Fourteen weeks and six days.
Yes, you guessed right. Fourteen weeks and six days left until Christmas. This year, the big day falls on a Tuesday.
Hold your horses, I can already hear some of you say. It’s only September! Isn’t it too soon to think about the Holidays? School has just started. Halloween is around the corner. And there’s Thanksgiving, for crying out loud.
But for Filipinos it isn’t so. It’s never too soon. Take my mom, for example. She starts counting the weeks and the days once the “ber” months start rolling in. She holds off with the decorations until a full month before the twenty-fifth but she starts thinking about gifts and get-togethers as early as September.
For Filipinos it’s never too soon for Christmas carols in the malls and on the radio. Never too soon for sweaters and scarves — even in eighty-degree weather. For party plans and for gift lists. Never too soon for the sweets of the season. For bibingka and puto bumbong. For cookies and cakes. For Food for the Gods!
Wrapped in festive red and green cellophane, Food for the Gods are buttery Christmas confections lavishly peppered with dates and walnuts. The texture is a cross between a crumbly cookie and a moist brownie. They are chewy with the crunch of chopped walnuts and the dates lend a rich caramel flavor with hints of honey. These heavenly confections are the sweet heralds of the Holidays.
Food for the Gods Recipe
Recipe adapted from The Best of the Maya Kitchen: The Complete Guide to Baking, makes 18 bars
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup coarsely chopped Medjool dates
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan and set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Beat eggs lightly in a separate bowl. Add sugar, butter, nuts, and dates. Fold in flour. Spread mixture on the greased pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. While warm, cut into 3 x 2-inch pieces.