I'm always trying to come up with unique ways to make use of these cookies, (besides just eating them, of course!), and this seemed like a pretty delicious way to add some real "zing", and combine some amazing flavors together! I don't even know if I could explain in words the amazing smell these infused my house with while they were baking!! Empanadas are basically small stuffed pastries, (mini pies), or breads that are common in Latin Europe and Latin America. There are both sweet, and savory versions, and this recipe is obviously on the "sweet" side! To make this a little less time consuming, I have opted to use purchased pie crust, that I simply used a round cutter to shape my empanadas. The filling is sliced fresh bananas, some dulche de leche, (I made my own, but store bought caramel works fine), topped with some amazing streusel consisting of: Mexican chocolate, dulche de leche cookies, chili powder, orange zest, and pecans. All of these ingredients work together to make this awesome mixture of textures- with the array of spice and crunchy streusel, sweetness of the banana and caramel, and crispy pastry with a golden brown flaky crust. A great recipe to make with your kids! Although these are addicting on their own, by serving with ice cream and drizzled with some warm caramel, fudge, or ganache, you'll totally be taking this dessert to the next level! Delicioso!!!
Yield: 22-24 each (3in. rounds)
Prep time: About 45- 60min. total
10 each (about a 1/2 box) "dulce de leche" girl scout cookies
1/2 disc of "Nestle-Abuelita" Mexican chocolate (roughly chopped) ***Another kind of Mexican Chocolate is fine too.
1/2 t. chili powder
zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup of pecans
2 whole bananas (sliced)
1 box of pie crust (both rolls)
1/2 cup of caramel or dulche de leche (homemade or store bought is perfectly fine!)
1 egg (for egg wash)
1) Using a food processor, throw in the cookies, roughly chopped Mexican chocolate, chili powder, and orange zest. Process until mixture is a fine crumb. Add the pecans, and just pulse to chop them up. Remove the streusel, and set aside.
2) Prep 2 sheet trays with parchment paper, foil, or a silpat. Preheat your oven to 350F.
3) On a clean and lightly floured work surface, unroll one of the pie crusts. Lightly roll out just to make smooth/ flatten. Using a glass or 3in. round cutter, (or larger), begin cutting out the rounds. Pull up the excess dough, and set aside to re-roll. In the center of each round, place about 2 slices of banana, 1/2 t. of caramel, and sprinkle some streusel over the top. Fill a small container with cold water, dip your finger in the water, and go around the edge of each round of dough. Carefully try to fold the dough in half, making sure to seal the edges well. **This may be messy, but it's ok!! Do the best you can to keep the filling inside when folding over to seal. Using a fork, mark the edge of each empanada. Transfer the pastries to the sheet tray. Repeat the process with the second roll of pie crust- cutting, filling, and sealing the edges. Re-roll out the scraps, until the dough has been used up. When all of the pastries are prepped, make the egg wash by simply cracking 1 egg into a small bowl, and whisk well. Using a pastry or silicone brush, lightly brush the egg wash over each empanada. Sprinkle some of the streusel over the top of each one.
4) Bake in a 350F oven for 15-20min., or until a nice golden brown color. Allow to cool for 5-10min., and enjoy warm!! ***Store remaining empanadas in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Refrigeration is fine, or if your house is not too warm or humid, they can be kept in a cool, dry place.