Cacao brownies are a delicious Bocas specialty. Made with locally grown cacao and lots of love, this chocolate treat is a sure way to brighten your rainy Bocas day. Quite recently, I taught the newly established Loma Coco Grupo de Damas (women’s group) how to make this decadent dessert. We meet for one day at the end of each month to cook up something new (banana bread, rice pudding, cornbread, chocolate johnny cakes, ect) using mostly local ingredients. While the treat bakes, I also teach a recycle or crafting activity: chakira bracelets, paper necklaces, trapo rugs, plastic purses, and more. The youth also love when I bring an English-Spanish book and we practice English while gathered on the wooden floor.
Although the 30-min hike to Loma Coco is a steep and muddy one, it is worth it every time as we fill our bellies with freshly baked products. As of right now, we are dipping our toes in what it means to be a Grupo de Damas and create products as a cooperative. The long-term goal is to package and sell these treats within the community and beyond. First, we will need to discuss marketing, product consistency, branding, and the responsibility of a Directiva; but for now, we are having fun!
There are lots of recipes out there but I prefer to use the following. Double it to make enough for birthday gifts or visitors!
1/2 cup butter or oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Heat your oven or double paila.
Mix butter/oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla in one bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
Slowly combine the dry mix into the wet mix and stir until smooth.
Oil your baking pan and add the mix.
Bake for ~20-30 minutes depending on your oven.
Remove from heat when a fork comes out clean.
Enjoy! They’re bälen (delicious in Ngäbere)!