Marshall Field’s Chinese Chews

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I would never have thought to put dates with chocolate. But wow! So good! The result, as exemplified in this 1947 cookie recipe from the much-missed Marshall Field’s department store kitchens, is way better than any of you date-doubters out there might expect. Requested by reader Ellen G., this is really a never-goes-dry, wonderfully chewy brownie recipe, with dates tucked in. During baking, the dates sort of “disappear,” magically melting into the brownies. Nuggets of nuts add texture. While the pan’s still warm, cut the brownies into small bars, shape these into little balls and roll in powdered sugar. (You could leave them as bars, if you wish.) My boys—date-haters all—had no idea these sweets had dates in them, asking me to make more.

Makes 3 dozen cookies


  • 2 lbs 8 oz brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 ½ cups butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 lb 12 oz dates (one large tub) cut in small pieces
  • 6 oz pecans, cut in ½ inch pieces
  • 1 ¾ cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ lb powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs. Add sugar to eggs and beat for five minutes.
  2. Partially melt chocolate in microwave at 50% power. Add butter to chocolate and finish melting all.
  3. Add honey and vanilla to butter/chocolate mixture and combine well. While still warm, fold this mixture into sugar/egg mixture. Add dates and nuts and fold until well incorporated. Slowly mix in flour, a little at a time.
  4. Grease two cookie sheets well. Spread batter into pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  5. Cut into 1 ½ x ½ inch bars. (Or, scoop out walnut-sized chunks of brownie and shape into balls) Roll in powdered sugar.

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