I’ve always found the ancient Mayans fascinating, if frightening. For one thing, they loved to sacrifice people to the sun god. It’s Saturday? Make a sacrifice to the sun god. It’s cold and rainy? Appease the sun god with a human sacrifice. It’s too hot? Keep the sun god so busy with all our human sacrifices, he has no energy to keep beating down on us.
This picture was in my textbook in the seventh grade, and may just have scarred me for life:
The Mayans also had this awesome calendar. You know, that famous one that supposedly “predicted” that the world would end in the year 2012? There was a movie written about it? Said calendar looked something like this:
Actually, whoever started that whole “world ending” rumor should have done their research first – turns out the ancient Mayans just ran out of space on their calendar for any years after 2012. Maybe they figured by that time there wouldn’t be anyone left to look at the calendar anyway, since they were being killed off at such an alarming rate to be sacrificed to the sun god.
The final gory yet fascinating detail about the ancient Mayans that has always intruiged me is that they held chocolate sacred. They developed a chocolate cinnamon drink, the precursor to modern hot chocolate, made from cacao beans laboriously ground into a paste with chili peppers and other ingredients added. Only the king was permitted the luxury of tasting this drink. Anyone else who tried to snag a sip was executed.
Luckily for us today, we live in a less bloody time, where people from all walks of life can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate in relative safety. But I’m not going to give you a recipe for hot chocolate today. Oh, no, I’ve got something way better and more substantial up my sleeve…
Mayan brownies! Sweetened with low-GI agave and intense muscovado, spritzed with cinnamon and infused with hot spice, these brownies are authentically Mayan-flavored. And what’s more, they’re flourless and can easily be made gluten-free! A 12th of the recipe serving is about 140 calories, quite low as brownies go. So this is a treat you can truly feel good about eating.
They are black bean brownies (yes, I know, I’m SO late to the internet-black-bean-brownie party!!!), but if you don’t tell anyone the secret ingredient, they’ll never guess. My mom hates beans. I didn’t tell her there were any in these brownies. She tried and loved them, and thought they had orange flavor in them, which was a little strange. But what really matters is that she didn’t detect the beans!
Make these brownies to share with family and friends. (If you can bear not to hog them all to yourself, that is!) Serve hot, preferably with vanilla fro-yo, or cold from the fridge. Either way you choose to serve them, they’re sure to be a winner.
If you have any leftovers at the end, you may sacrifice them to the sun god.
Image credits: (in chronological order) (all brownie pictures are my own): http://enkispeaks.com/2013/07/12/sitchin-thoth-brought-civilization-to-the-maya-in-yucatan/
Info source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_chocolate