What can be more traditional than a sweet name after the country? Chilenitos is a sweet, a cookie if you must, where two wafers are stuck together with generous dulce de leche and then wrapped around with meringue dried in the oven so all the goodness is sealed and awaiting.
Chilenitos are one of our most traditional Chilean sweets that cannot be missing from the dessert tables. Whoever came up with the idea of covering the classic alfajor in meringue is a genius.
The combination of textures is incredible, and although it is not easy to eat hidden, the crumbs abound. It is 100% worth it. If you want to make them for parties, it is much better to make them small cocktail sizes so that it is possible to eat them in one bite.
I recommend preparing the alfajores’ wafers one day, making the meringue, and baking the next, so it is not so laborious. And they last well up to a week in an airtight container. You can freeze them, but the meringue “sweats” a bit when defrosting.
Tips for great Chilenitos:
What is the most important thing for the chilenitos to be delicious?
The kneading by hand for 10 minutes and with a machine for at least 5 minutes, the dough should be smooth and sound (crack)
What manjar or dulce de leche do you recommend?
I like the Colun or the artisanal one from Playa Venado in Chile. It’s terrific. I preferred the La Lechera brand, canned in the USA and made in Chile. Available at Walmart or Safeway and Latino supermarkets.
Do not use Argentinian Dulce de Leche or Cajeta. They have different flavor profiles.
Can I remove or replace the vinegar?
It can be replaced with orange juice or alcohol (brandy or pisco). The idea is to prevent the flour from forming gluten so that the alfajores are crispy and not chewy. The acid and alcohol help, so I don’t recommend omitting this ingredient.
What can I do so the circles do not deform or shrink when cutting and handling them?
I recommend rolling the dough directly on the baking sheet (cookie sheets work great for this) with a bit of flour. Cut and prick the alfajores and go straight to the oven. Or on silicone mats that you can slide onto the baking sheet. Avoid having to lift the circles.
My dough is dry. Can I add milk or water?
Occasionally, if you live in a very dry climate, or the egg yolks are too small, they will lack liquid to hold the dough together. Add milk or water one teaspoon until you can unite and knead it.Print
for the alfajor wafers:
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour sifted, 250 grams
- 3 egg yolks (we will use the whites for the meringue)
- 5 tablespoons of whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vinegar (apple cider or white)
- 1 tablespoon of melted butter or vegetable oil
- 1 can Dulce the Leche
for the meringue:
- 3 egg whites at room temperature (1/2 cup)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C. At least 20 minutes of preheating.
Roll thin and cut the alfajores. Before putting it in the oven, score with a fork. I roll the dough into the cookie sheet with a bit of flour, cut them up, and that’s it. So I don’t have to move the wafers, and they don’t deform.
To make the meringue: In a large pot, place 5cm of water and bring to a boil for the bain-marie. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a minimum.
Place the whites, sugar, and vanilla, if desired, in a metal bowl that you can place over the pot to set up the bain-marie so that the bowl does NOT touch the water. With a manual balloon whisk, combine all the ingredients.
Remove from the water bath and start beating with a mixer at maximum speed until the meringue is cold—about 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 100C or 212F. Hopefully, you have an oven thermometer because it’s essential, so they don’t brown.
You can store the baked alfajor wafers without filling in an airtight can for up to 1 week, freeze for up to 2 months. The chilenitos last a week at room temperature and can be frozen for up to 2 months.
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Sweets
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Chilean
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 181
- Sugar: 24.1 g
- Sodium: 56.7 mg
- Fat: 3.7 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 32.6 g
- Fiber: 0.2 g
- Protein: 4.2 g
- Cholesterol: 30.5 mg
Keywords: chilean chilenitos, chilean sweets