My favorite part of the winter holiday season is lighting up a Christmas tree and turning off all of the room lights and basking in the sparkling tannenbaum glow. This moment in holiday cheer calls for some creamy hot chocolate and something festive to snack upon. In Christmas seasons past I’ve made refreshing peppermint chocolate bark and indulgent snowy coconut cupcakes, but outside the window it’s a cool 60 degrees and sunny, so these treats seem a bit out-of-place. I instead searched for something both sunny and cheerful, but also smacks of holiday specialness – and I found the perfect match in sweet pumpkin empanadas. There’s a great recipe to be found at Muy Bueno Cookbook with beautiful photos to egg you on to making these delicious treats. I’ve never made an empanada before and found the dough much easier to work with (using your hands is recommended!) than my prior failures with pastry dough. The empanadas are dainty and scrumptious, with a flaky slightly sweet crust and a bit of sweet spiced pumpkin filling. I was able to scrap out just short of 2 dozen little empanadas, and had about a 1/2 cup of the pumpkin filling left over. The filling tastes like a spiced pumpkin jam which would be great on buttermilk pancakes or warm brioche. I plan on making some sandwich cookies with the rest using a rich and buttery sugar cookie dough I got from Little Bee Baking – extending the holiday cheer a little longer, and allowing me to carve out more time with the warm glow of the twinkling Christmas tree.