Don’t Make This at Home: Play-Doh Empanadas

I’ve had a serious bout of writer’s block lately, which is the worst thing any writer can endure, aside from a case of raging alcoholism and herpes. And I’m already an alcoholic with herpes, so the Unholy Trinity of Writing is now complete. When I have a case of Pizzle writer’s block this bad, I usually go into stores and wander around until I see something very stupid. Naturally, I went into a children’s toy store by myself (because there’s nothing creepy about that), and stumbled upon their “Food Toys” section.

When I walked into the toy store, a father pulled his child aside, pointing at me, and said, “See that guy? Don’t be him when you grow up.”

Children like to simulate being adults, which is extremely stupid. Being an adult is total garbage. You have to go to work, try to find someone to lovingly mate with, disappoint your parents by not following their wishes by marrying that 80-year old hussy, and then make more children, which is not possible with an 80-year old hussy for a wife. Also, I still don’t have a job and I want to uppercut myself in the balls for being an utter failure.

One of the things children like to simulate is cooking. Having a child in a kitchen is dangerous, because there are knives and scaldingly hot ingredients, they can’t pick things up with their little baby hands, and they drink things like Windex. To compensate, there are a lot of toys that mimic cooking, such as Play-Doh kits that squish out spaghetti-looking noodles. The issue is that children generally cannot distinguish what food actually is (my friend’s younger brother ate dog poo when he was an infant), and will eat nearly anything.

Play-Doh proudly states that it is non-toxic, which means children can generally eat it without dying. However, on the container, it says, “Fun to play with, but not to eat.” I’ll be the judge of that, Hasbro.

As I picked up a container of Play-Doh, I said to myself, “Dannis Ree, since Play-Doh is marginally edible, how can you turn this into a relevant food product that no one can eat?”

And thus spoke Zarathrustra (cue the Jurassic Park theme song):

Welcome to Play-Doh Empanadas.

Play Doh Empanadas Ingredients

One of the most important things a food writer can do is to stay culturally relevant by appropriating ethnic food onto their website, and to pretend they know everything about a culture by making a particular dish. In this case, I am now an expert on empanadas. Empanadas are hand-held pastries that originated from Portugal, like uh, many moons ago, and eventually spread across the world like Legionnaire’s Disease. They are like those diabetes-inducing fried pies from Hostess (which are delicious but will kill you), but more authentic.

Most of the empanadas I’ve eaten have been of the Argentinian or Cuban variety, with seasoned meat, olives, hardboiled eggs, and raisins. For today’s purposes, I am going to go the classic route and use a ground-up cow (thanks, poor cow!) along with prunes (I was too lazy to buy raisins), olives, onions, and canned tomatoes. And oh yeah, Play-Doh.

Now, before I really get started, DO NOT MAKE THIS RECIPE.

According to Wikipedia’s Play-Doh entry, “…it is composed of water, a starch-based binder, a retrogradation inhibitor, salt, lubricant, surfactant, preservative, hardener, humectant, fragrance, and color. A petroleum additive gives the compound a smooth feel, and borax prevents mold from developing.

Now, if you guys can figure it out, there’s a lot of stuff in here that you really shouldn’t eat. You can eat it, but there’s no guarantee you won’t get sick. I mean, come on, borax is used to kill cockroaches. Since I am the culinary equivalent of Jackass, I will eat this garbage and report back to you.

What kind of food blog encourages you not to make its food? This one.

Play Doh Empanadas Mise en Place

To start, chop up all your non-meat ingredients into tiny little bits, and display them proudly on your cutting board. If you have guests over, show this cutting board proudly and say you know a lot about cooking. Also, I have a cool black ceramic knife that’s so sharp it’ll cut your penis off almost instantly. It’s so cool I want to have sex with it.

Play Doh Empanadas Onions

Next, sautée your onions and garlic until they are soft and translucent. If you want to insist you know what you are doing, call them “aromatics” then declare loudly that you could win Chopped.

Play Doh Empanadas Meat Onions

Next, throw your ground-up cow into the pan angrily. Make sure all the onions fly out of the pan, then run around the kitchen waving your knife around, pretending to be the red-faced, Botox-foreheaded Gordon Ramsay. Then say something like “Your risotto is so undercooked I could polish my bollocks with it! Piss off!

Play Doh Empanadas More Ingredients

Once the beef is cooked through, throw all the other shit in there. Cook it until there’s not much moisture left, because you don’t want your Play-Doh Empanadas to be soggy, do you?

Set that aside to cool off and pretend to be Gordon Ramsay again, but this time, do it naked in the front window until the neighbors complain to the cops that you’re on PCP again.

Play Doh Empanadas Rolling Pin

I have a perfectly respectable Martha Stewart rolling pin that I got from Kmart, but since I didn’t want to ruin it with Play-Doh (that smell never goes away), I decided to use the bottle of a wine I greatly disrespect.

Play Doh Empanadas Play Doh Vagina

I chose turquoise, peach, and magenta Play-Doh for my empanada dough. The bottom one in this photo loosely resembles a vagina. It reminds me of your mother’s crotch, which is also magenta, and also loosely resembles a vagina.

Play Doh Empanadas Play Doh Penis

The first thing you need to do is to sculpt a Play-Doh penis. Put a toothpick in one testicle for no reason. It’s weird because my genitals also have this coloration and one testicle has a toothpick skewered in it.

Play Doh Empanadas Play Doh Raft

Next, make a raft-like set of Play-Doh rolls with the colors of your choice. They look like the hot dogs I have in my refrigerator from two years ago.

Play Doh Empanadas Play Doh Roll

Use the bottle from your awful wine as a rolling pin, flattening out the dough until it is very thin. Pose your right hand in the photo carefully while trying not to drop your fancy DSLR with your left.

Play Doh Empanadas Play Doh Mold

Once you’ve got a sufficiently thin dough (or Doh, as Hasbro likes to call it), use some kind of round thing you’ll throw out immediately after, like this cottage cheese container. I eat a lot of cottage cheese. It is primarily the reason why I am alone in this cold world. The one thing that comforts me is that I’m lactose intolerant so I fart all day afterwards, so everything balances out.

Play Doh Empanadas Play Doh Cut

This is truly delightful. It looks like spoiled, carcinogenic, Neopolitan ice cream.

Play Doh Empanadas Play Doh Stuff

Now that your empanada filling has sufficiently cooled off, put a tablespoon’s worth on one side and fold over the other half just like a dumpling. This is so adorable. It’s a dish that is a cross between children’s toys and actual food.

Play Doh Empanadas Play Doh Crimp

Next, using a fork, crimp the edges shut. This is a cute trick I learned by watching Paula Deen make an all-butter pie.

Play Doh Empanadas Egg Wash

The last step you need to do before you pop it in the oven is to beat an egg and brush it onto the pastry. This is called an egg wash and it’s what gives some breads and pastries that delightful golden shine when it comes out of the oven. Bring that up casually when talking about baking with your friends, as they will give you endless respect for knowing the little ins-and-outs of true home craftsmanship.

Play Doh Empanadas Play Doh Penis Egg Wash

Don’t forget to wash your balls!

As the Play-Doh empanadas baked in the oven, my apartment was filled with an excruciatingly putrid sour smell. The aroma was sour and also faintly sweet, with that distinct scented-diaper fragrance that only Play-Doh can have. I’ve never smelled anything like it. I hope to avoid that smell in the future.

Play Doh Empanadas Finished

And here are the finished empanadas! They actually look like food, aside from the horrific artificial color. My roommate remarked that they look like the Charlotte Hornets’ jerseys from the 1990s. I don’t watch sports, and I mainly sashay around my apartment with a flowery apron on, so I would not know much about manly sports events where a ball goes in a hole. Your mom knows a lot about balls in holes. Ask her at the dinner table, she’ll regale you with tales of all sorts of balls.

Play Doh Empanadas Autopsy

Here is the inside of the empanada — it looks more or less like a real empanada if a unicorn vomited one up whole. I took a giant bite and immediately ran to the toilet to spit it out, trying not to toss my cookies. Turns out Play-Doh is insanely salty (which makes sense — salt is a preservative). The dough is strangely chewy with a plasticine texture, and it tastes just like its fragrance, which is about as disturbing as you can imagine, kind of like a vanilla-scented urinal cake. The filling by itself is delicious, a mix between robust beefiness, tart briny olives, and sweet pliant dried plums, but all of that is totally masked by the fact that you’re eating a children’s toy that was not meant to be eaten in the first place. It’s been a long time since the first bite of food almost made me throw up, and that’s saying a lot.

I am simultaneously proud and ashamed of myself, which is a very interesting feeling. But if I die soon of Play-Doh poisoning, just know I died for a really dumb reason, and feel better about anything terrible that comes your way.

Play-Doh Empanadas That You Should Never Make or Eat

  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped, including your own fingernail clippings for texture
  • Medium clove garlic, finely minced
  • Don’t make this recipe
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, lovingly applied to your face and ass
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (fun story, this blog was almost called “Cumin in Your Mouth”)
  • Entire container of dried parsley
  • 1 lb. dead, ground-up cow
  • 2 tablespoons diced prunes
  • 2 tablespoons green olives with blood
  • 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 containers Play-Doh (5 oz. each)
  • 1 egg beaten like my face after a dozen yo’ momma jokes
  • Good health insurance in case you get sick
  • Good life insurance in case you die


As a bonus, if you would like to know what I’m like in person, check out this video interview I did with Vickie Eisenstein last week. It was a lot of fun, and Vickie is even more lively and funny in person.




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