The hardest part of any party, at least for me, is deciding on what appetizers to prepare. I like to have a variety of things to munch on but I don’t like to repeat them too often from party to party to keep the party alive. This week, I made Jalapeno Popper Cheese Empanadas. I shared them with some friends and they were a success.
I always try to serve at least one vegetarian option and this year, Jalapeno Popper Cheese Empanadas were a big hit with my friends – vegetarian and non-vegetarian alike. These empanadas have all the flavors of Jalapeno poppers but without the bacon. However, if you wanted to use bacon you could opt for a tofu bacon to keep them vegetarian or go with a traditional bacon. If you go with a traditional bacon, remember then that these will no longer be a vegetarian option.
To make smaller appetizers, cut the circles in half and add just 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture into each half. Then fold, seal and bake as directed. This recipe makes 10 full-size empanadas and 20 appetizer-sized empanadas.
Then just brush with egg wash or milk to encourage browning and pop them in the oven. No matter what size you make, they will still require the same amount of baking time in the oven. Alternatively, you could try wonton wrappers for mini appetizers.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature [See Note]
- 1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded [See Note]
- 6 jalapenos, charred, peeled, stemmed, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 package (10-rounds) frozen empanada wrappers, thawed
- 1 large egg, beaten
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and poblanos until well incorporated. Season the filling with salt and pepper.
- Unfold 1 sheet puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out to ¼-inch thickness. Using a 5-inch diameter cutter, cut out 4 circles. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry sheet. Spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture in the center of each round. Brush the edge of each circle with egg wash and fold each empanada into a half moon. Crimp the edges with a fork.
- Transfer the empanadas to the prepared baking sheet and brush them with the remaining egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.