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Apple Cranberry Empanadas

Traditional holiday flavors come together with a tropical twist with this recipe I created for my ongoing partnership with Spice Tribe. They were kind enough to send over their single origin spices and I definitely wanted to use their single origin Padang Cassia Cinnamon first!

Insanely fragrant and inviting, I knew I needed to make a dessert but I wanted to make one with pantry and freezer staples instead of shopping for new ingredients (because, admittedly, I’m not a huge baker). Traditional apple pie flavors shine with cozy warming spices, sweetness from coconut, and a little tartness from the cranberries here since I wanted to make something a little non-traditional but with a nostalgic holiday vibe. So, here we are!

Serving Size: 4-6


  • 1 package frozen empanada dough discs, thawed
  • 3 small gala or granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 small navel orange, juiced
  • 1 tsp Spice Tribe Padang Cassia Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 small vanilla bean pod, split and scraped (or a generous splash of pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tbsp sweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut water
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Cinnamon sugar, for garnish (see note)

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Photo of Apple Cranberry Empanadas


  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the diced apples, orange juice, Spice Tribe Padang Cassia Cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, scraped vanilla beans (and the pod), cranberries, and coconut flakes. Toss together to make sure everything is mixed well.
  3. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large frying pan or cast iron skillet. Pour in the apple mixture and stir, sautéing until the apples start to break down and release some of their juices, about 8-10 minutes. Add the light brown sugar, stirring to make sure the sugar gets dissolved and starts to melt.
  4. Make a slurry with the coconut water and cornstarch by placing the two ingredients in a jar with a top and shaking or whisking with a fork to remove any lumps. Pour the slurry into the apple mixture and stir to combine, cooking for another 4-5 minutes. Once thickened, turn the heat off and set aside. Remove the vanilla bean pod pieces before filling the empanadas.
  5. To assemble the empanadas, spoon a heaping tablespoon of the apple filing into the center of the disc. Fold the dough over itself into a half moon shape and press down with your finger against the edges. Using a fork, crimp the edges to seal completely. Repeat this process with the remaining filling and dough discs and place them on a silpat or parchment-lined sheet pan.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut three small slits into the tops of the empanadas so steam can escape while baking and using a pastry brush, brush the tops with the beaten egg so they get nice and golden in the oven. If you get some egg wash on the silpat or parchment, no worries! It doesn’t have to be perfect!
  7. Bake in 400ºF oven for 20 minutes, rotating the pan at the 10 minute mark. Carefully remove them from the oven and brush one more time with the egg wash and generously sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar blend and bake for another 5 minutes.
  8. Once removed from the oven, let them cool slightly before enjoying! You can definitely fry these if you like but when I made them, I didn’t feel like fussing with any oil. Definitely personal preference though! These would be delicious with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream since it would like having your own individual apple pie.
  9. ¡Buen provecho!

Recipe Note

Note: to make the cinnamon sugar, mix 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of Spice Tribe Padang Cassia Cinnamon together. Once used for garnish, you can store the excess to use with other sweets, French toast, or cereal! As for the vanilla bean pod, make sure to keep the pod itself after scraping the vanilla seeds out for the apple filling. These can be repurposed to infuse other items, or my favorite, making a vanilla sugar. To do this, toss the vanilla bean pod into your sugar jar and let it hang out.


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