Sandwich cookies are a fun favorite of many. The outer cookie can be just about any flavor, filled with whatever surprising treat you choose. People even eat them differently. Some eat them whole, while others like to pull them apart and eat them section by section. What kind of sandwich cookie eater are you?
These sandwich cookies were inspired by the popular Peruvian cookie known as alfajores. My first encounter with these absolutely delicious cookies was at a local Peruvian restaurant that my husband and I frequently dine at. First, let me just say, Peruvian food is out of this world delicious! The flavors are mind blowing! Not only are their savory traditional dishes unforgettable, but their sweet treats are just as memorable.
So, back to the alfajores. This is a traditional Peruvian cookie that is most commonly made with either wheat flour or cornstarch. Then it is filled with caramel, dulce de leche being the most popular choice. A dusting of powdered sugar, and this cookie is complete. The cookie is reminiscent of shortbread. So on a recent visit to our favorite Peruvian restaurant, my husband and I enjoyed some alfajores. As we indulged in these sweet delights, I thought to myself, "I bet I could come up with a way to make something similar to this using ingredients that would fall more in line with the ingredients I use at home." My goal would be to keep them gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and use no refined sugars. That pretty much changes the dynamics of the cookie all together, but the end result was loved and devoured by all who ate them!
Since I recently created my pistachio shortbread cookie recipe, I decided to go with that. You could also try my black sesame shortbread cookie, or replace the pistachio flour with some almond or cashew flour. My caramel is date based, and instead of powdered sugar, I used some finely shredded unsweetened coconut. But some cookies I left plain. If you are fine with using powdered sugar, why not. Give them a dusting. I'm sure they will be fabulous.
These pistachio caramel sandwich cookies are great companions to a cup of coffee or tea. If you are craving a little something sweet, these are the perfect little cookie to grab and enjoy. So give this alternative to alfajores a try. And if you happen to be enjoying some Peruvian cuisine any time soon, you must introduce yourself to a traditional alfajores!
2 cups pistachio flour
1/4 cup tapioca or arrowroot
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted grass-fed butter, softened (palm shortening for vegan)
1/3 cup cashew butter, softened
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cashew butter
2 Tbs coconut milk
unsweetened shredded coconut
1. Cream the butter (or palm shortening) with the cashew butter. Then using your hand mixer, mix in the maple syrup.
2. In a separate bowl, sift together the pistachio flour, tapioca (or arrowroot), coconut flour, and salt.
3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Place the dough in the refrigerator for about one hour. You can also store the dough in your refrigerator a couple days in advance if needed.
4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Sprinkle some tapioca or arrowroot on your working surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters of your choice. For the sandwich cookies, I used round cookie cutters 2 inches in diameter. That makes 40 cookies so you end up with 20 sandwich cookies by the time they are assembled.
6. If you wish to garnish the cookies with some shredded coconut, sprinkle the coconut on the cookies and gently press down with the rolling pin. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes and allow to cool.
7. While cooling, you can make the caramel by placing all of the caramel ingredients into your food processor and process until you have a nice, smooth consistency. Then, sandwich about one tablespoon of caramel in between two cookies. Sit back, relax, and enjoy these little delights! They don't last long!