Showing posts with label balls. Show all posts
Showing posts with label balls. Show all posts

Jun 26, 2017

Chinese Chews

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

Chinese Chews are a delicious combination of walnuts and dates. These chewy date cookies are baked in a pan, cut like bars, and then rolled in granulated sugar to give them a unique knobby shape. A nostalgic recipe that's easy to make and perfect for holiday platters, snacks, or packed lunches.

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

This classic recipe first appeared in the American homemakers' magazine Good Housekeeping in 1917. I had an aunt that made these every year for Christmas and have seen the recipe in many vintage cookbooks. No one is certain why this recipe is deemed Chinese. None of the ingredients nor the techniques involved are Chinese in any way. My guess is that this recipe was part of the 1920's fad for all things Chinese. From mahjong to Anna May Wong, anything Chinese was the bee's knees in the 20's. Dates were revered as Oriental and therefore exotic in the 20's. Commercial date farms in the American Southwest were just beginning to market their produce in the US in the early 20's too. I've seen several pamphlets filled with date recipes published in the 1920's. I'll bet some date farmer's association sponsored a contest for a recipe containing dates. Rather than call these date squares or date slice why not roll them into balls and call them Chinese Chews? Swell! Wouldn't that be the cat's pajamas to serve at your next mahjong party?
1920's "Plum Blossom"chalkware bust by American artist Esther Hunt made into lamp with fanciful Napoleon shade
Probably not PC by today's standards but 'on trend' in the 20's
Anyhow, this is a great recipe for Ramadan or Eid! I think dates fell out of fashion in the US due to their exorbitant cost. And the quality of dates you get in the US really isn't great either. I didn't really care much for dates until I tried the ones from Iran, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Dates from the Middle East are more caramel in flavor than ones from other regions. This recipe showcases their rich flavor beautifully in an eggy batter which bakes up crisp and chewy. The walnuts also mellow and improve when baked in this tasty treat. I prefer to use brown sugar in this recipe as I like the dark color and deeper flavor it lends. Anyway you choose to make them this old fashioned treat is sure to please!

Ingredients:
1C dates, chopped
1C walnuts, chopped
1C sugar (I prefer brown sugar)
3/4C flour
1tsp baking-powder
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
1/4 tsp salt

Here's what do:
Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

1) Preheat oven to 325F/165C. Grease and flour a 9 inch by 13 inch pan.  In a medium sized mixing bowl beat together sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and salt until smooth.


2) Add flour to mixture and stir until smooth. Fold in dates and walnuts.

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

3) Pour mixture into greased and floured pan and spread with back of spoon or spatula.  (Batter will just barely cover the bottom of the pan.)

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

4) Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

5) Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Slice into small squares or scoop and roll into balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar.  Keeps well for up to 3 weeks at room temperature in airtight container.

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

Chinese Chews, bake, balls, chinese, chinese chews, cookies, dates, easy, Recipe, vegetarian, vintage, walnuts,

Helpful Hints:
I've also seen these served simply sliced into small squares and dusted with powdered sugar. If you choose to serve your Chinese Chews this way be sure to place them in paper candy cups as they're very sticky.


On Eid al-Fitr may Allah's blessings and love be showered upon you!

Bibi

Jun 10, 2016

Date and Crispy Rice Laddoos

dates puffed rice cereal sweet dessert ramadan easy laddoo balls recipe

"Laddoos" or "laddus" are ball shaped sweets popular in South Asia. Easy, eggless, and no bake these laddoos are a quick and delicious treat to make! Dates are simmered into a rich caramel then combined with crunchy puffed rice for a delicately crisp and divinely sweet indulgence. Perfect for Ramadan or any other holiday featuring lots of decadent goodies.


Here I've taken an old fashioned American recipe and "Desi-fied" it a little with cardamom and ghee. Variously called "humdingers" or simply "date balls" these tasty treats graced many a Thanksgiving and Christmas platter in my home when I was growing up in the US. For some reason we Americans love breakfast cereal in our sweets. Dates and rice are familiar favorites to the Desi palate so these are sure to please all around. 


Truly a crowd pleaser, this recipe was originally from my 1970's 4H cookbook. However, I've been making this for so long I know it by heart. From what I understand this recipe has been around with minor variations since the 1920's in the US. In the US you can buy 8oz bags of pitted dates that measure to about a cup which is what this recipe was written for. Pitted dates are not available in South Asia so I'd recommend using "wet pack" dates as shown in the above photo. They are fairly inexpensive and are very good quality for use in baking and cooking. I do have to pit them myself which is a bit of a sticky chore. The bag you see in the photo is the standard 500g package available here which yields about 2 cups of chopped and pitted dates. When using the 500g bag as shown in the photo I simply double the ingredients in the recipe below. If you wish to make these vegan just substitute coconut oil or a good quality vegetable margarine for the butter or ghee. These are so yummy and in less than an hour you can easily whip up about 48 to 50 laddoos for any special occasion or just an after school treat!

Ingredients:
1/2 C butter, ghee, or coconut oil
3/4 C sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
7 - 10 green cardamoms/elaichi, seeds removed & coarsely ground (optional)
1 C dates, chopped & pitted
3 C rice crispy cereal
1 C desiccated coconut or 1/2 C powdered sugar

Here's what to do:
1) In a large heat safe mixing bowl measure out rice crispy cereal.


2) In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine sugar, dates, salt, vanilla, cardamom, and butter or ghee.


3) Over medium heat bring to simmer while stirring constantly. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes,  keep stirring constantly so the mixture does not scorch.


4) Remove cooked date mixture from heat, immediately pour over pre measured rice crispy cereal in heat proof bowl. Mix well with wooden or silicone spoon. Allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.

5) When mixture has cooled roll by tablespoonful into walnut sized balls. I use a tablespoon sized cookie scoop to get uniform amounts.


5) Roll the balls in desiccated coconut or powdered sugar as desired. A round cake tin or shallow bowl works well for this. Keeps well in a sealed airtight for up to two weeks. (But they only last about two days around our house because everyone eats them.)

Helpful hints:
If you wish to make these vegan just substitute coconut oil or a good quality vegetable margarine for the butter or ghee.

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