Lorca’s signature cookie, the alfajore (or alfajor), is deceptively simple: just a creamy layer of dulce de leche (caramel) sandwiched between two buttery shortbread cookies, with a hint of flaky coconut. Yet, after a bite or two, the sweet reveals a complexity of flavor and texture that makes it difficult to forget (or resist). Here’s the surprising backstory of the cookie:
1) The first recipe dates back to the Moorish occupation of Spain
The origins of the alfajore are murky, but it’s thought that the cookie made its first appearance after the Moors invaded Spain around 700 A.D. In fact, the name “alfajore” is believed to derive from the Arabic word al-hasu meaning “stuffed” or “filled”. The original alfajore, a very different-tasting dessert made out of ground nuts, honey and spices, is still made in certain parts of Spain.
2) It’s been widely popular in South America for centuries
The confection crossed the ocean with the Spanish conquistadors and took hold in South America in the 16th century. Over time, the cookie evolved and adapted to reflect the continent’s rich cuisine, and is a staple in countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Brazil. There are dozens of different iterations of alfajores; Lorca’s cookies follow a traditional Argentinian recipe with dulce de leche and coconut.
3) The world’s largest alfajore was 36 feet tall.
In 2010, the city of Minas in Uruguay baked the biggest alfajore on record, to celebrate the treat’s history. The Guinness World Record-scoring cookie measured 6 feet 3.19 inches in diameter, 36 feet 1.07 inches in height, and weighed 1,022 pounds. That’s quite a mouthful.
4) Lorca’s own alfajore recipe is a family favorite
When Lorca’s owner, Leyla Jenkins, decided to make cookies to go with the shop’s selection of coffee and churros, she relied on her mom’s recipe, which remains a well-guarded secret.
5) Lorca sold more than 6,000 alfajores last year!
Needless to say, the cookies have made a big impression here in Stamford an continue to fly off Lorca’s pastry shelves.