Thursday, December 17, 2009

Food For the gods

I found it! I finally found it! Most of you have no idea what I am talking about, but my mother knows. Let me explain. I have a neighbor that always brings us a goody bag at Christmas. This neighbor is a fabulous cook! Most of the things she makes are traditional southern Christmas staples. There are always sausage balls, chex mix, chocolate chip cookies, a few brownies, but then there is this little bag of square shaped cookies that are covered with powdered sugar. I decided last year after Christmas, that I was going to figure out what the recipe was to that little square. The problem was that the flavor was so mild, it was hard to determine exactly what I was dealing with in regards to ingredients. At first it seemed there was chocolate, but then after several recipes, I realized, that just wasn't it. So then it dawned on me that it was dates. But, I didn't think I liked dates. Well, apparently I do. Then, I could not figure out how the lady next door was getting these cookies square. All my cookies turn out round. Well, hmmm, how else would you get a square cookie. Hello?!?! Yes, thats right, you cut them into little squares. Can you tell the effect the children have had on my reasoning skills?
To make a long story short, I was browsing through a recipe site this morning and I happened upon this recipe for something called "Food For the gods." Well, what a fitting name. I could not believe that there before my very eyes were these stupid square confections that I had been trying to make for nearly an entire year. Oh, I know I could have called the lady next door. I know I could have saved myself countless trial cookies and an entire year worth of thinking about it. But...I'm stubborn like that. Stubborn...Obsessive-compulsive...Anti-social...whatever you want to call it. But in the end, I found it! And after I found it, I made it, and then I devoured it!!
These little treats are a very dense almost cake-like square. They are very rich and dotted with nuts and dates. If you think you don't like dates, give these a try anyways. You might be pleasantly suprised!

Food For the gods
8 ounce box, Chopped Pitted Dates, chopped coarsely through after unpackaging
½ teaspoons Salt
¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Vanilla
4 whole Eggs At Room Temperature
¾ cups Packed Brown Sugar
¾ cups White Sugar
1-½ cup Butter
1 cup Pecans, Chopped
Preparation Instructions
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Melt the butter and let it cool. Take 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and brush your pan (one 9×13 pan or two 8×8 pans), making sure to grease the sides as well. I lined my pan with foil and then buttered the foil. Makes for easier clean up!
3. Coarsely chop the dates, and pecans. Set them aside in a bowl.
4. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into a bowl. Set aside.
5. Mix butter and sugar until well incorporated.
6. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
7. Add in the vanilla.
8. Reserve ¼ cup of the flour mixture. Dredge the date and nut mixture with the reserved flour. Use more of the flour mixture if needed.
9. Mix in the rest of the flour mixture with the wet ingredients. Do this gently, by hand, until just incorporated.
10. Fold in dredged dates and nuts with the batter.
10. Pour the batter (it will be very thick) onto the buttered pan(s).
11. Bake for 30 or more minutes, until light golden brown. It can take 40-60 minutes sometimes to cook, so keep checking. The bars are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.
12. Let cool, and cut into small squares or cubes.This is what the squares look like before rolling in sugar:

After burning your mouth on the hot squares, because you didn't let them cool properly,roll in powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container.
And, if you give these as gifts, include the recipe so people can make them whenever they have a craving. You very well could save them a whole years worth of frustration :)


tsmith said...

there's way too many ingredients on that list, and too many instructions. If it there's more than three ingredients -- I'll pass!!! My abode doesn't carry the kitchen staples like some!!! With that said, I think that i'll just drop by sometime today and try one of these square confections. And yes, I did wonder why you just didn't call your neighbor? Love you.

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

Oh...I know you well enough to know that you would not have called either! Stop by soon before I eat them all!

Jessica said...

I think we all have a relative or family friend who make unidentifiable Christmas treats we look forward to! I could swear these are very similar to ones my grandma used to make (minus the dates but I love dates) Well, one morerecipe to try now! Thanks!