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
2 eggs
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.

 

Food for the Gods

Food for the Gods

Food for the Gods

  • http://www.samanthamenzies.com/ Samantha Angela

    Yum! I love anything with dates in it, and the description of the texture of these (between a cookie and a brownie) sounds phenomenal! I’m not quite ready for this kind of savoury baking yet, but I’m bookmarking thsi for sure!

  • natzsm

    September 1 officially starts the Pinoy Christmas season. Yes, Christmas carols are already being played on the radio and in the supermarkets.

    I have personally started getting ready for the Christmas season. This early, I have a lot of the required ingredients for my cooking and baking projects. Canned and bottled items like tomato paste, olives and olive oil, pickles and pickle relish, mayonaise, chorizo de bilbao, vienna sausage, mushrooms etc are already in my stockroom as of last weekend. Doing this NOW eliminates the shock of over spending come December and future trips to the grocery are very light. In fact, only the fresh items like meat and veggies remain on the list.

    This week, I will be buying ingredients for my fruitcakes and yes- for food for the gods! I try to bake my fruitcakes by the last week of September. That gets them off my to-do list and they are certainly better aged for 10 weeks!

    Come to think of it, September is really the best time to begin Christmas. :)

  • Mario

    this is mouthwatering. It brings back a lot of memories. I will try to bake this,,,, haven’t had this in a long time.,

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Natz for writing. Can I call you Natz? Yes, the Pinoy holiday season really starts on September 1st. I’m so impressed by your planning. It does make a difference if you plan ahead. It takes out a little of the stress (and sticker shock!) Now, all I could think about is your 10-week-old fruitcake! Happy baking!

  • natzsm

    Natz would be great!

    I always age my fruitcakes for 10 weeks. I have one fruitcake (purposely) leftover from last year so it would be a year old in a couple of weeks. I actually read somewhere that fruitcake connoisseurs would snob a fruitcakes if they weren’t at three years old so I actually left three fruitcakes from last years stash, one fruitcake to be taste-tested each year till the third one. I just had to know what a three year old fruitcake tastes like! Due to lack of discipline, the two have already been consumed- one last Valentine’s day and another one on a friend’s birthday just a couple of weeks ago. Oh yes, they were so good!
    If the one year old fruitcake is successful (actually fourteen months come December)), I would be readjusting my time table and start making fruitcakes a year in advance. :)

  • natzsm

    Natz would be great!

    I always age my fruitcakes for 10 weeks. I have one fruitcake (purposely) leftover from last year so it would be a year old in a couple of weeks. I actually read somewhere that fruitcake connoisseurs would snob a fruitcakes if they weren’t at least three years old so I actually left three fruitcakes from last years stash, one fruitcake to be taste-tested each year till the third one in 2014. I just had to know what a three year old fruitcake tastes like! Due to lack of discipline though, the two have already been consumed- one last Valentine’s day and another one on a friend’s birthday just a couple of weeks ago. Oh yes, they were already so good!

    If the one year old fruitcake is successful (actually fourteen months come December)), I would be readjusting my time table and begin making fruitcakes a year in advance. :)

  • Anna

    Hello, I am trying to make this but noticed your recipe says 300 degrees F. That’s 1000+ degrees C! Is that correct?

  • Anna

    Hello, I am trying to make this but noticed your recipe says 300 degrees F. That’s 1000+ degrees C! Is that correct?

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Anna, 300 degrees F is about 150 degrees C.

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  • Polly

    When September hit I’ve been researching recipes for this! I want to make this here in San Francisco. Thanks for posting, Jun! and Meri Krismas! Haha!

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  • http://twitter.com/ddigerati ddigerati

    One of my friends gave out Food of the Gods as part of the souvenirs for his wedding. It was delicious! It was very moist and wet and I have never tasted it that way since. I’ve tried to duplicate and the closest I’ve come to it is using a similar recipe, then immediately wrapping in cellophane before it cools. Love it!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    That’s what I love about Food for the Gods — it’s so moist! And so buttery!

  • chiliconcarne

    I wanna give this a try.

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  • Glennie Cunanan

    I tried your recipe yesterday and it was perfect. Everyone loved it :) Thank you

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    So happy to hear everyone loved your Food for the Gods! Thank you, Glennie, for writing!

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  • Maddie L

    Just found your blog and I absolutely love it. I just made the Food for the Gods and boy it was so delicious! I can’t wait to try your other recipes.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    So happy you found the blog! And so happy to hear you enjoyed the Food for the Gods. They’re great a la mode, too! Happy Holidays, Maddie!

  • Monica David

    Thank you for this recipe. Perfect and fool-proof!

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