Chinese ChewsI used to wonder how this delectable treat – that so many of us have come to associate with Christmastime at Thistle Ha’ – got its name. Then I recalled a bus trip, back in the 1970′s, with some fellow U. of T. students who were from Hong Kong. They were happily gobbling some treats sent to them by relatives and offered me one of the balls to try. I remember being surprised by how intensely salty they were even though they seemed to be made of candied fruit. I now suspect that Chinese Chews are a North American version of these balls, rolled in sugar instead of salt.

Chinese Chews
Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen balls.

  • 1/4 cup pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of fine granulated sugar
  • 3 T. melted butter or shortening
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 2/3 cup of chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied pineapple and cherries
  • 3 to 5 T. finely chopped candied or preserved ginger

Beat the eggs until light. Gradually add the sugar and beat thoroughly. Add the butter, melted and cooled. Add fruit and nuts, combine thoroughly. Beat in the dry ingredients. Bake in an 8 inch square pan at 350°F. for 40 minutes. Cut while still warm into small squares and roll into tight balls. Roll the balls in fine sugar to coat them.