Alfajores with Quinoa and Coffee Dulce de Leche cookies

Photo: Fair Trade USA

Mother’s Day is May 12 this year. That’s 10 days from now in case you hadn’t realized. It’s time to get planning if you haven’t already.

Fair Trade USA asked if I’d share a recipe that can be made with many fair trade ingredients, and I thought Mother’s Day would be a perfect time to do so. When you use fair trade ingredients, you’re helping to ensure that those who work in the fields where those ingredients are grown earn a living wage and have safe working conditions. Many, many of those workers are also mothers.

Choosing to make something on Mother’s Day with fair trade ingredients is not only a way to honor the mom you’re making it for, it’s a way to honor mothers all over the world.

Pastry chef Malika Ameen has joined up with Fair Trade USA to create recipes that use fair trade ingredients.

Ameen says, "I love fairtrade products because they have such pure flavors that enhance any and every dish I prepare. To me, they simultaneously represent delicious eating and conscious living."

One of the recipes she’s created is Alfajores with Quinoa and Coffee Dulce de Leche.

“The little bits of quinoa give a hint of nuttiness to this crumbly confection,” says Ameen. “If you have time, try gently toasting the quinoa in a little oil or butter until it starts to pop before boiling it — you will love it even more!

“Alfajores are typically served with coffee, but with this version, there is a delicious coffee dulce de leche filling. You’ll get the whole experience with one bite of this unique treat.”

These cookies take some time to make, so they would be perfect for a dad who wants to give mom a few hours off to herself while he and the kids make her a special treat or for a mom who wants to spend time with her kids on Mother’s Day baking together.

Alfajores with Quinoa and Coffee Dulce de Leche



  • 1 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fair trade-certified cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup fair trade-certified cooked quinoa
  • 2/3 cup fair trade-certified sugar
  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fair trade-certified vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup 10X confectioners sugar (optional)
Coffee Dulce de Leche Filling
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fair trade-certified ground coffee
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons canned prepared dulce de leche
  • 8 ounces fair trade-certified bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
Cooking directions
  1. In a small bowl sift together cornstarch, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl being sure to incorporate everything and beat again for a few seconds.
  2. Add egg yolks one at a time and beat until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix. Add the dry ingredients and quinoa and mix on low speed being sure that everything is well incorporated.
  3. Transfer dough to a countertop and knead briefly bringing everything together. Divide dough into two equal discs and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working with one piece at a time, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter cut out cookies and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheets. The cookies should be spaced at least 1 inch apart. Reroll scraps and repeat. Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes until just golden. Let cookies cool. Flip half of the cookies and fill with 2 teaspoons of coffee dulce de leche filling. Top with remaining cookies. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving (optional).
  5. Place chocolate in a mixing bowl. In a small saucepan whisk together milk and coffee and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover and steep for 5 minutes.
  6. Whisk in dulce de leche until smooth and bring back to a full boil. Immediately pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer onto the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Mother's Day cookies: Alfajores with fair trade ingredients
This recipe for traditional Peruvian Alfajores gets a non-traditional twist with the addition of quinoa. It's a great recipe to make with kids for Mother's Day.