According to Spanish philologist and dialectologist Manuel Alvar López, alfajor is an Andalusian variant of the Castilian ”alajú”, derived from the Arabic word ”al- fakher”, meaning luxurious.
Contrary to some beliefs that it originated in the New World; it was introduced to Latin America as alfajor. The word had been introduced into Spanish dictionaries in the 14th century.
In South America alfajores are found most notably in Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and Brazil. The filling is usually dulce de leche, although there are a lot of variations. They can be covered with powder sugar (the traditional ones), glazed sugar (Santafesinos or "de nieve"), grated coconut or chocolate.
Argentina is today the world's largest consumer of alfajores, both in total numbers and in per capita calculations, being the most common snack for children and adults.