“ I will love you today, tomorrow and always,” were the sweet words uttered during the wedding blessing the minister officiated. I could not focus. My thoughts were on the Filipino dessert Food for the Gods- Date and Raisin Bars I baked which were neatly tucked in tins back in our hotel room. We were on the mountain top of a serene lake side estate in upstate New York. It was a chilly day in September. The azure blue sky was clear and a perfect backdrop to the scenic view of the grassy knolls and lush trees below us. Guests had come from far and near to witness the wedding of my nephew, Tim to his lovely bride, Kristine.
As I packed for the wedding weekend, I was also busy baking. I knew a big batch of the easy to bake, all-time favorite ‘Food for the Gods’ would be appreciated. Food for the Gods is a Filipino favorite dessert bar. It is richly filled with dates, raisins, (nuts if there are no food allergies), dark molasses and lots and lots of good butter. When the entire baking pan went into the oven, the scrumptious scent of the butter was unbelievable. It radiated from within the oven as the Food for the Gods bars were baking. The sweet butter scent traveled all around the house, out to the patio, high in the sky, across to the neighbors.
The newlyweds sure did enjoy these moist bars. It was perfect for them to relish right after the wedding festivities. True enough, I got a sweet message from the newlyweds the day after the wedding weekend. They even sent photos of the tin that held the ‘Food for the gods’ date bars – a before and after. There was no need to explain to me. I knew these Filipino date bars are always a hit every time I bake them for anyone. They travel well and they store for a long time. Trust me, if you bake these and give them as gifts, everyone and anyone will truly “love them today, tomorrow and always.”
Food for the Gods - Date- Raisin Bars
- 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup softened at room temperature (I used Kerrygold Butter) butter, unsalted
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 3 whole large I used organic, cage-free eggs
- 1 teaspoon I used organic pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup dark molasses
- 2 Tablespoons I used artisan brands or organic honey
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, unsalted (optional, omit if there are nut allergies)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup pitted chopped in small bits almost size of raisins dates
- 12 to 14 pieces cellophane candy wrappers cut in 4 x 4-inch pieces; or muffin paper cups
- Cream butter and both sugars using an electric mixer at medium speed.
- Add eggs one at a time. Add molasses, honey and vanilla.
- Add flour and other dry ingredients. Blend well. Mix in by hand the walnuts (omit if there are nut allergies), raisins, dates. Blend ingredients well with a wooden spoon.
- Pour batter into a greased baking pan (9 x 11 inches) that’s lined with parchment paper. Bake at preheated oven 350 F degrees for 35 minutes . Test for doneness by sticking a knife in the center of pan. If knife comes clean, then bars are cooked.
- When done, cool on counter for a few minutes. Then slice in 2-inch bars.
- To wrap: in the Philippines, these are wrapped individually in brightly colored cellophane. Or you can put them in colored muffin paper cups and store them in cookie tins to give as presents.
- To store: these Food for the Gods date bars will keep with no refrigeration for up to 3 days. To store in the freezer - once cooled from baking, wrap in plastic, a layer of foil and keep in plastic resealable bags or sealed plastic containers then freeze. These keep in the freezer for up to a month.