Culture, Food News, Food

Guanacaste Seed Brownies

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español

This is another one of those inconvenient recipes shared in The Voice, but inconvenient in the best way. Although you won’t find everything you need in the cupboard or on the supermarket shelves, you can surely find it a few steps away from your doorstep or nearby in the mountains.

You’ll need to have a grandmother’s patience if you aspire to cook like one, and if you want to take a bite of this brownie or show it off on your social networks, you’ll have to work for it. Before heating up the oven, grab a bucket and go hunting for the main ingredient: seeds from a Guanacaste tree.

Marielos Carrillo returns from the backyard to the kitchen of her house in the La Virginia neighborhood with her hands full of leaves and puts a creamy plant called chicasquil…

Orejero, piñón de oreja, caracaro, parota, conacaste, Guanacaste. In Latin America, this tree is known by as many names as there are dishes that can be cooked with its seeds.

I must confess that the first time I saw someone using them was not long ago. Costa Rican chef Gilberto Briceño shared a video on his Instagram stories of him peeling an infinity of seeds to make a dessert in his kitchen.

In his own words, Briceño describes his work as the bridge that connects the country’s “forgotten” ingredients with selective palates from around the world.

We collected the seeds from wild sources, from mountains, from backyards, etc. It’s a product that isn’t marketed because very few people know that it can be eaten,” the chef added.

Here’s the recipe to warm you up on a cool afternoon in Guanacaste’s highlands accompanied by a coffee, or served with a ball of vanilla ice cream on top if you’re in the lowlands.


  • Eggs: 100 g (3.5 ounces)
  • Cashew milk:* 142 g (5 ounces)
  • Agave syrup:** 82 g (2.9 ounces)
  • Tahini:*** 186 g (6.5 ounces)
  • Baking powder: 1 g (.035 ounces)
  • Guanacaste seed flour: 90 g (3.2 ounces)
  • Organic chocolate: 35 g (1.2 ounces)
  • Brown sugar: 40 g (1.4 ounces)
  • Dried coconut: 50g (1.76 ounces)
  • Salt: 4 g (.14 ounces)
  • Coconut oil: 63 g (2.2 ounces)
  • 60% cacao chips: 63 g (2.2 ounces)

* Use any milk that meets your tastes and nutritional needs.

** Substitute maple syrup or make a homemade syrup from equal parts of white sugar and water until you get that same texture. Another option is to cook tapa de dulce (unrefined whole sugar cane) with water and reduce the mixture until it has the consistency of thick syrup.

*** You can substitute peanut butter, almond butter or regular butter.

Seed preparation

  • Wash the Guanacaste pods very well.
  • Open the pods to be able to remove the seeds that are inside.
  • Put the seeds in water and rinse well.
  • Cook them in a pot with water for 3 hours.
  • Use a colander to remove excess water.
  • Rinse the seeds again so that the skins begin to come off.
  • Pinch the seeds one by one to separate the outer part of the seed from the inner part, the most tender seed. This is the part needed for cooking. (This is a rather slow process so it’s best to have several people doing it).
  • Once the seeds are peeled, toast them in the sun for five hours.
  • Grind them to make flour. The seeds have to be 100% dry in order to process them.

Brownie preparation

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Celsius (617 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • In a large bowl, combine the baking powder, Guanacaste seed flour, organic chocolate powder, brown sugar, dried coconut and salt.
  • While stirring constantly, add the egg, coconut oil, cashew milk, agave syrup, tahini and, finally, the cacao chips.
  • Bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees Celsius  (617 degrees Fahrenheit).