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Our family has made them traditionally for Christmas since 1959!
My mom made the Chinese Chews that were rolled in the sugar when I was a kid. She made dozens of different cookies and would give trays of cookies to friends and neighbors. These were always one of the biggest hits!
I have been making these since I was about 8 or 9 for every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I used the recipe out of our local Panama City “Bay Leaves” cookbook published in 1975.
The website for Hawthorne Inn in Concord, Mass says they are 100% Slavic. I have no idea, I’ve never heard of them before but are dying to try them!
I have made Chinese Chews for about 40 years so it’s nice to see others who enjoy them and when the recipe originated. In my family they were made by my great Aunt Agnes and always at Christmas when I was growing up. I just finished making them to share with my family as I’ve done all these years. My recipe is the same as yours Elise. They are so yummy!
I made mine with almonds instead of walnuts and coconut sugar instead of white sugar … I also added a 1/2 cup I shredded coconut … They are delish!
I’m so glad you like them Sarah!
Hi , my mum has this recipe going back to the 40’s. The difference is that her recipe has her coating the warm uncut slice with lemon icing before cooling and cutting into pieces. Yum oh.
From my mother’s 80-something friend, causing me to figure out what in heavens Chinese Chews might be! Funny thing is, my mother didn’t think of her as much of a cook. :-) Maybe that’s how this tale came to be? “When my son was in Afghanistan, I sent his buds a pan of ‘Chinese Chews’ which my Mum had made in a pan — cut in bars, rolled in sugar — because the dates in it would keep the panful moist while en route. Guess what. I forgot to put in the sugar. The buddies had to roll the bars in extra sugar, but the effusive thanks were the same as for rum balls and everything else.” Anyway happy to know what Chinese Chews are!
I started making this recipe to find that I was unprepared–no baking powder! I opted for a substitution I found using 1/4 t baking soda and 3/8c molasses. I lowered the sugar to about 2 tbs. After all that, it left me with more of a date-walnut bread, which is good, but I’ll be stocked up on baking powder next time!
I have been making these for years at Christmas my son always asked me as a small boy to make these. He is now 32. I roll them into little balls and they always seem to be eaten first.
I used this recipe years ago and love it. At Christmas time I added a few red and green cherries. Yum !!!!!!!!!!
I’ve made this exact cookie for at least 45 years. This a family favorite and I always have dates on hand. I sometimes use pecans instead of walnuts and I roll the bars in powder sugar instead of sprinkling.
I made this yesterday with a slight variation… I added 1/2 cup sultanas and 1/2 cup desiccated coconut and vanilla and kept the rest of the ingredients. I have made this with the addition of 2 eggs before, but prefer the outcome with the 3 eggs. They came out super.
Have been away for a couple of weeks and just found this post. This sounds DIVINE… My Mama (& I) LOVED dates. She made a similar “rolled cookie” with pecans & dates for which I still salivate when I think about them. I guess this recipe will use up a box/carton of the dates that have been living in my pantry…LOL.
In addition, she made a Date Roll candy (with dates and pecans) at Christmas and a very dark, heavy, and wonderful date cake. If anyone knows of these recipes, I’d love to have either or both as most of her wonderful old recipe cards were destroyed in Katrina’s flood waters.
Thanks to Elise and all her fellow contributors for the wonderful recipes provided here. Marco thanks you too, as he gets to eat them all!!! Julie
I made these for dessert yesterday. Since my wife doesn’t like walnuts I substituted 1/2 c of pecans and 1/2 c of pistachios and it came out great.
Served with vanilla ice cream this made a very nice way to wrap up our Mother’s Day dinner.
My Mom made this recipe when I was a child. I looked up her recipe and it is almost identical. She cut the squares while warn and rolled them into loose ball shape then dusted with the sugar.
I’m going to make some now!!!
I really don’t like dates, could I just remove them completely? Or should I sub something else? How about something completely different like chocolate? I’ve never made (or heard of) these, so I have no way of knowing how this would effect the final product. Any suggestions?
Hi Katreena, there are lots of suggestions in the comments for substitutions. If you try using chocolate, please let us know how it turns out!
Did these yesterday and replaced the flour with a gluten free flour mix. They turned out great although I couldnt get them to spread enough for a 9 x 12 dish… not sure if that is because of the gluten free mix. 9×9 would be perfect.
I love such simple and easy to follow recipes. Never heard about these chews before. Maybe we have a similar recipe for those in Austria as well. I’ll check. I made these today, but followed the recipe of barb polo. Just adding 2 eggs directly to the dry ingredients. Very yummy!!!!!! Thanks and I really love your Website and your easy and delicious recipes. They are always pure and simple, that ‘s what I really love.
I made these for a treat over the weekend. We couldn’t stop eating them. Amazing! So easy to make too. This will be one of my go to dessert recipes.