I’m not entirely sure why combining cayenne pepper and chocolate qualifies the chocolate as Mayan, but there are enough Google search results that mean it’s a thing, but nothing I could find that explained why, so I guess I’ll just have to take this one at face value. If it turns out that the Mayans really did combine cayenne and chocolate, then I think we can agree that that wonderful flavor combination more than makes up for their big snafu predicting the end of the world. That was a cheap shot, sorry guys.


Mayan Chocolate Muffins (76 of 750)

Adapted from 750 Best Muffin Recipes by Camilla Saulsbury
Makes 46 mini-muffins

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2/3 granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt butter and chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cayenne.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together chocolate mixture, sugar, and egg until well blended. Whisk in milk until blended.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended.
  6. Divide batter equally among prepared muffins cups.
  7. Bake 10-15 minutes or until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool.

You know when you’re reading a book or watching a movie or tv show and there’s a plot twist and it surprises you and catches you off guard and then you have to go back and look for the clues that were there the whole time? These muffins are like that. At first, it’s just a regular chocolate muffin, but then once you take a couple bites, you get a little inkling of the cinnamon and then when you’re done the cayenne hits you in the face, not too aggressively, just a little love tap.

The great thing about these muffins is that they don’t have that dense, rich texture that most chocolate muffins have – these are as light as air, which helps keep the spices from getting too overpowering. The added kick really takes these up a notch from your standard chocolate muffin, and with some extra chocolate in the batter, and maybe a molten center, these would be a great dessert.