Monday, May 27, 2013

Alfajores Recipe is Income Generating for Peruvian Women

“Alfajores de maicena” are soft and delicious pastries in South America made with cornstarch and filled with “dulce de leche”, but in Cajamarca, Peru, they are filled with the delicious “manjar blanco,” a variety of “dulce de leche”.

Alicia Yupanque, a 15-year old instructor, taught women how to make alfajores at the Hope House last Wednesday, May 15th.  Alicia  started her own business baking alfajores on weekends and sold them to street vendors and local stores in Cajamarca. She shared her baking skills with 25 women and her students got excited with a new business opportunity that triples their investment. It costs about $6 to make 50 alfajores in Peru, but they are sold for 0.40 cents each, leaving a net profit of $14. Below is Alicia’s recipe.

Recipe for Alfajores de Maizena (Peruvian Pastries)

 To make 50 units

 4 cups of all-purpose flour

1 ¾ cups of butter

½ cup of powdered sugar

4 cups of corn flour

1 cup of corn starch

2 eggs


1 ½ cup of manjar blanco (dulce de leche)

1 cup of grated coconut

¾ cup of powdered sugar


1. Sift the all-purpose flour, corn flour, corn starch, and sugar. Then, use a bowl to mix flour, corn flour, corn starch, sugar, eggs, and butter until mixture is soft and uniform. Place the dough into a plastic bag and wrap it tightly. Place it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough. Roll to 1/4-inch thickness (the dough will crack but can be easily patched back together). Stamp out 50 circles using a plain or fluted 2-inch round cutter, rerolling the dough as necessary until all of it is gone. These will become the outside cookies.

3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line eight baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

4. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, 12 per sheet and at least 1/2 inch apart. Bake one sheet at a time until the cookies are firm and slightly golden on the bottom, about 20 minutes. (The cookies will remain light colored on top.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Flip half of the cookies upside down and gently spread about 2 teaspoons of the dulce de leche on each. Place a second cookie on top and gently press to create a sandwich. Dust outside circles with grated coconut on top and bottom layers with powdered sugar.