YIELD: 16 empanadas

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt, divided
3 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 Tbsps. vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsps. brown sugar
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
8 oz. Cotija or Feta cheese, crumbled
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup sesame seeds

1. For the dough: In a mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add flour and ¼ tsp. of salt; mix until dough comes together, about 1minute. Remove to a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 45 minutes or up to 24 hours.

2. For the filling: Place chiles in a bowl; cover with boiling water. Set aside until soft and plump, about 10 minutes. Drain; roughly chop and set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add onion; cook until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in chiles, vinegar, sugar and remaining salt; cook and stir until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; add avocado and cheese. Mix well and season with salt to taste.

3. To make the empanadas: Preheat oven 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Between 2 sheets of wax paper, roll out chilled dough until about 1/8” thick. With a 4” round cookie cutter, cut out 16 rounds. With a pastry brush, lightly brush edges of the rounds with the beaten egg.
Divide filling into centers of the rounds. Fold and lightly stretch one side of each round over the filling to line up with the other edge of the round. With a fork, press edges to seal. Place the empanadas on the baking sheet. Lightly brush the tops with egg; sprinkle sesame seeds. Bake until golden, 20 to 22 minutes.

Photo and recipe: Avocados from Mexico