I suspect the most requested item at House Morell are my Tiny Alfajores.  These itty bitty shortbread cookies filled with dulce de leche are addictive and wonderful… but they take a good bit of time to make.  Since I am a girl who always seems pressed for time, I have been contemplating a bar version of the alfajores.  Because dulce de leche is quite possibly my favorite food.

Well friends, I believe I have struck upon the perfect recipe.

To be honest, it’s an adaptation of the Gooey Caramel Butter Bars found in Jill O’Conner’s Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey cookbook.  This little gem is among the stickiest cookbooks in my collection (though after a baking session, my kitchen often looks as though the Tasmanian Devil has whirled through, so it’s no surprise so many of my cookbooks are sticky.)  In tinkering with Jill’s recipe, I swapped out her melted toffees for a generous dose of dulce de leche.   And then dusted a generous bit of sea salt on top… because – yum!


The neat thing is that I had a really great excuse to make these treats.  Some of my dear friends are part of an organization called Spark the Wave, which trains some of the nation’s best young service leaders.  They are gearing up for “Wave Weeks” at Villanova and Georgetown University in July.  These weeks are intensive 6-day programs of leadership development, community service, team building activities, and a whole lot of summer fun where the students learn to plan and execute better service projects. Last weekend, our friends hosted a Wave Week retreat for the organizing team of these events.


When I heard about the Wave retreat, I had an idea.  In April, some of my favorite bloggers took part in a Baking for Good Tour hosted by King Arthur Flour.  I absolutely loved the idea and the call to Bake for Good in your community throughout the year.  As they point out on their website:  “There are so many ways that you can Bake for Good!  You can create a nutritious meal to fill undernourished bellies, or sell cookies to support a cause near and dear. Nothing says thank you quite like a plate of warm cookies—why not share with your local fire department, or your child’s favorite teacher? Baking for Good can even be as simple as baking for your friends and neighbors, just to make them smile.”

So, with Baking for Good in mind, I wanted to salute the inspired Wave Week team, and share some of my yummy baked goods.  I sent over a group of four of my favorite bars:  Raspberry-Cherry Crumble Bars, Malted Milk Bar Blondies, Barefoot Contessa’s Outrageous Brownies and these Alfajores Bars.  A nice balance of fruity, chocolate and caramel. Reports from the front indicate that the Alfajores Bars disappeared first.

So here’s to Baking for Good, and all the best to the Wave Week team… so glad you enjoyed the bars!

photo (1)

Now, who can I target next in my Baking for Good effort?

Salted Alfajores Bars
Serves: 48
  • 4 sticks (1 pound) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 16 ounce jar dulce de leche
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the butter and sugars, and beat until creamy. Add the vanilla, and mix until combined. Add the flour into the butter mixture and mix on low speed until a smooth, soft dough forms.
  3. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Press about half of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Place the remaining dough aside in the refrigerator to chill.
  4. Bake the bottom crust until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. When the bottom crust is finished, let it rest for about five minutes. Microwave the dulce de leche for about 30 seconds so that it softens a bit and is easy to spread. Spoon the dulce de leche onto the bottom crust, and spread it out evenly. Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the dulce de leche layer. Sprinkle the sea salt evenly over the topping. Return the pan to the oven and bake it until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let it cool completely.
  6. Use a sharp knife to cut the bars into squares.


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45 Responses to "Salted Alfajores Bars"
  1. Alex says:

    I love the idea of baking for good, even if the good is just brightening someone’s day! I love how you turned the alfajores into these bars, they look delicious!

  2. OH. MY. GOOOOSH. Why have I never heard of or tried anything like this. Two of my favorite sweet things- shortbread and dulce de leche… Combined into one heavenly treat…. Oh lawsy. What bliss! I must try these!

  3. Baking for Good is a brilliant idea and your bars look so delicious.

  4. They are some lucky guys to receive that tray full of amazing treats! I’ve never heard of Alfajores Bars, they look rich and luscious ☺️☺️ Thank you for bringing them to this weeks Fiesta Friday

  5. Wow! This goes directly on Pinterest! And this book’s title makes me want to eat caramel right now!

    • Really, that is a delightful little cookbook… I really do want to try nearly every recipe. The thing is, I’ve been eating a bit too much dulce de leche recently, so I think I’ll be working my way through Salad Samurai instead 🙂

  6. huntfortheverybest says:

    i love the crumb topping. these look so delicious!

  7. chefjulianna says:

    Thanks so much for this perfect recipe! I have a friend who is completely addicted to alfajores and I will surprise her the next time she comes over by making these bars! I just can’t wait! 😀

    • My son took these to his office to share with his mates, and the entire batch was gone before lunch… People kept asking him which bakery they came from… so a good indication your friend will love them too 🙂

  8. Wow! These are such a perfect combination! Short bread and Dulce de Leche!! They sound so amazing!

  9. thebrookcook says:

    Yum!! I LOVE Dulce anything… shortbread ANYTHING… I am going to try this for sure- amazing!! 🙂

  10. Michelle says:

    These look so so good! I’m gonna have to try these for sure!

  11. angenette says:

    these look amazing…so glad you could bake these and your other bars for a good cause!

  12. oh, those look so yum! It’s like salted caramel shortbread, but not quite the same. I love the crumb topping. 🙂 Your original tiny shortbread version also looked good!

  13. Oh, these look so yummy, gooey and simply delicious!!! I must give this a try sometimes!

  14. Patty Nguyen says:

    I bake for my colleagues…does this count? I hope so! 😀

  15. Lily says:

    Hi, really nice to meet you, thanks for stopping by my blog, love your photography, do you want to join our WP Pinterest group board? Here is my post about it, let me know if you are interested, would love to have you:)

  16. These look heavenly – a perfect treat! 🙂

  17. Oh yeah. I’m in love with these. I’m wondering if I could make the dulce de leche from cooked sweetened condensed milk… I’m totally making them, MB…. for me, from me, with love. <3 Thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe. And your photos? Gorgeous. As always. <3

    • I use La Salamandra… simply because that’s what I can find at my local market. I don’t make my own, because I never seem to have that much time… but Deb over at the Smitten Kitchen has a recipe on her site to make… which looked fantastic (as her stuff always is!)

  18. Suchitra says:

    Easy dessert that anyone would love!
    Thanks for sharing. I love the concept of baking for good. Guess that’s what I am doing all the time as I bake just to give it away to others:)

  19. says:

    Made these for a whole crew (22) of people while on vacation in Maui. Loved them. Tracy

  20. Fiona says:

    Yum. Such a stunning photo and great recipe. Will try it this week. Fiona

  21. Never thought of salted alfajores. But then, I am the one that gets to make the dulce by hand under the guidance of Rachel, my Sous 🙂 Will try this the next time I amke some of my gluten free / lactose free ones. Thank You for the idea. Mac

  22. thebrookcook says:

    I made & posted these wonderful bar cookies and included a link to your post. Thank you for the delicious recipe!! 🙂

  23. Denise says:

    Oh my goodness! These are amazingly good! The, shortbread, dulce de leche and salt flavours together are heavenly. I took them to a work party today. There must have been about 30 different desserts there, and countless people told me these were there favourite! They simply disappeared! Thank goodness I kept a few pieces at home to feed my instant addiction. Thank you for a fabulous recipe!

  24. Lynn Pheney says:

    Hi Mary Beth,
    Love your blog and will be passing it on to Megan, Kitty, and Maura.

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