Dulce de Leche & Cinnamon Cookies

Chef Steve Zimei shares his recipe for these shortbread-like sandwich cookies filled with a gooey, caramel center. You can find dulce de leche in the baking aisle at the grocery store (near sweetened condensed milk), and whip up a batch of these rich goodies to share with loved ones over the holidays (or any time, really).


Yields: 12 cookie sandwiches


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground anise
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground anise
  • 1 1/2 cups dulce de leche


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and anise in a small bowl.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. In a mixer, beat butter and 1 cup of sugar on medium high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat until combined well. Reduce speed to low, and add the flour mixture from step 2 in three amounts, scraping down sides as needed.
  5. Combine cinnamon and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a shallow dish and set aside.
  6. Roll the dough into 24 balls, and space them 2 inches apart on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until firm, rotating the pan halfway through.
  8. Let the cookies cool on the sheet. Then, place in cinnamon sugar mixture and coat evenly. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely.
  9. For the filling — melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in cinnamon and anise and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and stir in dulce de leche until well combined. Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling on the bottoms of 12 cookies. Top with remaining 8 cookies to form sandwiches.
Note: Cookies can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored at room temperature.  

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