Recipe by Chef Amalia Moreno-Damgaard

Makes 6 empanadas


1 tablespoon canola oil

½ cup fine diced yellow onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1-1/2 teaspoons ground guajillo chile powder

½ cup small diced green and red bell pepper

7 tablespoons canned crushed tomatoes

2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar

¼ cup cooked long grain white rice

1 cup chopped cooked pork loin

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup instant corn masa flour (masa harina)

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon Kosher salt

1 cup water

6 tablespoons chocolate Inkakaw Spread

Canola oil for brushing

Sesame seeds for topping


Prepare the Picadillo: Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, guajillo powder, and bell peppers. Sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, vinegar, cooked rice, chopped pork, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until the mixture is almost dry. Remove from heat and allow it to cool.

Make the Dough: In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Mix well. Gradually add water to form a moist dough that doesn't stick to your hands or doesn’t crack when pressed. Adjust water or flour as needed. Incorporate the chocolate spread into the dough until it turns medium brown.

Preheat a toaster or conventional oven set on bake at 375°F.

Form Empanadas: Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll them into balls (use a cookie scoop for even sizes). Place a plastic sheet on both sides of a tortilla press to prevent sticking (or use a small skillet). Flatten each dough ball to about 1/8-inch thickness to create 5 to 6-inch tortillas. Carefully remove the top layer of plastic. Add 2 teaspoons of the picadillo filling to the center of each tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half with the help of the bottom piece of plastic remaining, enclosing the filling, and seal by pressing gently the edges together.

Add Details: While still on the plastic, use a fork dipped in canola oil repeatedly to create ridges by pressing gently around the half-moon edge of each empanada. Sprinkle half a teaspoon of sesame seeds on the center of each empanada and press gently to make them adhere. Remove from the plastic and repeat until all masa has been used.

Bake: Place each empanada on a nonstick griddle or small baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush the top of each empanada with canola oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the dough becomes opaque and slightly dry on top. Do not overcook or the empanadas will become dry and crack.

Amalia’s Note:

It’s important to make each empanada one by one as the plastic proves indispensable for folding and forming the empanadas (instead of making all the tortillas ahead).

As an option to make the dough, rather than mixing by hand, use a mixer with the paddle attachment. Keep the dough covered with a damp cloth, as it tends to dry quickly, if not using right away.


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