This is the recipe I used for my version of Food for the Gods that was put on the same plate and post with 3 other commercially purchased versions the other day. The recipe is from Maida Heatterâ€™s Book of Great Desserts, a must have tome for any decent cookbook library, along with her other cookie and dessert books. A non-chef, she is a self-taught, obsessive compulsive, anal-retentive baker in her golden yearsâ€¦ Almost everything I have baked from her books has come out pretty good, and the practical tips she gives are pricelessâ€¦like chilling your chocolate chip dough for at least an hour, forming the cookie with hands first dipped in ice cold water before popping them into the ovenâ€¦it results in a markedly different cookie than if you didnâ€™t do these things. Warning to all those FFTGs loversâ€¦ if your frame of reference is the soft airy namby pamby locally prevalent version, this recipe is NOT for you. This recipe results in a dense, heavy, weighty, fruity and nutty BAR and not a cakey confection. You were forewarned.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a 9 x 9 inch pan with aluminum foil that you press gently against the sides to remove and air pockets (the original recipe calls for a 9 x 13 pan but I find the bars come out too thin). Brush the aluminum foil with melted butter. In a bowl, sift together 1 cup all purpose flour, Â¼ teaspoon baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. In a mixer bowl, beat Â½ cup (though I added 3 tablespoons more) melted butter and 1 cup granulated sugar until mixed. Add 2 large eggs and beat until incorporated, say a minute or so. Add the dry ingredients and mix only until incorporated, do not overmix. Add 2 cups pitted and coarsely chopped dates and 2 cups chopped walnuts and mix this by hand with a wooden spoon. Spread this thick sludge into the foil lined pan carefully and evenly. Bake for say 30+ minutes until a light golden brown. Donâ€™t overdo it, as it can dry out. Take out and cool on a cookie rack. Cut into desired size of squares. Also, if you are starting with very dry dates, you might want to soak them in a little warm water for 30 minutes beforehand to moisten them up a bit. Even better, use some brandy and have alcoholic fruit and nut barsâ€¦ Ms. Heatter suggests that once the cookies are cool you sprinkle them with sifted powdered confectioners sugarâ€¦I think that is a bit over the topâ€¦the bars by themselves are delicious, nutty, fruity and not overly sweet.