DATE BARS — Gourmet, September 1945



14 graham crackers
3 eggs
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups chopped dates (an 8 oz package)
1 cup coarsely chopped or whole walnuts
Confectioners sugar


Pre-heat oven to 375 F

Reduce graham crackers to coarse meal in food processor. Mix in salt and baking powder. Add dates and walnuts. Beat the eggs well and mix with brown sugar. Mix this into the dry ingredients. Line a 9″ x 9″ pan with parchment paper and butter it. Pour into pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove, cool, and when firm enough, cut into 36 pieces and toss in confectioner’s sugar.

This recipe has a curious history. It supposedly came from Katish, a colorful Russian emigre cook for a wealthy Los Angeles family. Stories of Katish’s adventures in America, along with her recipes, appeared in Gourmet magazine during the post-war years and were later collected into a popular book. However, Katish seems to have been entirely a fiction, whipped up for the purpose of selling stories and a Russian recipe book. Katish and her book are patterned off an even more famous book, Clementine in the Kitchen, about the adventures of a French girl who is hired to cook in an East Coast kitchen.


These bar cookies are very firm, chewy, and overpoweringly sweet. So sweet that the sugar blots out other flavors. Edible (I finished them all), but not something I would make again. However, I got to thinking that the recipe oddly has no shortening. Would that help? I made it again, this time creaming a stick of butter with the sugar, then adding the eggs, and then the dry ingredients in the usual order. I also added a teaspoon of vanilla. The results were, I thought, improved. The crumb was more open and tender, and the butter somehow cut the overwhelming sweetness. I was reminded of a dense carrot cake.

I think this recipe has possibilities. Suppose we replace the dates with dried apricots, the walnuts with almonds, and add 1/4 tsp or so of almond extract, along with the added butter and vanilla? Will be be trying that soon.

First photo below from Gourmet, second photo mine.

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