A South American traditional cookie made with salted dulce de leche sandwiched between two shortbread cookies!
Do you have a family member, a loved one, or a friend you care for dearly yet lives far away? Do hold them in your heart and wish you could give them anything they needed at a moment’s notice?
Whether it’s just one person or an entire family, I think we all have a special someone in our lives that because of distance, may not be next to us right now.
This heartwarming video below shows how Western Union’s aim is to connect people globally. As we all know, the best way we connect to one’s family and culture is through food.
My mother, for example, was born in Ecuador, a small yet beautiful country in the north western region of South America. She moved to New York with her parents when she was 8; about 10 years later, I was born. Despite my mother’s adapted North American lifestyle, she never forgot about her love of Ecuadorian food which helped in return, shape my cultural identity. Because I was raised eating several Ecuadorian meals, this brought me closer in connecting with my extended family every time I go to visit the country.
As you watch the video an important message to remember from Western Union is that no matter where you were born or how far away you may be from your birth country, your love of native foods is a part of your cultural identity which links to family and good memories.
I am certain in some way you can relate to the individuals who had to move whether it was to go to school, to work, or simply live a better life. Personally, I felt I related to those receiving the meals. As I watched, I reminisced about the times I visited Ecuador. I would stay with my loving extended family and experience the start of their daily routine of waking up at dawn, walking to the local market, and purchasing a bag of fresh bread that always had a deliciously sweet scent I will never forget. It was always served with my favorite tea in the world, cedron! Too bad the herb, cedron, is not found in the US. I was thisclose to bringing back a packet of seeds on the plane during my last visit in July 2014 but was too afraid of completing the paperwork for customs. So I chickened out.
Just as those families in the video all shared something from their country for a loved one, I too would like to share this recipe with my family from Ecuador. I may not have made a meal, but I do know they would enjoy something that I am good at and that’s my passion for baking, especially for sweets. Besides, just about every aunt, uncle and cousin I have has a sweet tooth.
I wanted to create something they knew they would not just enjoy but fall in LOVE! Think of dulce de leche almost like a Hispanic “staple of sweets” in my culture. We hear it and we begin to salivate. There’s just something about this caramelized sweetened milk that makes us go crazy.
I cannot say for certain if the combination of sweet and salty is something familiar with in Ecuador but I do know here in the US, it has become very popular. So to give this traditional South American alfajores a twist, I’ve added sea salt to the dulce de leche. In addition, just about everyone there loves chocolate so I coated one-half of the cookie sandwich just to give a little extra milk chocolaty sweetness. Mmm Perfect!
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup dulce de leche
- sea salt
- confectioners sugar, for dusting
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch, flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla and continue to mix until just combined. Gradually add cornstarch mixture and mix until a soft dough begins to form.
- Over a large sheet of plastic wrap, shape dough into a disk. Use the plastic wrap to help aide in shaping of the dough. Note: if made correctly, the dough should not stick to the plastic wrap however if it does, lightly sprinkle with flour to prevent further sticking.
- Place a second sheet of plastic wrap over disk-shaped dough and use a rolling pin to flatten to about a 1/4-inch in thickness. Stamp out rounds. Reroll and continue to stamp out more rounds until dough is gone. Transfer rounds to the cookie sheets spaced 1-inch apart. Transfer rounds to the cookie sheets spaced 1-inch apart.
- Bake each sheet separately for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are light golden in color. Allow cookies to cool in pan for 2 minutes to set before transferring to a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, microwave chocolate chips on HIGH at 30 second intervals, stir. Continue to microwave until chocolate is completely melted.
- Once cookies have cooled to room temperature, line them about 1/2-inch apart over the wire rack, place a plate underneath to catch excess chocolate. Moving in one direction, slowly pour chocolate over cookies. Use a butter knife or a toothpick to drag chocolate to fill any gaps; set to dry.
- Spread 1 tablespoonful of dulce de leche over one side of the cookie; sprinkle with sea salt. Place a chocolate covered cookie on top and dust with confectioners sugar. ENJOY!
Recipe source: www.urbanbakes.com
Although you may live far from your friends, family or a significant other, it’s important to stay connected with using Western Union. No matter how much you give, it’s the gift of giving that matters most.
I would like to know from you, do you have a someone you care for dearly that lives far away? If so, what is one food you would make for them?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.