Forget candy bars, Alfajores are a national obsession here in Argentina. Originating in the Middle East then transforming once in Spain and again in Argentina, the modern Alfajore is a large cookie filled with dulce de leche (sometimes mousse or jam) and usually covered in chocolate. You can buy fresh ones in bakeries and prepackaged ones in kioscos on nearly every street in Buenos Aires.
What better way to illustrate the splendid variety and deliciousness of the Argentine Alfajore then to do a taste test. You know, for journalism’s sake.
(Sometimes I love my job. Not so much when it’s 1 AM and I’m frantically trying to come up with something, anything to say because I haven’t written in a week. But other days when I come up with a brilliant idea like this, I just love my work.)
So allow me to go all fancy food blogger on you:
Terrabusi Alfajor Clasico
This Alfajor is representative of traditional Argentine Alfajores. It contained thick crumbly cookies with a thin layer of dulce de leche in between. It was a bit dry, after all 4 layers of cookie is a lot to shove into your mouth at once.
Verdict: Eat with milk.
Ugh. I was originally attracted to this one because of it’s unique square shape and the fact that it’s made with rice. Also, peanut butter!
I did not realize that “made with rice” meant that instead of crunchy cookies there would be chewy flavorless rice cakes. The whole thing felt like eating a terribly unsatisfying granola bar and that’s not what I want out of my cookie experience.
Verdict: Disqualified for being healthy and also gross.
Yes, Oreo makes an Alfajor, they know their markets well! And, don’t judge me, but it’s kind of my favorite. Maybe because I’ve been indoctrinated with the oreo love from a young age, but I just really like this one. The inside is all crisp chocolate cracker and white cream filling. It’s basically just a really tricked out Oreo but man is it tasty (especially frozen).
Verdict: Perfect for the American Palate.
Cachafaz Alfajores: Dulce de Leche
This cookie was much closer to the realy “home made alfajores” that you might find in a bakery. It consisted of two pillowy sugar cookies with half an inch of dulce de leche filling. The edges had been rolled in coconut shavings.
It was probably the best looking of the bunch but was oddly flavorless and alarmingly chewy.
Verdict: Skip this, go for the real deal from a bakery.
This was also one of my favorites. I have a weakness for anything crunchy and this cookie had thing crisp layers that weren’t super dry. The layers of dulce de leche were sticky but not overpowering like in some of the others. Overall this one was just very well balanced and delicious!
The whole point of alfajores is to be decadent but this one is serious extravagant. It’s three thick chocolate cookies, seperated by thick and sticky dulce de leche and covered in another layer of chocolate.
Verdict: Tasty, but split it with a friend.
Don’t worry, I didn’t eat these all in one sitting but over the course of a couple of weeks- I promise!
Along with empanadas and mate, alfajores are one of those foods I always associate with Argentina. I suspect I’ll get the chance to sample quite a few more before I leave. Perhaps for a follow up article…