chocolaty dulce de leche duos

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I had never had dulce de leche before I spent a summer in Santa Cruz, Bolivia over 10 years ago. In fact, I’m not sure I had even heard of it before then. But one taste of the sweet, sticky, caramelly spread and I was instantly hooked. I was in Santa Cruz volunteering as a supervisor for Amigos de las Americas and was often in a rush to get out of the door in the morning, but not without having my bread and dulce de leche. It always seemed like an indulgent breakfast – I was essentially starting the day off with dessert – but hey, do as the locals do, right? It certainly gave me something to look forward to when my alarm when off in the morning!

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When I came back to the States after 3 months of bread slathered with dulce de leche, I went into a bit of withdrawal. It’s probably better that I didn’t know then how easy dulce de leche is to make, or I would have eaten it by the gallon. Ok, I confess, I still haven’t made it myself, but it’s basically just sweetened condensed milk that’s heated up slowly until it becomes thick and creamy. Sounds easy enough, right? But these days it’s much more accessible in grocery stores (often in the international aisle), making these chocolaty dulce de leche duos even easier to make.

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I came across the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours and knew I had to have them. I’ve been woefully behind in my holiday baking this year, in large part because I’ve been having horrible back pain (one of the less fun consequences of pregnancy), but I was encouraged by the short list of ingredients and straightforward construction. I often steer clear of sandwich cookies, not because I don’t love them – I do – but because they take more time. I ignored the little voice in my head telling me to turn the page because the temptation of cookies made with dulce de leche and filled with dulce de leche was just too strong.

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The cookies really are quite easy to make, but they do take a little more time. The process will go faster (and be more fun!) if you have an extra pair of hands to help assemble, but it is totally doable on your own. Greenspan’s original recipe doesn’t call for chocolate at all, though she suggested it in the sidebar, and I was far too enamored with the idea to not take on the extra step. If you ask me, it’s totally worth the extra few minutes to melt some bittersweet chocolate to sandwich with the dulce de leche. Whatever you decide, you won’t be disappointed. Biting into these cookies is like coming in from the cold and wrapping yourself in a warm embrace.

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Chocolaty Dulce de Leche Duos

Yield: About 30 cookies

From Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my home to yours

You can make your own dulce de leche or buy it from the store. I used two 13.4 ounce cans, but if you want a lot of dulce de leche sandwiched in your cookies, you'll want to get more.

Ingredients

  • 12 1/2 ounces (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups store-bought dulce de leche, plus more for filling
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) packed light brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate

Instructions

  1. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft. Add the 3/4 cup of dulce de leche and both sugars and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Don't be concerned if the mixture looks a little curdled- it will smooth out when the flour mixture goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter.
  4. Spoon the dough onto the baking sheets, using a heaping teaspoon of dough for each cookie and leaving 2 inches between them. Don't be temped to make the cookies larger or they'll be too big!
  5. Bake the cookies 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front the back at the midway point. The cookies should be honey brown with a light sugar crust, but they will still be soft, so remove the sheets from the oven but don't touch the cookies for another minute or two. Then, using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature.
  6. Repeat with the remaining dough, making sure you cool the baking sheets before spooning the dough onto them. Cool the cookies completely.
  7. In a small heat proof bowl fitted over a pot of simmering water, whisk the chocolate until melted. Spread the flat bottom of half the cookies with chocolate and the other half with a small amount of dulce de leche. Press a chocolate covered cookie and a dulce de leche cookie together and repeat with the remaining cookies. Cookies keep for 4 days store in a sealed container, or 2 months in the freezer.
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