Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Deep Chocolate Aztec Brownies (reduced fat!) + my restored faith in humanity

The Aztec people knew a thing or two about chocolate- recent studies show that they may have been the first people group to use the Cacao bean, even before the Mayans. I also have a soft spot for them in my heart, since I spend half my life defending the fact that I drive an Aztek (I know, I know... there isn't an actual link there). So, when John came home last night craving brownies something fierce, I turned to the Aztec people for a truly chocolaty experience. They really enjoyed adding different spices to their chocolate to change the flavor, and the one that we'll pick up on today is chili powder. It may seem crazy, but I promise... they are delicious!
the finished batter
These brownies are SO moist! I'm ashamed to admit that there are only 2 left in the pan and we only made them last night. The only saving grace is that (like all recipes I post here) I did my best to make them as healthy as passable. I don't say POSSIBLE because if you made a dessert as healthy as possible, it wouldn't be edible. These are as healthy as passable for a dessert. There are some places where you can use substitution (such as the amount of chili powder or type of flour) if you'd like some wiggle room as well. They were easy to make and even easier to eat... enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 c. melted butter or oil (your choice)
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. flour (your choice)
1/3 c. dark cocoa powder
1/4 c. fruit puree (I used pumpkin, but applesauce or prune works)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (preference)
1/4- 1/2 tsp chili powder (preference)
1/2 c. dark chocolate chunks
*I added in some mini-marshmallows as well :) just about 15

heading into the oven...
Mix together the butter/oil, fruit puree, sugar, extracts, & eggs.
Next, mix in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and spices.
Lastly add the chocolate chunks and (optional) marshmallows.

Fold into a greased 9 X 9 pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter with more chili powder. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Eat. Eat. Eat... and consider how much those Aztecs knew about how to do chocolate!
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the beginning of the end

I mentioned in a previous post that a neighbor had stolen a package from our front door containing a pair of boots I bought for work. It was really shocking and I had a hard time processing how a person could steal from his/her neighbor. I went to each door in my building a left a little note about how the package "may have been delivered to the wrong door" and asking that if it was, it be returned to us. Nothing happened. I really, truly expected to see the package back at my front door the next day. I finally gave up hope and was really frustrated by the situation. I even found myself being afraid to sleep when John wasn't home. But wouldn't you know, it's so like life... just when I thought I'd never see those boots again, I got a call from a police officer that the person had turned them in with a full confession. He said he needed to keep my boots so that he could press charges. I contacted him yesterday, hoping that he'll allow me to drop the charges against my neighbor, but I haven't heard back yet.
Isn't that awesome? I can't imagine how hard it must have been to take them to the police and I'm so proud of that person, whoever it may be. Not to say that it was ever a good idea to take them... but really, after two weeks to turn them in? It's really great. 
It was a nice reminder, too, that God answers prayer. I had prayed and prayed that the person would return them, but as time went on that seemed really unlikely.I thought for sure they had been sold by now. God always answers our prayers. Sometimes it looks a little different, sometimes it takes a little longer, but he hears us. He is a big God, he can change any situation.
He can even change the heart of a thief.

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