Mrs. Edna M. Lorimer of Haverhill, Massachusetts, won $3—a second-place finish—for these delicious brownies in Yankee’s June 1949 reader recipe contest. At the time, dates were still a novel and exotic ingredient, having first been grown commercially in the 1920s—and we love how they add caramel flavor and extra chewiness to the classic bars.
Preheat your oven to 350° and set a rack to the center position. Line an 8x8-inch (or 9x9-inch) square baking pan with aluminum foil, making the sheets long enough to drape over the sides (to make it easier to remove the bars later). Grease the foil with butter.
Set up a double boiler and bring the water to a simmer. Put the chocolate and butter in the top and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and dates, and stir to combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake, rotating pan halfway through, until the brownies are just beginning to pull away from the sides and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the pan. Cool the brownies in the pan 20 minutes; then lift the foil to remove. When warm, dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into squares, and serve.