Simple Granola Bars

The key to avoiding inhaling terrible foods all week, necessitating a cleanse/detox/semi-starvation over the weekend to set back to neutral, is being prepared.

These bars help.

Simple Granola Bars

They’re also insanely delicious.

Simple Granola Bars 2

They could not be easier to make and are truly guilt-free.

Unless you eat all of them at once.

Then maybe you should feel a little guilty.

Still forgivable.

Make these on Sunday and start your week off right … at least until Monday lunch hunger sets in.

Simple Granola Bars 3

Simple Granola Bars

Recipe from Minimalist Baker 

  • 1 cup packed dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup honey (or pure maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • optional: chocolate chips, dried fruit, more nuts, vanilla, etc.
  1. Process dates in a food processor until chopped into small pieces. The dates will probably roll into a ball, then it’s done.
  2. Toast oats for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until slightly golden brown (watch them closely). Can also use raw oats.
  3. Place oats, almonds and dates in a bowl.
  4. Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat (or microwave for a minute). Stir and pour over oat mixture and mix, breaking up the dates to disperse.
  5. Once mixed, transfer to a parchment paper lined 8×8 dish.
  6. Press down until uniformly flattened. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let set in fridge for 15-20 minutes to harden (I usually leave it overnight).
  7. Remove bars from the pan by lifting from the parchment paper overhang. They should come out easily. Cut into bars – as large or small as you’d like. I got 17 bars out of my batch. Store in an airtight container. They will last for at least a week.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins: 2 Ways

My brother is spoiled rotten. He gets treats every dang time I visit him. As much as he enjoys getting edible gifts, I enjoy giving them. So I guess it all works out.

This time, it was cotton candy cookies (per his request) and lemon chia seed muffins. I’m not a big fan of the cotton candy flavor, accomplished with help from Duncan Hines flavor packets, but the muffins … my god, the muffins.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin

I’ve always loved lemon poppyseed muffins, but since I’ve discovered chia, it just makes sense to swap in the nutrient powerhouse that is the chia seed. I’ve mentioned before how terrible my oven is, but for whatever reason, these muffins always come out perfect. They have a sort of buttery brown and slightly crisp exterior, while the inside is soft and delicate. Both versions of this recipe, the healthy and … less-healthy, turned out beautiful. 

I think there is some sort of chemical reaction at play between the lemon juice, yogurt and baking soda, because the batter literally fluffs and foams up when you’re mixing at the very end. It almost reminds me of a soft and fluffy tempura batter. These muffins are an absolute must-bake. They’re nice for a grab-and-go breakfast or snack. I’m a purist myself, but I bet these would also be great with blueberries or walnuts if you so desire. 

I made regular ole’ sugar and butter muffins for my brother, because he’s a growing boy. I made a healthier version, sans frosting, for myself. I added in Greek yogurt, fiber-rich whole-wheat, flax meal, coconut sugar and coconut oil. Both were delicious in their own ways. I love that rich and nutty flavor and texture you get from using whole wheat, so the healthy muffins were right up my alley. My brother is a sweet-buttery-delicate cake kinda guy, so these were right up his … 

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin 3

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

Makes 12 muffins


  • 2 large lemons (yielding ¼ cup zest and ⅓ cup juice)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup milk or cream
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine lemon zest and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release flavor from the zest. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon juice, vanilla, eggs, oil, butter, milk, and chia seeds. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into greased muffin tins; you should be able to get 12 muffins. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.
  4. For the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar and juice together until smooth. Heat the butter over medium heat until melted; add the glaze mixture and stir until bubbling and warm, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and glaze muffins immediately by dipping muffins upside down into the glaze saucepan or spooning the glaze over the tops. Glaze should set quickly.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin 4

Healthy Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Makes 12 muffins


  • 2 large lemons (yielding ¼ cup zest and ⅓ cup juice)
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine lemon zest and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release flavor from the zest. Add the flour, flax, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon juice, vanilla, eggs, oil, yogurt, milk, and chia seeds. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into greased muffin tins; you should be able to get 12 muffins. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin 5

 If you’re trying to decide which to bake, I say, when in doubt, frost yo-self!

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Because of the holiday weekend, yesterday felt like a Sunday. And Sundays, are for baking.

Banana Peanut Butter Bread

I’ve been trying to expand my flour collection and knowledge, so I ventured into sweet sorghum flour for the first time this weekend. A bag of it has been sitting my cupboard for quite awhile and I decided it was finally time to do something about it.

Sorghum is supposed to have more protein and fiber than other flours, but it can be pretty heavy if used alone. When combined with other flours (white, wheat, corn, rice, quinoa, etc.) it can make for very hearty and tasty treats.

I definitely noticed a difference in the consistency of my banana bread – it was fairly dense and a little drier than usual. It worked out well though, because usually my terrible oven burns everything! It burns on the outside while keeping the inside uncooked, no matter the temperature. I thought the sorghum might help to soak up the wet ingredients and … well, I get tired of saying this, but … I was right! The bread actually cooked better on the inside because of it.

I will need to do more experimenting before I have mastered sorghum and will probably stick with whole-wheat flour until I’m feeling adventurous again. You can try this recipe with sorghum or just stick to whole-wheat or regular all-purpose flour.

This recipe makes a truly delicious and healthy bread, with the added bonus of peanut butter! Banana bread is delicious alone, but when you add creamy peanut butter and a hint of coconut from the sugar and oil, it’s really spectacular. I love this bread because it’s guilt-free, comforting, and super yummy. It’s perfect alone, but if you want a little somethin’ extra, you can slather on extra peanut butter, jam, honey, molasses … the possibilities are endless. I’ve been eating it for breakfast, and snack-time, and post-lunch time, and dessert time … us Hobbits eat a lot, ok?

Banana Peanut Butter Bread 2

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Yield: makes 1 loaf or 12 muffins 


  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 sorghum flour (or just use all whole-wheat flour)
  • 1/8 cup flaxseed
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp clove


Preheat oven 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan or muffin tin with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl whisk together the bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, and oil. Once fully mixed incorporate the eggs, one at a time. Then mix in vanilla, syrup and coconut sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Don’t overmix. Once fully incorporated pour into prepared loaf pan or muffin tin.

Bake muffins for 18-22 minutes until set. Bake loaf for 45-55 minutes.

Vegan Walnut Pesto

A couple of bucks got me a huge bundle of basil at the Farmer’s Market last week. (hi-five on that alliteration)

I made caprese salads three days in a row, but as the week went on, and I wasn’t making a dent in my herbal bouquet, I figured I better make a pesto before all the glorious greens started to brown.

Caprese salad

It seems so trendy to call things “vegan” these days, and I hate being trendy; but I didn’t know a more concise way to convey that there is no cheese in this pesto. “Cheese-less pesto” or “pesto sans cheese” just sound weird.

Pesto 2

I made this pesto in the morning and then used it later that day for a Walnut Pesto Chicken Pasta with Broccoli for dinner.

Pesto 4

The pasta was easy … I roasted chicken a la Ina Garten, chopped up a fresh ball of mozzarella, and roasted broccoli with a little olive oil. Sure I could have simply blanched or sautéed the broccoli, but there’s something about roasted broccoli that I just can’t get enough of these days. The edges become toasty and buttery and it really transforms into something special. Scatter parmigiano over top with a heavy hand and you’ve got a meal on its own. But I digress …


We had fresh pesto pasta from “our pasta lady” at the Farmer’s Market so that didn’t take but 3 minutes to boil. Then it was just assembly. Drain pasta and place back in pot. Pour in some pesto and a little reserved starchy water and stir. Then dump in chicken, broccoli, mozzarella and more pesto, as needed.

Pesto 3

This pasta was SOOooo good! A delicious and healthy dinner for me and my best gal pals.

We were all eatin’ pasta like this …

But it was really like this …

This pesto is nice to have on-hand when you need a good meal quick. It could be used in all kinds of pasta dishes, over chicken, burgers or veggies … it would be great for a homemade pizza base too!


Vegan Walnut Pesto


  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 2-3 fresh garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, could toast for extra nutty flavor
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 large or 2 small)
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, amount depends on preferred consistency
  • 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper


Place basil, garlic, walnuts, and lemon juice into your blender or food processor. Pour a little olive oil in just to get things going and then blend until nuts and basil are finely pureed. Add in red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and begin pouring in olive oil through a top in a steady stream while you blend. You could also just dump all of the olive oil in and blend it all up, it works fine either way.

Note: these ingredient amounts can and should be adapted to suit your preferences. I rarely measure ingredients for pesto, but rather test out the flavor as I go. It all depends on how garlicky, lemony, nutty, or spicy you like your pesto. Also, how thick or thin you like the consistency. Just play around with it and it will be easier and more natural every time.


Peach and Plum Galette

Peach plum galette 4

You might recall from my recent Farmer’s Market post that I came back with quite a few peaches and plums; and since stone fruit is basically born to be made into desserts, specifically pies … I brought their destiny to fruition.

Peach plum galette 2

Galettes (or crostadas) are like free-form pies. They’re so pretty and reeeally hard to mess up.

Peach plum galette 9

Peach plum galette 8

Since I have been pretty busy lately, my plan was to just buy pie dough at the store. But when I got there and read the ingredients on the label, I made other plans. I dramatically threw down the “hydrogenated lard” in my hand and marched towards the natural butter while whispering under my breath, “Screw it, I’m doing this thing the right way.”

Peach plum galette 7

Peach plum galette 6

Note: In the picture above you will see that it sort of looks like the dessert is not coming together, but like magic, it will!

With a food processor, a crust is about the easiest thing to make anyway, so I really had no excuse in the first place. The recipe I used for the pie dough is pretty foolproof. It’s from the book, The Pastry Queen. I almost made a pate sablee, but didn’t have any ground almonds, or almonds in general, and they’re a little expensive. So I stuck to the basics.

Peach plum galette

This pie is so good it’s unreal. The peaches and plums are sweet and juicy, and the crust is the perfect flakiness. Guaranteed crowd (or single person) pleaser. 

Peach plum galette 5

Peach & Plum Galette

Pie Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 11 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 4-6 tbsp cold water

Filling Ingredients:

  • 6 small plums, skins on and sliced
  • 2 peaches, skins on and sliced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water
  • Extra sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp apricot or peach jam


To make crust …

Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. If you’re using a food processor just put all the dry ingredients in together and give it a quick whirl to mix. Cut butter in by hand or toss all into the processor, until the mixture is crumbly and about the size of small peas. Add 4 tbsp very cold water and mix. Only add the rest of the water 1 tbsp at a time if needed, just until the mixture holds together easily.* Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk shape. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour.

To make the filling …

In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon flour, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. In a large bowl gently toss together the plums, lemon juice and zest. Sprinkle the flour mixture over plums; gently toss until evenly coated.

To finish galette …

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take dough out of the fridge and roll out to about 10 inches in diameter on a floured surface. Place dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Transfer the plum mixture on top of dough, leaving a 2-inch border all the way around. Fold border over plum mixture, overlapping where necessary and gently pressing to adhere the folds.

Beat together the egg and teaspoon and water and brush over the edges of the dough, then sprinkle a little sugar over the crust. Place galette on the bottom rack of oven and bake until the crust is golden and the fruit is soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly on a baking rack. While pie is cooling, carefully brush jam over the fruit. It will give it a little extra sweetness and beautiful shine.

Can be served warm or at room temperature. Also, would be delicious with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

*Note: I only needed 4 tbsp of water.

Peach plum galette 3

Farmer’s Market Saturdays

I’m that girl at the Farmer’s Market who takes awkwardly up-close-and-personal pics of each stand and then dashes away before someone can stop me …

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We stopped first at the coffee stand and then got a pastry from our favorite cute German baker lady before we began shopping in earnest, because, how could we possibly function before we’ve had iced coffee and pastries?

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In addition to the usual folk band, there was a harpist. Our Market is very fancy.


There is so much beautiful produce in season this time of year, so we came away with quite a haul …


Acorn squash, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, plums, apples, basil, fresh pasta, and the most flavorful Concord grapes I have ever had. 


Until next weekend …

Breaking the Hiatus

Today is my grand re-entry to the food blogging world. I will likely be celebrating with a Chipotle burrito bowl.

During my time away I never left the kitchen, I just didn’t have the time (or didn’t make the time) to blog about my adventures. The absence of my blog has left a huge, gaping hole in my heart that I have tried to fill by teaching my (at times) unwilling friends about things like the importance of keeping butter cold in making scones, or chatting with random strangers about the benefits of wheat grass, or even scolding family members for thinking agave nectar was a health food.

I’ve decided I’ve punished them all long enough and will now return to using my blog as an outlet for my passions, and hopefully my audience will be much more willing to engage 🙂

I altered the name of my blog, although I cannot change the URL apparently. It used to be called “In a Cooking State of Mind,” which was (supposed to be) clever because I was living in New York at the time. Now, I am not living there, and wanted something that describes who I am in the kitchen. “Chocolate, Salt & Olive Oil” seemed to be perfect for me because it encompasses my love for simplicity, my need for natural ingredients, and my obsession with all three of those things. One or all of them can be found in almost every single thing I make.

So I now pronounce myself, officially, returned to the food blogging world!

Restaurant Review – Lupa

In my experience, Mario Batali never gets it wrong. (I’m talking food here, not orange crocs) His restaurants are all successful and consistently crowded, and for very good reason. The food is delicious!

This past weekend I went to Lupa in the West Village and had a wonderful time. The food was incredible, the company enjoyable and I loved the look and feel of the restaurant. Dining in NYC can be a crowded experience at the best of times, but the room and our table in particular was  pretty spacious. That was a rare treat in and of itself!

As you might be aware, an Italian dinner is made up of a few courses: Antipasti, Primi, Secondi, and Dolci. We decided to go for the full experience and ordered a dish for every course.

First came the Antipasti: We ordered the Clams and Fregola, and house-made Coppa Cotta (cured and cooked pork).

The clams and fregola were surprisingly fresh and vibrant from the basil and citrus juice, and paired well with my Chardonnay. I learned of the Sardinian pasta, fregola, through an episode of ‘Everyday Italian’ with Giada de Laurentiis and have been a fan every since. It’s really not an easy pasta to find, but is very unique and delicious. I bought it once in Little Italy, and would encourage you to try it if you ever find it at the market.

The house-made Coppa Cotta that we devoured was insanely good. It was slightly spicy, very meaty, and made with pork shoulder. We felt clever making open-faced sandwiches with it, and the complimentary Focaccia.

The next course was pasta, and we ordered the Cacio & Pepe, a traditional Roman pasta dish, and the Ricotta Gnocchi.

The Cacio & Pepe was made with only bavette pasta, pecorino and black pepper. So simple, yet so good. When a dish is so perfectly executed, you don’t need many ingredients to make it shine. It was creamy, salty, peppery, and somehow silky. It was just delicious and there wasn’t a stray noodle to be found when I was done with it.

The Ricotta Gnocchi came with sausage and fennel. It was classic, comforting and rich. Just what a good gnocchi dish should be.

Finally, came the third course. What I typically think of as the meat course, though I actually ordered fish this time.

We had the Pollo alla Diavola and the market fish of the day, Sea Bass, that came with sunchokes, broccolini, and grapefruit. I understand that ‘alla Diavolo’  means ‘Devil style’, and while this was definitely devilishly tasty, I didn’t find it all that spicy. The crunchy, crispy crust of the chicken was perfection and the au jus that the waiter poured over top kept the chicken moist and was divine when sopped up by the crispy bread underneath. A definite must-try.

The sea bass was one of the best executions of the fish that I’ve seen. The crispy skin kept the white flesh underneath tender, moist and flavorful. This was my first sunchoke experience, and was a bit put off initially because the first one I tried was underdone and still slightly raw tasting. The rest though, were roasted to perfection – caramelized and sweet. I didn’t think the grapefruit added much, but it didn’t hurt either.

The only thing I would change, would be the fact that the ‘sunchoke, broccolini, grapefruit’ accompaniments are always companion to the fish of the day, however, the fish changes daily. I think it would benefit them to cater the sides to the particular fish they’re offering. I’m sure there are some sides that pair better with one fish than another.

Lastly, of course, came dessert. We were a little hesitant to order anything since I had pots of creme just waiting to be brulee’ed at home, but we couldn’t resist just one shared finale to our meal.

We went with the Olive Oil Torta with Rhubarb. It’s hard to describe how much I enjoyed this dessert, so I’ll just do my best and hope I do it justice.

The torta itself was steaming hot from the oven, moist enough that I am almost certain they injected some sort of olive oil simple syrup into the cake at some point, and perfectly sweet. The rhubarb compote was jammy, tart, and reminded me of my late grandmother’s rhubarb pie filling. When a dish can bring you back to a point in your past, it’s a really special moment, and yet another reason why sharing food is such a precious art.

Lupa is now pegged as a favorite spot of mine here in New York and I will be going back often. Enjoy!

Chestnuts Roasting in My Kitchen

We’re all familiar with the popular Christmas song lyric, which has made roasting chestnuts an iconic activity of the season, but how many of us actually take the time to roast chestnuts?

In New York City, street cart vendors, who normally stick to the traditional hot dog and pretzel fare, venture out this time of year and almost every one has a tinfoil pot of chestnuts ‘roasting’ over their artificial roasting light. I’ve never actually tried chestnuts from a street cart, but something tells me to avoid it …

For the past couple of years, I’ve made it sort of a personal tradition of my own to roast chestnuts in December. I love the smell of them roasting, the sweet and meaty flavor, even the act of cracking the nut from the shell – after the first Christmas, I was hooked.

They’re also really easy to make and almost every grocery store carries them this time of year, since the winter months is when they begin falling from their trees. The trick to roasting delicious chestnuts, is to cut an ‘X’ in them before popping into the oven. This allows any steam to escape and prevents them from exploding – an obvious benefit. I invite you to try roasting your own chestnuts in the next week leading up to Christmas. It’s an easy and delicious way to bring some ‘merry’ into your home. 🙂

How to Roast Chestnuts:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse off the chestnuts and set them on a cutting board. With a small, sharp knife, cut an X on the flat side of each chestnut. The bigger an X you make, the easier the nuts will be to peel. Try not to cut too deep into the chestnut though. Wide and shallow is what you’re going for here. Also, cutting on a dish towel would be advisable, as they tend to slip!

Put chestnuts on a cookie sheet with the X facing up. Roast for 20-30 minutes. The chestnuts will turn blackish brown and the X in each will curl up. This is the trickiest part, because you want them to be tender, but overcooking can make them hard and inedible.

Once they’re done roasting, it’s time to peel. Now this part is not tricky, it’s just plain hard! You want to peel while they’re still warm, but not steaming hot and prepare for your fingers to feel a little sore. Don’t feel discouraged if you find that a few are too hard to eat, are darker in color, or even have inner mold. It’s bound to happen in every batch.

At this point, I eat them as is, but some like to season their chestnuts. Regardless, they’re going to be delicious.

Note: Although I haven’t tried the chestnuts that street vendors sell, I’ve heard they’re actually quite tender. It’s just the question of sanitation that keeps me away. Apparently their trick is to boil the chestnuts in unsalted water for 15-20 minutes after cutting an X in each. This is supposed to keep them plump and juicy. You can end the cooking by popping in the oven for a few minutes to give them that toasted taste if you so choose.

Chicken Empanada’s

I’ve had a few empanada’s in my day, but have never really had an affinity towards them until I tasted the boyf’s family empanada recipe. They’re baked sweet empanada’s with a flaky crust and a delicate stuffing of eggs and sugar and sometimes raisins. I decided then and there that I love empanadas and want to test out my own variations!

Empanadas are a pastry popular in many Latin American countries, and even in southern Europe as well. They can be baked or fried and stuffed with virtually any combination you prefer. Some are sweet, some are savory – They can contain meats, vegetables, fruits, or even the aforementioned sugar and egg combination. I prefer them baked and love both sweet and savory varieties. Empanadas are made by placing a small amount of filling on a round disk of dough and then folding the dough over to make a half moon shape. You then press the folds together with a fork to make a pretty crimping pattern and brush with either milk or egg wash to help the empanada turn a golden, glossy color. I would say they are similar to the American-Italian calzone or the samosa, popular in some Asian and African countries. It always amazes me how countries all over the world create basically the same dishes, just calling them by different names and using ingredients available in their region.

I really had no intention of making this for dinner last night, but when I saw the empanada dough at the store, I got inspired. 🙂

The empanadas I made yesterday were savory and stuffed with a mixture of shredded chicken, tomato paste, red pepper and onion and seasoned with some Adobo. I basically made up the stuffing as I went along, which turned out great!

I then placed the disks of dough on my cutting board and spread the chicken mixture on one half of the circle of dough. I topped with some mozzarella cheese and folded the bare half of the disk over the stuffing and pressed the ends together using a fork to make a crimped edge.

I placed all of my empanadas on a lightly greased baking sheet, and brushed with egg wash. Then I baked them at 400° for 20 minutes.

They came out golden and baked to perfection. The dough was flaky and crusty and stuffing inside was flavorful and moist. Delicioso!