The blueberries and cocoa really complement each other in this recipe.
Somebody asked me the other day if I made as many pies and had empanadas. They were surprised when I told them I had yet to make my first pie! Really! I think I like the idea of the empanada more because you can just pick it up and eat it, no forks or plates required.
During the cold-weather season here in central New York, I have to get creative with the fruit fillings since nothing is in season. These two-bite mini empanadas are perfect for the holiday season or for any time! Just add a glass of cold milk or cafe, a perfectly sweet ending to a great meal.
Add the blueberries, sugar, and salt and heat to medium heat in a medium saucepan. After about 20 minutes, the blueberries will start to break down. Stir often and taste for sugar, adding just one tablespoon at a time if needed. Reduce heat to medium/low.
In two separate, small bowls, add 1/3 cup of water to each. In the first one, whisk in the cocoa powder until well combined. In the second one, whisk in the cornstarch until well combined. Add the cocoa powder mixture to the simmering blueberries and stir well to combine—Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry to the blueberries and stir well to combine. Cook the blueberries, often stirring, until it becomes thick and reduced. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Combine the anise seeds, cinnamon stick, and 1/2 cup of water in a glass cup—Cook in the microwave for 1½ minutes, strain, and set aside. Melt the shortening in a microwave-safe bowl, add the tea and stir gently stir. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients and gradually add to the wet ingredients until dough forms. If it's still sticky, add a little more flour. Cover and let dough rest for a good hour at room temperature.
When filling is made and the dough has rested, form 1½-inch dough balls and set aside—Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Take one dough ball and press it in a tortilla press lined with a plastic freezer bag, cut to size (you can also use the bottom of a flat plate), fill with 1½ to 2 tablespoons of blueberry filling and a couple of dark chocolate chips. Fold over, and using a fork, press edges together to seal or use your fingers to pinch and seal the empanada.
Transfer empanadas to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Yields 24 to 30 mini (2 bites) empanadas. Cool completely. Combine 1 cup of dark chocolate chips in a glass bowl and one tablespoon of shortening. Cook on high for 1 minute in the microwave. Stir and cook for another 20 seconds until chocolate is smooth and shiny. Continue cooking for 10 to 15 seconds at a time until the chocolate is smooth. While the chocolate is hot, take a fork and lightly dip it into the chocolate and drizzle it over the cooled empanadas. Let the chocolate cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.
Empanadas will stay fresh for up to 4 days.
If you do not want to add the chocolate drizzle on top, just brush the empanadas with an egg wash (before baking) and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. They bake up with a nice, sweet crust!