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Food for the Gods are delicious chewy date and walnut bars. If you are looking for a dessert that will impress this is the recipe for you.
Are you looking for a delicious dessert that is easy to make but tastes impressive? Food for the Gods is perfect. They are delicious date and walnut bars that taste as if you have spent ages making them. Ideal for dinner parties or just as a snack with a cup of tea.
Every family has a special recipe. For me it is Food for the Gods. It is a recipe that I remember from when I was very small. My mum would make it for special dinner parties. It was one of a choice of several desserts. I would always hope no one would choose it so I could eat the leftovers.
The bars are similar to blondies, with crisp golden edges and a chewy soft interior. Inside there are chopped dates and walnuts which add texture and taste amazing. They are also easy to make so it is well worth cooking up a batch.
Origin of Food for the Gods
It is only recently that I found out that the dish is popular in the Philippines. During Christmas it is given as a gift to friends and loved ones. Usually the bars are wrapped in foil and bright layers of cellophane and put in fancy tins.
The origins of the dessert may be from a Spanish bread called “Pan de Datil” which has the same basic ingredients. The recipe changed slightly during the American colonization of the Philippines into these bars that are popular today.
Why the name?
When you think of food for the gods you usually think of ambrosia. In Greek mythology, this is a honey flavoured food that allows the gods to remain immortal. In different cultures, different foods take this name. The Aztecs and the Mayans believed cocoa was a gift from the gods and chocolate gained this name.
The most likely explanation is that in the Philippines dates are an expensive ingredient. It gained the name Food for the Gods to show that it contains lavish ingredients that only the Gods, or rich people, could afford.
How to make Food for the Gods
Don’t forget to scroll down to get the complete printable recipe.
- Flour – Plain or all-purpose flour is ideal
- Sugar and honey – A mix of brown and white sugar gives the bars a nice brown colour. Honey helps make them chewy and adds sweetness
- Baking Powder – Helps make the bars rise. Check that it has not gone past its use-by date or your bars may be flat.
- Butter – this is melted to make it easier to mix the ingredients together.
- Vanilla Essence – to add a touch of flavour
- Dates and Walnuts – these add texture. You can use a packet of chopped dates or you can use Medjool dates. If you are using Medjool dates chilling them in the fridge before chopping them makes them easier to chop.
Steps to make the recipe
First pre-heat your oven to 350F, 175 C, Gas Mark 3
Get your baking tray ready. I use a 12” X 9” tin. Grease it well to make it easy to get the finished bars out of the tin or line it with baking parchment.
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl. Sifting the ingredients removes the lumps and makes them easier to mix. Check the use by date on your baking powder to make sure its not expired. If it is then the bars may not rise.
Melt the butter over a gentle heat.
Put the melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla essence into another bowl and mix together.
Add the honey to the mixture.
Fold in the flour, then add the dates and walnuts. Fold the dry ingredients in gently and do not overbeat or your bars may be hard.
Put into the prepared baking tray and smooth the top so the mixture is evenly spread.
Bake in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes. A skewer should come out clean when inserted but it should still be chewy in the centre.
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Food for the Gods Recipe
Food for the Gods
- 12" x 9" baking tray
- Mixing bowls
- Baking parchment
- Mixing spoon
- 125 g plain flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 170 g of chopped dates
- 225 g of melted butter
- 200 g of brown sugar
- 130 g of white sugar
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- 2 eggs
- 120 g chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350F, 175 C, Gas Mark 3
- Line a rectangular baking tray with paper 12” x 8”
- Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl.
- Melt the butter in a pan over a gentle heat.
- Put the melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla essence into another bowl and mix.
- Add the honey to the mixture
- Fold in the flour, then add the dates and walnuts
- Bake in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes. A skewer should come out clean when inserted but it should still be chewy in the centre.
- Leave to cool then cut into rectangular bars.
How to store food for the Gods
The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month.
How to wrap the bars
Once you have cut the bars into rectangles you can wrap them in aluminium foil and then coloured cellophane. They can then be put into gift boxes for a special gift.
If you are just planning on eating them yourself store in an airtight box.