There are always certain points a holiday parties. The point at which someone has had just enough to drink to say something catty about the person who just happens to be standing right behind them. Then there is the point of the party when someone walks in carrying those distinctive yellow boxes. The sign that the Porto's has arrived.
Is it a box of potato balls? Those guava filled refugiados? Maybe cheese rolls? When we are bearer of those coveted bakery boxes, while we make sure to bring those pastries that Porto's Bakery is most well known for, we also include our own favorite: the dulce de leche Kiss cookie.
The dulce de leche kiss is Porto's take on the alfajor, the Latin American sandwich cookie. Unlike most alfajores, the cookie portion of the dulce de leche kiss isn't mealy or tough. Instead, it is a pure buttery shortbread. Flakey and crisp, it shatters ever so slightly when bitten, so that it collapse into its center, leveraging out just the right amount of its dulce de leche center starting from that first bite.
Like so many others, what drew us to this cookie was the dulce de leche component, and now it is the main reason why we keep buying it. The dulce de leche filling is not completely integrated into the cookie, but it's also not a messy molten center. It's condensed and rich, yet not overly sweetened so the nuances of the caramelized flavor come through. So the smoky lingering flavor of the filling does not overwhelm the fresh buttery taste of the shell, they amplify each other.
Perhaps it is because for easy pick-up Porto's pre-packs them up by the dozen in a ribbon topped box. Or it is their vaguely naughty not nice shape. But when we bring these to holiday parties, there comes certain point when someone will ask where the cookies are from. And when they are revealed to be from Porto's Bakery, they light up because even when going in to pick up a new favorite, there is no reason why not to pick up a few potato balls as well.