Chinese Chews

This Chinese Chews traybake is another very simple, easy-to-bake traybake. The addition of nuts and dates provides crunch and chewiness. There is a hint of almond extract and that’s about it, really. Like I said, a nice straightforward recipe.

My recipe books call this traybake ‘Chinese Chews’ but I’m rather stumped by this as I can’t see what exactly makes them Chinese. It must be some reflection of the time the recipe was created and the use of nuts and dates. Perhaps. If you know any more on this, please let me know in the comments.

The recipe simply states ‘nuts’ as one of the ingredients, leaving you free to choose your favorite. I had hazelnuts, so I used hazelnuts. Walnuts or pecans or cashews would work equally well here, I think. And with the almond extract in the recipe, you could even use almonds.

Now, while this was in the oven, I started to question the recipe as it only states the use of ‘flour’. Not plain flour, not self-raising flour, just flour. So, I was worried these would end up a little on a heavy side without any raising agent. Luckily they didn’t. Perhaps the addition of some baking powder would have transformed them from just tasty to fabulously tasty. We shall never know, unless I bake this again sometime. If I do, I’ll let you know.

These were still a little warm when I cut them up and my husband descended on them like a vulture and declared them to be the best bake yet. Sadly, my four year old did not agree. Everyone’s a critic. Especially preschoolers.

Now, there’s not a lot of baking advice here. Just remember to take your butter and eggs out of the fridge in advance. This will make creaming the butter and sugar a breeze and the room temperature eggs will minimize the risk of curdling. If, when you add the eggs, the mixture does look like it’s starting to curdle, don’t panic. Just add a spoonful or two or the flour and beat that in with the eggs.

You can choose to leave these plain, or to dust with icing sugar. The choice its yours.

Chinese Chews

A simple traybake made with chopped nuts and dates.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine british, Irish
Servings 9 squares


  • 8 oz or 225g dates chopped
  • 4 oz or 110g nuts chopped
  • 3 oz or /85g plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 3 oz or 85g butter softened
  • 4 oz or 110g sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • ¼ tsp almond extract


  • Preheat your oven to 350F/180C (conventional oven) and line a 8"/20cm square tin with baking parchment.
  • Chop the dates and nuts into small pieces.
  • Using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Mix the eggs together with the almond extract and beat into the butter/sugar mixture, a little at a time. Add a little of the flour if this mixture appears to curdle.
  • Fold in the flour. Then fold in the chopped dates and nuts.
  • Spread into your prepared in and bake in a preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden.
  • Leave to cool in the tin, then cut into squares. Either leave as is, or dust the top with icing/powdered sugar before serving.


Keyword dates, easy, nuts, traybakes