe is perfect!

  21. Hello, thank you for sharing this recipe. I would like to ask if you use american measurements for this and the rest of your recipes. I mean a cup of 250 ml, a tablespoon of 15 ml, etc. ? I love your blog and I am from Chile. Gracias y muchos cariños!

  22. This was a huge hit at a party we went to, where our neighbors were sharing pictures from their trip to Peru. I made them again tonight, because they turned out so well. I would bet that for the commenter that had runny batter, either they used the whole egg, or very large yolks. I used jumbo eggs the first time, and so only used three yolks. They were perfect. Tonight, I used 4 yolks from large eggs.

    The cookies rose just enough to make it look like they were all identical. I used a pastry bag to fill them, and just set the second cookie on top. None broke using this method. Thanks fir the great recipe!!!

  23. Just curious how long the cookie will stay fresh if I make them for a party. I’ve had plenty of dry alfajores. Not horrible, I still eat them of course, but I’d like them to taste fresh if I make them a few day before. Thanks, I’m going to try to impress my Peruvian husband for his 40th. The picture looks just like the ones we get in Lima.

    • Bake the cookies, cool them and store them in tightly sealed tins. When ready to serve them, fill with dulce de leche, dust with confectioners´sugar, and listo!

  24. I followed the instructions and unfortunately my biscuit part came off really bitter. Not sure what I could’ve done wrong. Perhaps not enough sugar? Or too much cornstarch?

  25. no flour???? i am about to do this recipie and i had never seen one without flour!!! :S

  26. I made this cookies they came out dry and hard and i can taste the flavor of the baking power

    • Hi Yamily. We have tried and tested this recipe many times. They come out so soft, that they may even be hard to handle. So maybe you did something wrong by accident or your oven is too strong? Baking is hard because it needs to be very precise, otherwise you get unwanted results.

  27. I made these and they turned out EXACTLY how I remembered them, back in my days when my family lived in Lima, Peru.

    Will definitely be making these again! Yes, the cookies were very crumbly …but that’s what made them so authentic! I would recommend putting the cookies in the refrigerator (in a closed container) for a few hours after they have cooled – this makes them much easier to work with and allows you to spread the dulce de leche without them breaking!

  28. 1) Buy your dulce de leche in the Ethnic/Mexican/Hispanic section of the store. Don’t just buy caramel.

    2) Mix the dulce de leche with a bit of milk to make it smoother and softer.

    3) Use a piping bag (or a ziplock bag with a small corner cut off) to pipe the dulce de leche onto the center of a cookie then put the top on and gently push together to spread it. Be Careful if the cookies are breaking your dulce de leche is too stiff!

    4) if you’re having trouble with the dough sticking to the counter, use the wax paper method.
    Here’s what we do: (and we’re about to make about 1000 cookies)

    2 sheets wax paper about 16″ long each(shorter than baking sheet)

    Put about a double fist sized ball in the center of one sheet, cover with the other.

    Roll out the ball until it is about 1/8″ thick for 1″ cookies (slightly thicker for larger cookies. 2″+) put on cookie sheet place in freezer for 15 min. (note: cold cookie sheets makes this closer to 8-10 min)

    Remove from the freezer, remove top wax paper, start cutting circles. When done with circles take remaining dough, roll in ball again, put top sheet back on and flatten again. Repeat until you have too little dough.

    Get two sets of these going so you can alternate between the freezer.

    My wife’s from Peru, so she has her own recipe, but this one is really close.

  29. Absolutely delicious!!! Made this tonight — wow- is all I can really say . Taste like the Peruvian cookies that I’ve bought at sobores del sur. ( restaurant in the Bay Area) So easy to make and will be definitely be Making these again!!! Thank you so much for sharing

  30. Just made the cookie part (delicious!) but don’t need to take them in for a school project for two more days–is it okay to fill them with the dulce de leche now or should I wait until the night prior? The jar of dulce de leche also says to refrigerate after opening, so wasn’t sure if the alfajores then also need to be refrigerated? Can’t wait to add the caramel spread as I’m sure it’s going to taste even more amazing, if that’s possible! Thanks for the great recipe!

  31. Can I make these ahead and freeze them? I’d like to make them for an upcoming wedding (the groom is Peruvian) but I’d need to make them at least three days ahead. Thanks!

  32. Hi! So I am cooking a meal and this will be the dessert but I do not have much time tomorrow to make these so I wanted to make them tonight instead. Will it not taste as good? And how can I store them (fridge, room temp, etc.) until tomorrow?


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