#32: A Chew By Any Other Name…

#32: A Chew By Any Other Name…

‘Tis the season for holiday baking, and if you’re like me, despite your occasional flirtations with new recipes, you have your signature goodies that you make year after year. Maybe your mom always made them when you were growing up, and just the thought of them conjures up warm memories of family and Christmases past.

So it is with me and the recipe I’m about to share with you. My mom has made these during the holiday season for as long as I can remember, often at my dad’s request. I’ve already whipped up a few batches this year myself, and would probably make another if I had not cut myself off from any further intake of sugar for the remainder of the year.

The treats are called Chinese Chews, although you may know them by a different name. There is nothing even remotely Chinese about them, a point which seems to make the name somewhat culturally insensitive. I imagine they got their name in an attempt at alliteration, but if that’s the case, I’m not sure why China won out over Chile or Chad or even Czech. As a matter of fact, I may just start calling them Czech Chews. Or maybe even Czechoslovakian Chews, as a throwback to earlier times. It could grow into folklore about keeping the Christmas spirit alive despite the weight of communism.

Oh wait, that really just brings us right back to China, doesn’t it? Interesting.

Well, regardless of the origin of the name, I can assure you that once you dump the sugar into the bowl, you will quickly forgive any misnomer. In my opinion, nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a recipe calling for an entire cup of sugar!

Once out of the oven, you’ll want to work quickly making the chews. I find that breaking it all up with a spoon or fork in the pan helps it to cool just enough to handle, and wetting your hands slightly will keep the hot gooeyness from sticking and burning your hands.

(Be thou not afraid! Any reject chews will simply have to be “taken care of” however you choose to do so.) :-)

Chinese Chews

¾ c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 c. pecans (finely chopped)
1 c. chopped dates

Mix all ingredients together and pour into greased 9×13 baking dish. Bake at 350 until nicely browned. Remove and let cool just until cool enough to handle. (You’ll want it warm to pick up the sugar!) Roll into small balls and then roll in granulated sugar until covered. Makes about 3 dozen.

*Note:  You may use powdered sugar to cover the chews, but we’ve always used granulated.






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