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‘Food for the Gods’ Verified Yummy and Holiday-ish


By: Sarah


Christmas is “ilang tulog na lang” and is just around the corner. The holiday (the good old days) season is defi nitely returning. Radio stations now play nonstop holiday tunes, way way ahead of the actual holiday. I have to admit though I can listen to Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas is You on repeat and never get tired of it. It just makes you love Christmas again after 11 months of working hard, meeting fi nancial goals and deadlines (not your deadlines Titah V, always a joy to get creative juice fl owing), and not seeing your loved ones and friends. Holiday gat herings — the chatter, the laughter, the lavish holiday food offerings, and mahjong too make me hurry the days of the holiday season. Fun and safe is this year’s holiday theme so let’s all have a wonderful holiday.

And I considered perfect for the holiday — Food for the Gods. So many adjectives we can connect with these date-walnut bars: rich, dense, moist, chewy, pricey, buttery, decadent. So many ways to enjoy: bake and give as gifts, wrap in gold foils or red/blue/yellow cellophanes, include in dessert table (expect kids and adults tucking them away in pockets, and disappearing fast). It is fun and easy to make and you can make your own creations with varieties of dried fruits and nuts you fold in the batter. They keep very well and really a better alternative to fruitcake.


1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts, toasted in frying pan for 5 minutes
2 cups All purpose fl our
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 cups Medjool pitted dates, chopped (each date cut into four pieces)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup glucose (or light corn syrup if sweeter)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brandy (myself: I add 3 tablespoons)

Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with aluminum foil and then coat the bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the fl our, baking powder, baking soda and salt until fully incorporated. Measure 2 tablespoons of the fl our mixture and sprinkle over chopped dates, coating the dates well. In a large and deep saute pan or wok, melt the butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and glucose, mixing well until the sugars are fully dissolved. Add the eggs, one at a time. Whisk in the remaining fl our mixture in two additions. Add vanilla and brandy. Fold in fl our-coated dates and chopped walnuts with rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and evenly smooth the top.

Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes, then lower to 300 F and continue baking for 45 to 50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Center may be slightly underdone. Transfer the baking pan to a wire rack and let cool for an hour. Then complete completely in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Cut into small squares/bars with electric knife and wrap in gold foils or colored cellophane squares.


1) I don’t use a stand mixer, I only use whisk and large spatula to mix. Very easy done by hand.

2) Toasting the walnuts makes them more crunchy and nuttier. Toast in a pan for 5 minutes or bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

3) The texture is dense: Don’t overmix, don’t overbake. 4) Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, refrigerated for up to a month or two.

5) Baking pan: I always use a 9”x13” pan and the thickness of the bar is just perfect.

6) Do not buy the pre-chopped dates as they are coated in sugar.

7) Before I cut into bars, I lightly brush with just a bit of brandy.

8) You can create variations of this recipe: Fruitcake bars, Mango Cashew Bars, Pineapple Pili Bars, Prune Walnut bars.

This is a good recipe to eat…great recipe to sell. Gawa na kaagad — Bigay or Benta…panalo! May the peace and joy of the holidays be with you this Christmas and throughout the new year.


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