“There is no doubt in my mind that alfajores will be the pastry of the decade here in the U.S.,” Argentine-born Lucila Giagrande says. Sure, she’s biased—the owner of Lucila’s Homemade (lucilashomemade.com) turns out the Spanish and Latin American confection. But taste the sandwich cookie, with its buttery outer casing and saccharine dulce de leche filling, and it’s hard not to believe her. The North Side sweets mecca Mekato’s Colombian Bakery (5423 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-784-5181) sells a chewy version with an avalanche of toothache-inducing powdered sugar on top and coconut flakes ringing the perimeter. At La Sirena Clandestina (954 W. Fulton Market, 312-226-5300), John Manion, who has been alfajor-crazy since he was a kid in Brazil, will hook you with his irresistible interpretation, which keeps sweetness in check with a healthy dose of salt and oozes with a dreamy filling you may want to spread on toast, add to coffee, or bathe in. The least attractive specimen we sampled came from Taste of Peru (6545 N. Clark St., 773-381-4540), but its indulgently rich exterior will likely still have you finishing every crumb.
Photograph: Anna Knott