Yesterday I got a sweet craving, and re-discovered a jar of dulce de leche in the refrigerator. Instead of eating it with a spoon like a heathen (not that I haven’t done exactly that before), I decided to make a batch of simple sugar cookies since I was all out of galletas Marias. Naturally since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I grabbed a heart-shaped cookie cutter from the drawer, and thus Dulce de Leche Valentine’s Day Cookies were born. When dusted with powdered sugar, they’re kind of like alfajores! … Make a batch for your corazón de melon, your niños, or even yourself.
Dulce de Leche Valentine’s Day Cookies
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
a little less than a 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 jar or can of your favorite dulce de leche
powdered sugar for sprinkling
1. Beat the softened butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
2. Add flour, baking powder, and salt – sprinkling the baking powder and salt so it’s evenly distributed on the flour. (This is a short cut to avoid having to combine dry ingredients separately in another bowl!) Use a rubber spatula to mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
3. Form the dough into a large ball and cover tightly with plastic wrap inside the bowl. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven heats, work with small amounts of dough, (leaving the rest covered in the refrigerator), to cut out the cookies. You can use a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, but it isn’t necessary. You can simply flatten a small amount with your palm right on the parchment paper covered baking sheet, then use a heart-shaped cookie cutter on the flattened dough. Remove the excess dough from the edges of the heart shape and re-use for the next cookie you cut out.
5. Bake cookies about 1 to 2 inches apart, (if the dough has been properly chilled and your pan is not hot before going into the oven, it shouldn’t spread and will maintain its shape.)
6. Bake about 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. (Bake time may be slightly less or more, depending on the size and thickness of your cookies. My heart-shaped cookies were about palm-sized and no more than a 1/4 inch thick.)
7. Remove cookies to cool on clean, dry paper towels, (or on wire racks if you’re fancy. I personally don’t own any of those.)
8. For the first few hours these cookies will be mostly soft and chewy, but if you make them in the evening and wait until the next morning (which is what I prefer), the texture becomes chewy on the inside but more crisp on the outside.
9. Use a butter knife to spread your favorite dulce de leche either on top of the cookies, or on the bottom of one to sandwich it between two cookies.
10. Dust with powdered sugar. (I recommend doing this by putting a small amount of powdered sugar in a fine mesh sieve and gently tapping it over the cookies to avoid large clumps of powdered sugar.)
11. Give to your valentine before you eat them all yourself.