By: Jennifer Bain Food, Published on Tue Dec 02 2014
THE COOKIE: Filipino desserts are mostly cakes, sweets and pastries, so we loosened the definition of “cookie” when picking these date-walnut squares from FV Foods. Food for the Gods was historically eaten by the rich, but “now everybody can afford it,” says company president/CEO Mel Galeon. He only sells it in November and December as a Christmas treat.
THE BAKERY: FV Foods bills itself as a Filipino bakery with Asian cuisine. That’s because this five-branch chain is a grocery and bakery with a hot food takeout counter. Galeon has been building the company since 2000. The baked goods are made at FV’s Warden Ave. plant/head office. They’re also shipped to more than 80 retail stores, mainly Chinese supermarkets.
Don’t miss the yema candies, wrapped in colourful cellophone. They’re made by cooking condensed milk into a thick caramel and then mixing it with macapuno (syrup-packed coconut strings), cashews or grated cheddar, wrapping it in bite-sized pieces and letting it harden. Yema used to be a Christmas treat, but “now every day is a fiesta,” says Galeon.
THE TRICK: The bakery sells six small squares of Food for the Gods for $3.50. In other words, this is a rich treat so act accordingly when faced with a whole batch and share.
FV Foods, 2085 Lawrence Ave. E. (east of Warden Ave.), Scarborough (plus four more retail locations in Toronto and Mississauga), fvfoods.com.
FV Food for the Gods
1 lb (450 g) salted butter (2 cups/500 mL), melted, cooled
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 mL) light brown sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) each: baking soda, baking powder
2 cups (500 mL) unsalted walnuts, coarsely ground
2 cups (500 mL) dates, pitted, ground in food processor
In large bowl, stir together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Stir in eggs, one at a time.
In separate large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder. Stir in walnuts and dates. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix well with wooden spoon.
Pour into greased 9-inch by 13-inch (23-cm by 33-cm) baking dish.
Bake in preheated 325F (160C) oven until tester comes out with moist crumbs, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool slightly. Cut into small squares, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) by 1-1/2 inches (4 cm).
Makes about 78 pieces.
Star-tested by Jennifer Bain