Friday, 5 September 2014

Reader Recipe: Humdingers

It’s time for our second recipe in Caker Cooking's month-long Reader Recipe Extravaganza!

Today’s recipe comes from Bibi. She lives in Nepal, which I think is in northern Alberta. Bibi sent me the recipe for Humdingers (not to be confused with Dingle Hoofers) from a Louisiana church cookbook. I’d never heard of Humdingers before, but, like any caker, I’m always on the hunt for new ball-shaped foods.

These call for dates and if I'm going to be honest, I have mixed feelings about dates. On the one hand, they’re sweet. But on the other, they’re nutritious. So you can imagine my conundrum. In any case, Bibi’s Humdingers had my dinger humming. They were scrumptious! Even The Reluctant Eye-talian (that’s his nickname whenever I ask him to taste test something) gave them the thumbs up. The dates take on a caramel taste and once you toss in the Rice Krispies and nuts, well, you’ve got a little ball of paradise.

In fact, The Reluctant Eye-talian even had a suggestion. (This doesn't happen often.) “Why not roll them into logs?” he asked. “Then you can call it a Humdinger Finger.”

Back off, Martha Stewartson. He’s all mine.

Come back Monday for our next reader recipe. Thanks, Bibi!

1 stick butter
¾ cup sugar
8 oz chopped dates
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups Rice Krispies
1 cup chopped nuts
powdered sugar

Melt butter and sugar over low heat. Add dates and cook over low heat until dates are melted (around 5 to 7 minutes). Remove from heat & add vanilla, Rice Krispies and nuts. Roll into small balls, then in powdered sugar.

Bibi’s notes:
I just heat and mix the sugar, dates, butter and vanilla over low heat until they become a caramelized goo using a WOODEN SPOON (see note 1). Then I pour the goo over the Rice Krispies and nuts and mix well. Allow mixture to cool for about 15-20 minutes before forming into balls or you'll burn your tootsies. I use a tablespoon to measure out the mixture for some uniformity in the “balls” (see note 2). To make the recipe more "familiar" in flavour for my Indian family, I add in the seeds of 10 green cardamoms (see note 3) and roll the balls in coconut flakes instead of powdered sugar.

Note 2: Never underestimate the importance of uniform balls.
Note 3: That’s green CARDAMOMS, not green CARNATIONS. Carnation seeds don't taste good. I’m speaking from experience.

Source: Caker Bibi via Recipes from the Little Church on the Bayou, Cheneyville Trinity Church Cookbook


  1. I'm with you on the date thing; yeah, they're sweet but I always feel cheated when what I think is chocolate turns out to be dates. Or worse, raisins. STOP TRYING TO SNEAK RAISINS INTO MY FOOD, MOM.
    Seriously. Nobody needs that much iron.
    I believe this is the first time we've had input from the R E-t. We will need more of this from now on.

    1. Raisins are the WORST. I don't think you should ever eat the dried-out version of anything.
      I'll try to get more input from the Eye-talian, but most of the time, his input is, "Good luck eating all of that because I'm not touching it."

  2. I can honestly say that in almost 2 years of reading this blog, this is the first thing I've ever thought 'Hmmm - I might make that'. (Mushroom Fluff notwithstanding - regular Friday night tea in our house). That means I'm not a caker right?

    1. That makes you a reluctant caker. These taste better than you think they will. Promise.
      Don't ever say Mushroom Fluff again. The memories are too painful.

  3. Dates were the only sweets we were allowed (and my mother rationed them, you know, so we wouldn't get fat or something) so I do get excited at the thought of turning them into proper candy. I might skip the nuts (or substitute some crushed pretzels) and make these for the holidays. It sounds less fiddly than piping sweetened cream cheese (or spray cheese) into them for a party platter.

    1. It's a fact: dates are nature's candy. If only they came coated in chocolate.
      I think pretzels in these would be pretty good. Better than spray cheese, anyway.

    2. For those of you who suffer nut allergies or just don't like nuts-
      I actually skip the nuts altogether most of the time (depending on the season & when the next delivery by yak arrives - nuts can be quite expensive in Nepal) & just add an extra cup of Rice Krispies. They're just as yummy if not more so because the caramel formed by the dates, butter, & sugar with the crunch of the Rice Krispies are what these Humdingers are all about.
      Nepal is just a tad east of Alberta then make a sharp left south when you hit the plateau of Tibet. You can't miss it, it's like in the highest mountain range in the world so it sticks out a bit. Anyhoooo......thanks for featuring my recipe! Dhanyabad (that means 'thank you' in Nepali).

    3. Thanks for the suggestion, Bibi. Any time I can cram more Rice Krispies into something, the better. Next time I'm in eastern Alberta, I'll keep an eye out for the mountains and come visit. Warning: I may arrive on a yak. And dhanyabad for the recipe!

  4. I was deprived of dates as a child, so now I'm absolutely addicted to them. They never last long enough around here for ballification.

    1. Sounds like you're dealing with a condition called "date dependency." It's nothing to be ashamed of. But if it continues to get in the way of your ballifcation, you might want to see someone about it.

  5. Hi Brian

    Didn't have Rice Crispies so made these with Corn Flakes. And skipped the nuts as that would have killed hubby.
    He loves dates and also meatballs and since these look identical, well what can I say.
    Big hit!

    1. I'm happy you and the hubby liked these. And killing him would've been bad, so I'm happier to hear you skipped the nuts.

  6. Do you by any chance know the calorie content of these. My husband is from Kentucky and I am from North Carolina, and I had never heard of a Humdinger until I got married. His granny would make these every Christmas and send to us. His granny isn't doing well health wise so I was happy to find this recipe. Thank you for posting.

    1. You're very welcome, but don't thank me. Thank Bibi! She was the one who submitted the recipe.
      I have no idea what the calorie count is, but let's say this: provided you eat the entire Humdinger, there are no calories.