These easy gluten-free dulce de leche sandwich cookies are made with shortbread cookies from homemade gluten-free flour mix (recipe included) and a delicious caramel filling. They are a bit different form the famous alfajores cookies though: The dulce de leche, which is made from almond milk, is turned it into a fluffy frosting.
I think the best thing about these cookies is that they are old school vegan: everything from the flour to the frosting is homemade. there are no shortcuts. But it is totally fine if you use your own favourite gluten-free flour or a different plant-based milk. That’s the great thing about this recipe: it is easy and flexible.
I have an acquaintance who’s recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease. She’s an old lady and I think when her doctor told her, she didn’t know what that doctor was talking about. Suddenly they wanted to change her eating habits and told her that she had to cut out gluten from her diet.
Since I have experimented a bit with gluten-free baking before I told her I could help her a bit with the transition and give her some ingredients she might need. So that same evening I grabbed some gluten-free flours, gums, and binders and took my daughter along to bring those items upstairs.
My neighbour gave my daughter some shortbread cookies telling her: “I can’t have them anymore. You can eat them and when you are done, you can bring me the box back.” My daughter didn’t understand what was going on and just thought she had won the jackpot. But I thought that if we had to bring back that box, I wanted it to be filled with gluten-free cookies.
It turned out that gluten free shortbread was not as easy to make as I thought. I started with my basic shortbread recipe and learned a lot. My cookies turned out rock hard and they looked greasy. So I reduced the amount of sugar and fat. Still a bit too crunchy and too sweet. I increased the amount of flour. This time the dough was too crumbly and wouldn’t hold together. I added some soy milk and finally the cookies came out great.
Homemade glutenfree-flour mix for cookies
Since I wanted to make these cookies as simple as possible I used ingredients which are easy to find in our neighbourhood. I have never seen sorghum flour, which so many people seem to use in their cookie recipes. And teff is very expensive. That is why I made my own flour mix with 150 g brown rice flour, 150 g millet (ground in a coffee mill), 150 g potato starch, and 2 teaspoons of guar gum.
Since these cookies are very basic I wanted to add something special to them. And what is more suitable for this task than caramel? I wanted to make dulce de leche but was out of coconut milk. But it turns out you can use almond milk, too. It makes a lighter version of dulce de leche both in colour and texture.
Once the caramel sauce had cooled down I whipped it up with some coconut oil to use it as a frosting for these dulche de leche sandwich cookies. I am so glad I did this because this frosting transforms every average cookie into an outstanding cookie. No matter how different they taste from your average wheat based cookie, as long as you put a teaspoon of this dulce de leche filling between two cookies, it doesn’t matter.
Gluten-Free Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies
For the gluten-free flour mix
- 150 g brown rice flour
- 150 g millet ground in a coffee mill
- 150 g potato starch
- 2 teaspoons of guar gum.
For the cookies
- 80 g 5 2/3 tablespoons refined coconut oil, room temperature
- 50 g 1/2 cup, sifted powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 210 g 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (see my recipe above)*
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons soy milk
For the dulce de leche
- 300 ml 2 1/4 cups almond milk
- 70 g 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground vanilla
For the frosting
- 1 recipe dulce de leche
- 55 g 1/4 cup refined coconut oil, room temperature
To make the flour mix
- To make the flour mix, simply combine all ingredients and mix well. Sore leftovers in an airtight container.
To make the cookies
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat coconut oil and sugar until fluffy. This will take about 2-3 minutes. Make sure everything is blended well. The mixture should look white and airy when done.
- Add remaining ingredients except for soy milk. Beat until crumbly. Now add the soy milk and knead the dough with your hands until the flour is incorporated well. Shape into a ball.
- Roll the dough out between two layers of plastic wrap. Mine was between 2-4 mm thick. Cut out cookies with a round cookie cutter and place half of the cookies on the baking sheet. They won’t spread. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges start to get a golden brown colour. Remove from oven, let cool and transfer to a cookie rack. Bake remaining cookies.
To make the dulche de leche
- Place all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and make sure the milk doesn’t boil over. Reduce heat and let the mixture simmer for 35-40 minutes, until it has turned into a thick sauce. The mixture should be thick but not very sticky. Make sure to check on the sauce from time to time as the cooking time can vary depending on the setting of your stove top.
- Let the sauce cool completely before making the frosting.
To make the frosting
- Place sauce and fat in a bowl and use a hand-held mixer to beat until fluffy. Spread the bottom of a cookie with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of frosting and top with a second cookie. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
Making the filling for the Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies:
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