Love, Books and Sweet Memories

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To celebrate LOVE in 2018, (my daughters wedding in April and my sons recent engagement in New York) I’m posting a recipe for Peruvian Wedding Biscuits.
I have been on search for the recipe for these sweet delights since first trying them in Bookoccino book store in Avalon on Sydney’s northern beaches years ago. I feel such a sense of triumph that I should find the recipe on the the day my son proposed to his gorgeous girlfriend half way around the world.
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Peruvian Alfajores

Actually these light and delicious biscuits are a favoured memory of many Avalon locals who used to sit in the cafe at the back of the book store and “treat” themselves with these delicious caramel centred light shortbread biscuits (they were wrongly labelled as Mexican wedding biscuits which is why it has taken so long to find the recipe). The original baker who supplied the cafe back them was nit willing to part with the recipe.
wedding biscuits (2 of 5)
wedding biscuits (6 of 12)
Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornflour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the egg yolks, brandy, and vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
  4. Reduce speed to low and gradually add in dry mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together and no dry pockets are visible.
  5. Turn dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a smooth disk, and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  7. Unwrap dough and roll between two sheets of freezer paper. Roll to ¼-inch thick and remove the top sheet of freezer paper. Cut 24 rounds from the dough, re-rolling as needed.
  8. Bake on prepared baking sheets for 12-14 minutes until the edges are golden and centers are set.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before assembling.

wedding biscuits (5 of 12)

wedding biscuits (4 of 12)

Making the Caramel Centre (Dulce de leche)

Ingredients

 

2 X 395G cans sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F). Place the condensed milk in a 1.5-litre-capacity ovenproof baking dish and press a sheet of baking paper on top. Cover the dish tightly with aluminium foil and place in a larger deep-sided baking tray. Fill the larger tray with boiling water until it comes two-thirds up the side of the dish+.
  • Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes or until golden caramel in colour. Spoon the caramel into a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Spoon into sterilised glass jars and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 2 cups.

+ Be sure to fill the larger baking tray two-thirds full with water – too little water and the caramel will catch and burn.

Tip: Dulce de leche will keep, refrigerated, for up to three weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.

To Assemble

  • To assemble, sprinkle cookies with a generous dusting of icing sugar. Turn half of the cookies upside down and spread with a thick layer of caramel filling. (dulce de leche). Place remaining cookies on top of the dulce de leche to create a sandwich.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature

wedding biscuits (4 of 5)

There’s something wonderful about a local bookstore loved by many. Now under new ownership and relocated across the road it’s such a treat to sit and drink endless cups of tea amongst the books and book lovers.
As part of a book publishing family, growing up was all about “the books”. I remember my dad reading Rudyard Kipling “Just So” stories to me when I was little and  mum reading through the Winnie the Pooh collection and reciting all the poems with such theatrical precision – the lilt and rhythm of her gorgeous voice are still such a strong memory even now.

wedding biscuits (1 of 5)

Source:

  • The biscuits: http://bakelovegive.com/peruvian-alfajores/
  • The caramel filling: https://www.donnahay.com.au/recipes/sauces-and-condiments/homemade-dulce-de-leche

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