It was the end of November, we were living as poor university students at that point in Dresden, in the east of Germany. We had no clue what to do. Everybody around us seemed to be busy decorating the apartment with wood handcraft from the close Ore mountains. Nutcrackers, smoking manikins, “Schwippbögen”, these are usually showing the nativity, were unwrapped and placed throughout the apartment. We simply couldn’t afford German wood handcraft from the region and therefore only had bare walls to show. Our Christmas decorations? Nil, nada, inexistent. What to do if you can barely make ends meet? My solution was simple: gingerbread or German Lebkuchen. Gingerbread is perfect if you want to use it as decoration. Regardless if you wish to use it for a gingerbread house (or even village?), to decorate your Christmas tree with, or to make an advent calendar. Gingerbread was my solution to our Christmas decoration.
It is time for alfajores. Alfa what you ask? Alfajores are sandwich cookies that first were popular in Spain and later on brought to the colonies in Latin America. Traditionally alfajores are filled with the caramel cream called dulce de leche. Today I brought along some with strong coffee flavor and caramel as the filling. If you want to go extra crazy, you may also use some flaky sea salt as a nice contrast. We are in the middle of my cookie week and since I am posting seven cookie recipes from my birth country Uruguay on seven consecutive days, you get coffee alfajores today.
These cookies from Uruguay are called yo-yo as they actually look exactly like the toy yo-yo. When I took them to my colleagues as my first batch of test eaters, they got raving reviews. According to a few colleagues, I should bring more often treats from Uruguay if they were as tasty as these cookies. What I like about them is the fact that you can easily mix together the batter fairly quickly. It does contain a small part of cornstarch that makes them extra soft. Obviously it does contain the caramel cream names dulce de leche and is covered in chocolate. This is my sixth recipe in my cookie week.
Ricarditos are Uruguay’s version of chocolate-coated marshmallow treats. The base is a shortbread cookie, which then receives a meringue as topping. This meringue is then dipped in chocolate. Obviously, as always the Uruguayan caramel cream called dulce de leche also has to play a role here. Otherwise it would not be Uruguayan duh. This is my fifth recipe during my Uruguayan cookie week.
Espejitos or small mirrors is the literal translation of these cookies from Uruguay. They are made as a shortbread cookie, filled with jam and the caramel cream dulce de leche and have a chocolate covering. Sounds good? I just love these cookies, jam PLUS, caramel, PLUS chocolate, who can say no to that? Unfortunately it never takes long and they disappear so quickly whenever I make them, I simply can’t say no. These are my fourth recipe of my Uruguayan cookie week, check out the other recipes here.
Guys, I believe this is going to be a long post as I need to explain quite a bit. For recipe number 3 of my cookie week, I brought along Uruguayan crackers or bizcochitos de grasa, which are sometimes simply called bizcochitos. These savory crackers are usually served for breakfast or even prior to breakfast. Just as we are used to drinking coffee, Uruguayans drink mate tea. Not the old-fashioned way with tea bags, no, you will serve the loose tea in a curved container, which is called “bombilla”. The brown container you see on the pictures is what I am talking about. Usually the loose tea is placed in the bombilla, the filled with hot water and then you drink it with a type of straw. Mate tea is so common in Uruguay, you will always be offered a cup of it, regardless at which time of the day. You will see people on the streets happily walking around with thermos flasks, hot water is served at every single kiosk. Obviously, when we went on a holiday in Uruguay a few years ago, we naturally drank a lot of it. By the way, everybody will drink from the same straw and water is going to be refilled constantly. I don’t think I have ever heard of anybody being worried about hygiene.
Uruguayian salchichón de chocolate or chocolate salami is one of my favorite cookies from Uruguay. I decided to introduce this cookie during my cookie week. This is recipe number 2. You will find something similar in Italy, but since we are in Uruguay, of course we have to add the Latin American touch to it: dulce de leche. How to make dulce de leche from scratch I do explain in this blog post. And don’t you agree, doesn’t it look for real? If Uruguayans are good at something, it’s magically making something special out of the ordinary. Just like these salami cookies. You know, you basically throw together the ingredients, chill them, and then you cut off your salami slices. Well, OK, my version has you roast the hazelnuts, melt the chocolate and crush the cookies, but then you are actually good to go. Doesn’t this sound awesome?
Today I have something exciting to share. I am doing a cookie week. Yes, you read right, cookie week means I will publish seven cookie recipes on seven consecutive days starting today. I decided to start with meringue alfajores or in Spanish alfajores de nieve, which are chocolate sandwich cookies filled with caramel made from sweetened condensed milk and are dunked in dried meringue. They are my favorite cookie from Uruguay after the chocolate alfajores. I thought it was about time to introduce another variety of alfajores. You can also find classic alfajores, which is a shortbread sandwich cookie with cornstarch, double chocolate alfajores, and today finally alfajores with a thick layer of dried meringue: Alfajores de Nieve. Let’s get started on Uruguayan cookie week!
So you are looking for cookies that melt in your mouth, have a slight hint of rosemary and taste lemony? Then look no further. These buttery lemon rosemary Heidesand cookies are for you. You do require a bit of chilling for these, but I personally think they are so worth the effort. And once you got them chilled, these are your typical slice and bake cookies. I actually once took a shower in the morning while they were baking, just to be sure I had them all fresh on that day.
Baci di dama are heavenly cookies, a touch like a feather. These Italian cookies literally translate as a kiss by a lady. If you look at the profile of these cookies, they look like a set of lips wishing to kiss you. I really like this picturesque name which does tell you a lot what these cookies are going to taste like. Roasted hazelnuts are combined with buttery shortbread, which is sandwiched together by delicious melted chocolate. Baci di dama are perfect as a giveaway, superb for a coffee break and simply to enjoy.