Food for the gods, a better recipe

Food for the gods

The first time I baked food for the gods, I used a recipe printed on a Maya Hotcake Mix box. The second time resulted in baking accident and the food for the gods became the accidental fruit cake. The third attempt illustrates the saying that “Two’s company; three’s a crowd.” My third attempt just bumped off the two previous attempts. I baked a large batch of food for the gods last Saturday and served the cookies to dinner guests as dessert.

The best food for the gods I have baked so far — moist and chewy at the center but dry on top. That means they can be individually wrapped and placed in a box or a pouch and given away as a very personal and special Christmas gift.

By what kind of miracle was I able to bake these gorgeous squares? Believe it or not — by NOT following a recipe. I used a tried-and-tested recipe for butterscotch brownies (from my sister-in-law) but I did not melt the butter in a sauce pan. I simply allowed to it soften at room temperature before I added the rest of the ingredients.

How to bake food for the gods

Yield: 48 to 60 squares.

200 g. of dried sultanas pitted dates1
200 g. of walnuts2
1-1/4 c. of butter, softened to room temperature
5 c. of lightly (not loosely) packed dark brown sugar
3-3/4 c. + 1 tbsp. of all-purpose flour
5 tsps. of baking powder
2-1/2 tsps. of salt
5 eggs
2-1/2 tsps. of vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 350oF.

Place the dates on a chopping board and sprinkle with one tablespoonful of flour.3 Chop coarsely. “Coarsely” is subjective as it is a matter of preference how small you want the pieces of sultanas to be in the baked product. I like mine pretty small but you can always chop them into larger pieces. Transfer the chopped dates to a bowl and set aside.

Chop the walnuts to roughly the same size as the chopped sultanas. Add to the sultanas in the bowl.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla essence. Add the flour in batches, mixing with a wooden spoon. The batter will be very heavy. Finally, stir in the sultanas and walnuts.

Cover the bottom and sides of a 12-1/2 x 17-1/2 x 1 jelly roll pan with non-stick baking paper. Allowing overhangs on the long sides is useful so that you slide off the baked food for the gods on a cooling rack in one piece.

Pour the batter into the pan scraping the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl to make sure you get all of the batter into the pan. Level off with a spatula. Bake in a preheated 350oF oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Watch the last few minutes closely so that just as soon as it’s sufficiently baked, you can turn off the oven at once and take out the pan.

Then, cool in the pan for 10 minutes to firm it up a bit. Holding one end of the baking paper overhang with one hand and holding the pan at a 45o angle with the other, pull out the baked food for the gods and slide onto a cooling rack. Cool for another 15 minutes or so. While still a bit warm, cut into 1-1/2 or 2-inch squares. Cool completely. Place on festive colored paper cups or wrap in colored Japanese paper.

Food for the gods


1 and 2Dried sultanas Pitted dates and walnuts are sold by gram in Shopwise supermarket. Cheaper than buying the branded and pre-packed variety.

3The flour prevents the sticky dates from clumping together, and to the knife, during chopping.

  • beth sanchez

    hi crisma!!

    wow,that’s really a lot cheaper than d dates at d mall. SM Fairview is a lot nearer kasi to me than chocolate lover since i reside here in novaliches,qc.and i make d goodies once in a while lang kaya i buy it there.

    but thanks for d tip,crisma!!!i’ll keep that in mind if ever i’ll be in that area.d chocolate lover branch at espana closed already.i used to send my eldest daughter there to buy baking ingredients for me coz she studies at UST and it’s on her way home after classes.

    thanks again.crisma!!!!

    • Luz

      Thanks Connie sa recipe,I tried to make 2 days ago and brought it to work as a christmas goodies to share with my co-workers ,you gave me an idea what to give this christmas ,first time to make it and it was a success.Merry Christmas & a Happy New year!

      • http://none Crisma

        Hi, Beth!

        I am just glad to have shared something I know–
        Happy new year!

        Connie…ayan na naman, you are really bringing people together. Parang when Nina and I got to know each other through your blog!

        We wish that you’ll have more happy sharings of your cooking and baking adventures and discoveries in 2009!

    • Connie

      Crisma, I’m also planning on going to Chocolate Lover. HAven’t been there in ages. Kaso, nagkasakit naman ako kaya nga walang new entries dito. :sad:

    • Olive

      hi connie! when you say stir and mix – do you use a hand mixer or those jelly-colored kitchen aid mixers? i’ve been bugging my hubby to get me one but they’re all saying it’s just hype so ok lang ba ung mga hand mixers?

      • Connie

        Olive, I normally use a wire whisk but I use a HAND MIXER 1) for beating eggwhites and 2) large amounts of batter. I MANUALLY mixed the Food for the Gods batter. An electric mixer is convenient but not totally essential.

        • Leah

          hi connie, i followed your recipe and it was a hit among our friends and relatives. thanks for sharing! :D

          • Connie

            Good to know, Leah. :)

        • Vanessa

          hello ms connie! i’ve been trying different food for the gods’ recipes pero hindi ko po ma-perfect. natikman ko po yung food for the gods ng St. Clement’s Kitchen & Mary Grace, pareho po silang may taste of milk & coconut. yung ibang recipes po ng food for the gods meron molasses & na try ko na din po yung ganun recipe which turned out a bit bitter. please help. thanks.

        • Connie

          Vanessa, there is no perfect recipe — there’s only the personal preference of every eater.

          • vanessa

            hello again..can i use prunes instead? kasi parang hindi po lumalasa yung dates ko..or meron po bang pwedeng idagdag para mangibabaw yung lasa ng dates? thx.

          • Connie

            Hindi naman dapat mangibabaw yung lasa ng dates. Everything should just blend together.

          • Airen

            what do you mean by dark brown sugar, is it the muscovado? pls reply…

          • Connie

            Airen, I have. You seem to be confused about the threaded commenting too.

        • Jay-r

          connie, have you tried adding a honey in the recipe?? it became moist and chewy…. becoz when i make this i put honey…

          • Jayel

            If i’ll use honey to your recipe, how much of it would it be? chewy but does the taste be different/less yummy?
            Thanks, Ms.Connie.

          • Connie Veneracion

            I wouldn’t know because I’ve never tried that. :)

  • suzette

    Hi Ms Connie,

    I’ve tried this recipe yesterday. Nasobrahan ko ung baking powder instead of tsp naging tbsp ung nagamit ko. Medyo naduling ata ako sa pagbabasa. Tsk tsk. It turned out medyo matigas ung side nya pero chewy. Wala akong oven, ginamit ko lang ung electric skillet tapos 180degC medyo mas matagal nga lang ung pagluluto.

    Panu ko po malalaman kapag ok na ung pag mix ko? I’ll try it again next month =)

    • Connie

      Suzette, the sides are always crusty but they shouldn’t be matigas. Try to reduce the baking time by five minutes or so.

  • http://none Crisma

    Hi, again Connie! Happy new year! Sorry ngayon lang ulit ako naging free to visit your blog… sobrang busy nitong holidays na ito kasi..
    Aaahh, sana when you do visit Chocolate Lover we can see each other there! ;)

    • Lynn

      Excellent!!! My grown kids love them. Next time I’ll reduce the recipe in half, ‘coz I know I’ll be saying, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”.

  • Airen

    I would like to know, what’s the difference between light brown sugar and dark brown sugar? is the dark brown sugar the one with almost a powdery texture? and whats with the packing? lightly and firmly packed?

    • Connie

      Light brown sugar is “washed” sugar. The one with powdery texture is muscovado.

      Firmly packed for sweeter results; loosely packed for less sweet results.

      • Airen

        what did you used for your food for the gods the reg brown sugar or the muscovado? i really like to try it, but i’m still confuse about the brown sugar.

        • Connie

          Regular dark brown sugar. If I use muscovado in a recipe, I specify it.

          • Airen

            Thanks so much for the info. your food for the gods looks really delicious! i can’t wait to try it…

          • Airen

            do you have a posted recipe for puto cheese?

          • Connie

            Yes, please use the search bar. :)

          • lori

            hi connie! I’m a newbie and I love food for the gods. I bake it today and the batter was so heavy. I wasn’t able to level off the batter when I transferred it to the pan. I hope it will come out good. Can you advice me on what I’m gonna do to make the batter easy to manuever when transferring to the pan. Thanks a lot for sharing your recipes.

          • Connie

            If the batter were less heavy, the result would be a cake.

            Hold the mixing bowl with one hand, tip over the baking pan and use a rubber scraper to transfer everything. Use the scraper to smooth out the batter too to make an even layer.

          • Lisa

            Thank you for posting this recipe Ms. Connie! I’ve been looking for the best FFTG recipe for a long long time. I just have a question. If I follow your recipe for pili butterscotch brownies (from which you derived your FFTG recipe) how much dates and how much walnuts should I put in?

          • Lisa

            Thank you for posting this recipe Ms. Connie! I”?ve been looking for the best FFTG recipe for a long long time. I just have a question. If I follow your recipe for pili butterscotch brownies (from which you derived your FFTG recipe) how much dates and how much walnuts should I put in?

          • Connie

            You’ll just be substituting the dates and walnuts for the raisins and macadamia nuts. So, same amounts.

          • Lisa

            Thanks for answering my question Ms. Connie! I can’t wait to start making the food for the gods.

          • Lisa

            Hi Ms. Connie,

            I finally made the food for the goods last Saturday and it was a resounding success! Thank you!

          • Casper

            Hi, I have not tried your recipe yet, however, in the recipe I was following, I noticed the recipe was just too sweet for me, it only called for 1 1/2 c sugar, I have been trying to adjust the sweetness, but everytime I lessen the sugar, the texture does not become as sweet. Any assistance in this matter? will it help if you emailed me with any advice. Thank you in advance for your attention towards this inquiry. Casper

          • Connie

            You say: “I have not tried your recipe yet, however, in the recipe I was following...”

            You should really ask the person who wrote the recipe you’re using.

          • bk_baker

            hi ms. connie! tanong ko lang, can i use macadamias rather than walnuts? will the taste or texture change? i like walnuts pero macadamias are my favorite. so, pwede kaya? and one more thing, pero not about this recipe. when the recipe says “grease and flour” can i just line the pan with baking paper na lang? you know, less mess…hehe thanks!

          • Connie

            The texture will be different, of course, because macadamia nuts are softer and oiler. Doesn’t mean the result won’t be good though.

          • Quailer

            Hey Connie, Been following your web/recipe sights for some time. My wife is the Philipina I’m the cook. I have about 10 cookbooks and I always make her favorites. My wife sez she can cook, just does’nt like too Yeah right. I’m going to make fftgs and ambrosia for thanksgiving at a cousins home here in norhtern virginia. My question will you ever have a conversion tab for the recipes? I’m terrible with metrics. Be Happy.

          • Connie

            I’m terrible with measurements too. In fact, I sometimes use both systems at the same time. :-P

          • Magnolia

            hello po.. i want to try this recipe but i don’t have an oven i only have a turbo broiler. Have u tried baking in turbo broiler? Is it ok the batter to be rested in awhile, while the half of it is baking?

          • Connie

            “Have u tried baking in turbo broiler?”

            Yes. For meat, it’s ok, but for cakes and cookies, the lack of preheating can be problematic sometimes.

            “Is it ok the batter to be rested in awhile, while the half of it is baking?”

            No, the baking powder will lose its potency.

          • sahsah

            hi ms conie, wer i can buy non sticky baking paper . . tnx . .

          • Connie

            I’m sorry but I don’t understand what “wer” is and I don’t know what “non sticky baking paper” is.

          • Jean

            Hi Connie, how will I make my FFTG crunchy at the outside and moist inside. I just started baking this month and am not familiar with the effects of each ingredient, time and temperature to the result. My baked FFTG has a cakery texture and was dry. How am I going to change this. Was the cakery texture/dryness a result of overbaking? too much flour? Overmixing? Please help. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

          • Connie

            My goodness, I don’t even know what recipe you’ve been using so how can I make a guess about all that?

          • Cheryll

            Hi Connie!
            Thanks for creating your blog, it’s something that I visit regularly when I’m thinking of cooking something new for my family. It’s very helpful kasi your ingredients are stuff that I can easily find :)

            Anyway, I’d just like to ask…what if I don’t have the same pan size as what you specified? Say, I have an 8×8 square pan. Do I need to change my baking settings?

            Thanks in advance! :)

          • Connie

            You might have to. :)

  • imelda alejandrino

    Is that a typo:
    5 c. (cups) of brown sugar?


    • Connie


      • kc m.

        Hi connie! :) i have been following your fod blog for a couple of years now. :) i Love your Pasta a la Puttanesca,i made it last Media Noche. :D

        today’s the first time I tried baking& I chose to bake your Food for the gods.i didn’t mix it by hand.i used a hand mixer. and i’m not quite sure why it tastes bitter. it didn’t get burned. is there a difference if I used Salted butter & Unsalted butter? i sure would love to make it again soon.. My mom+ sisters aren’t here yet.. hope they’d love it..
        Have a good day! God bless!!!

        • Connie

          Yes, the salt is the difference. Using salted butter means you get more salt in your baked product and the taste will naturally be different.

  • vim

    hi just want to ask if i can use raisins or prunes in case i can’t find any dates?

    • Connie Veneracion

      You know, you can substitute anything you like — but I CANNOT guarantee that the result will be good. :)

      • chiltell

        I tried baking foods for the gods using the recipe in panlasang pinoy, but my problem is my oven doesnt have label of farenhiet or centigrade. so the result is matigas sa tabi at crispy sa ibabaw. do you know anybody who can teach me personally,doing the right thing. help me pls.

        • Connie Veneracion

          What unit of measurement does your oven have?

        • natzsm

          A delicious recipe indeed! (I loved licking the batter)

          I made a trial batch today. (intended for Christmas gifts to neighbors and close friends)

          I made only 1/2 of the recipe placing the batter in two 6″ X 6″ pans. I have some 6.5″ X 6.5″ X 1.5 inch boxes left over from a previous Christmas project and wanted to be able to use them and I am usually not good in slicing cakes, brownies and the like so I plan to just slip the whole thing into the box lined with parchment paper or a doily.

          Wow, this recipe surely makes a lot of batter and they still do rise. The half recipe could actually make three or maybe even four thinner 6″ X 6″ pans because the ones I made rose pretty high above what my box could accommodate!

          Great yield… love this recipe! (A full recipe would be good for 6 – 8 people!)

          Many thanks Ms.Connie!

  • Kristine

    Ms. Connie, regarding 5 cups of Dark Brown sugar, would it equivalent to 1 kilo if lightly packed? Yung naka pack na when you buy sa grocery. Thanks!

    • Connie Veneracion

      Try measuring the 1 k. of sugar to find out. :)

      • Kristine

        When you say lightly packed, do you spoon the sugar to fill 1 cup? Thanks again.

  • alma antones

    how po?do i need to preheat also,when i am baking in turbo convection oven?thamks! :-)

  • Connie Veneracion

    That’s been asked and answered in the thread, Alma. :)

  • misao

    hi ms. connie,

    i’ve been making food for the gods for 3 yrs using ms. dorothy ferreria’s recipe published in food magazine a few years back. my family and friends love it. it’s moist, chewy and sweet, but not cloyingly. i’ll give your recipe a try next week, in time for my younger cousins party.

  • iska

    Hi Connie,
    I’m a baking newbie and will definitely try your recipe some time. :-)

  • Connie

    Hope you like it, Misao.

    Iska, a year ago I was a baking newbie but with guts pala, baking isn’t so intimidating. :)

  • Jude

    My mom always made huge batches of this. So good and always disappears quick from the table. Thanks for the recipe!

  • leng

    hi connie! could i use dates or raisins instead of sultanas?


  • leng

    hi connie! thanks for that! finally saw that i have been keeping prunes in my cupboard hehehe!

    will try this soon!

  • Connie

    I actually used pitted dates. I corrected the entry already. I used raisins before — prunes would be better. Raisins aren’t chewy enough.

  • emy medina

    hi,connie…i remember baking the food for the gods
    following your recipe last year and sharing some with my co-workers…then i entered it at our annual christmas cookies contest at the hospital where i work…i didn’t win ‘coz i overbaked was dry…my friends declared me a winner ‘coz of my guts and spirit in joining the contest…
    i will definetely try this new recipe this week-end
    thanks again!!!….maybe entering the contest again?

  • Connie

    Oh, you go, Emy! And I hope you win this time. Good luck!

  • beth sanchez

    hi connie!!.i got my recipe for food for d gods at a few years back and have been using that recipe since.but instead of using vanilla essence,i would use rhum extract or imitation rhum extract by McCormick and d finished product turned out really well.unfortunately,can’t find rhum extract anymore at all SM baking item shelves.oh,about d dates,i buy them from SM, Php30/ their preserved fruits/candies stall just in front of
    d supermarket,in case your readers want to know.

    will try this recipe version of yours next week.

    thanks again,connie….happy holidays!!!

  • http://none Crisma

    Hi again, Connie! Happy Holidays! Will definitely try this one… I’ve been absent from this forum kasi marami pa ring baking na inaasikaso— in fact hanggang January 6 and 7, 2009 na nga yung iba eh ;)
    That is why probably next year ko na ma-tra-try ito…

    And to Beth— P30/100 for dates is expensive. The one I have on hand costs P160/kg… and I got it from Chocolate Lover at P Tuazon, QC.

    Thanks again and to everyone, a very merry Christmas!

  • http://none Crisma

    hehe— sorry… that should have read ” P30/ 100 grams”

  • heide

    hey misao!could u send me the recipe of food for the gods by ms. dorothy ferreria…i lost my copy of the food magazine and i want to bake for my father’s birthday…thanks!

  • alma antones

    can i bake food for the gods in turbo convection oven??