Great for dessert or snacks, these Filipino Date and Walnut Bars are addictive. Excellent with coffee or tea — you can even have a piece (or two) for breakfast!
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Food for the Gods is available the whole year-round. You always see them in big bakeries in Manila, next to the brownies.
But for some reason, they get special treatment during the holidays. These date and walnut bars are commonly given as gifts to friends and families, like a mini (or sliced version) of fruit cake.
Growing up, I always thought that they’re a bit too sweet for me. But now that I know how to make them at home — I get to control the amount of sugar in them. 🙂
So, give this a try and let me know what you think in the comment section below!
- Dates – dried, pitted dates
- Syrup – I used dark syrup for this recipe, but light ones would work as well.
- Vanilla extract
- Brown sugar – I used muscovado sugar, but any type of brown sugar is fine.
- Baking powder
- Butter – unsalted butter
- Flour – all-purpose flour is all you need.
- Salt – take note of the amount if you are using salted butter.
- Eggs – make sure they’re at room temperature.
Start by preheating your oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease your baking pan with butter.
Using a large mixing bowl, combine melted butter and brown sugar (photo 1).
Add vanilla extract, syrup, and eggs, then mix (photo 2).
Add flour, baking powder, and salt (photo 3).
Mix to combine.
Add chopped walnuts and dates (photo 4).
Mix gently until evenly combined with the batter.
Transfer batter into the greased pan (photo 5).
Use a spatula to even the top of the batter (photo 6).
Place pan in the oven for twenty minutes, then adjust oven temperature to 160°C (320°F) and continue baking for twenty to twenty-five minutes more.
Take the pan out of the oven and let it cool for about fifteen minutes.
Slice — your date bars are now ready for serving.
- If you want your date and walnut bars to be dark, you need to use dark brown sugar and dark (or golden) syrup.
- Make sure you don’t have lumps in your brown sugar before adding them to the batter. It’s easier than getting rid of them while mixing.
- There is no need to line your pan with a baking sheet. It’s easy to remove the entire thing from the pan — ready for slicing.
- You can use white sugar instead of brown sugar, but it will affect the bars’ color.
- Raisins are sometimes used instead of dates. Depending on how sweet the raisins are, you might need to adjust the batter’s amount of sugar.
- Honey or molasses are both excellent alternatives to syrup in this date bar recipe.
Food for the Gods Recipe
- 1/2 cup butter, unsalted, melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, heaping
- 1/2 cup syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder, heaping
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 cup dates, dried, pitted, roughly chopped
- Start by preheating your oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease your baking pan with butter, as needed.
- In a large bowl, combine and mix the melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, syrup, and eggs.
- Add flour, baking powder, and salt, then mix to combine.
- Add chopped walnuts and dates, and gently mix with the rest of the ingredients.
- Transfer batter into the prepared pan and use a slanted spatula to even the top.
- Place pan in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes.
- Adjust the oven temperature to 160°C (320°F) and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Take the pan out of the oven, let cool for about 15 minutes, then slice into bars.
- Food for the Gods is now all set for serving (or storing).
- Cook’s Tip #1: If you want your date and walnut bars to be dark, you need to use dark brown sugar and dark (or golden) syrup.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Check that you don’t have lumps in your brown sugar before adding them into the batter. It’s more challenging to get rid of them once they’re in the batter.
- Cook’s Tip #3: No need to line your pan with a baking sheet. It’s easy to remove the entire thing from the pan — ready for slicing and serving.
- Recipe Variation #1: Use white sugar instead of brown sugar. Do note that it will affect the color of the bars.
- Recipe Variation #2: Use raisins as an alternative to dates. But you might need to adjust the amount of sugar, depending on how sweet the raisins are.
- Recipe Variation #3:For a (slightly) healthier option, use honey or molasses instead of syrup for this date bar recipe.