Paul and I were surprised to learn how beloved chocolate is in Spain. Hot chocolate was as common as coffee. There were stores selling boxed chocolates but also cafes, devoted to churros and bowls of rich, liquid chocolate to dunk them in. Paul and I indulged in churros, served piping hot and crunchy with a layer of sugar and we may have fought over the last bits of the bittersweet chocolate in the bottom of the paper cup. We also had empanadas with chocolate in them, which was new to me. Empanadas are typically savory and typically filled with beef, hard boiled eggs, olives, and raisins. I was happy to discover a chocolate version, which is simple, delicious and easy to recreate. Purchased empanada wrappers (found in the freezer section of most groceries) are wrapped around a generous scoop of Nutella and a few slices of banana, and then shallow fried ‘til crispy. Eat them while they are hot, while the chocolate is oozy and the wrapper is crisp. These little treats are equally good on a Madrid street corner or in your kitchen on a cold and stormy night.
Banana Nutella Empanadas
5-inch empanada disks (see note)
Canola oil, for frying
For each empanada, scoop 2 tablespoons Nutella onto an open disk and place two-three banana slices neatly on the nutella. Fold the wrapper in half taco style and press the edges together to form a seal ⅓-inch wide. Start at one corner and fold the edge, turning the dough over to make a twisting pattern. Or, use a fork to firmly crimp the edge.
Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to fry.
Heat ½-inch oil over a medium flame in a heavy-bottom pan (cast iron works well.) Test the oil by adding a small piece of dough to the pan. If it bubbles, it’s ready to go. Cook the empanadas for 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.
Note: empanada wrappers are easily found in the frozen section. Pictured here is the annatto variety, which has a warm flavor. Any kind works well.