Meet Canada’s BEST dessert! Gooey butter tart filling packed with pecans on a sweet buttery crust. Butter Tart Squares are everything you love about classic Butter Tarts, but in a bar format.
If you’re Canadian like me, then you probably already know just how delicious butter tart squares are. And if you’re not, prime your palate for the richest and most indulgent dessert you’ll ever try!
This simple recipe combines just a few basic ingredients, including brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vinegar. Although people sometimes look at me in horror when I mention the vinegar, I’ve always found that it’s key for a deep flavor and balancing sweetness!
Although the shortbread base is utterly divine, it’s the smooth and flavorful filling that makes these bad boys fly out of the kitchen. The filling is almost molasses-like, and you can get a slight crunch from the chopped pecans if you’re into nuts.
And hey, there’s nothing stopping you getting creative with everything from chocolate chips to walnuts.
Why You’ll Love These Butter Tart Squares
- They’re Canada’s best dessert (so, they need to be tried at least once!).
- The sweet and buttery crust make these squares incredibly delicious.
- They’re portable enough for lunchboxes and leftovers.
- The slightly gooey filling complements the butter-based crust perfectly.
- Your entire family are bound to love the rich and strong flavors in every bite.
The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.
For the crust
- Salted butter
- Powdered sugar (Or as we call it in Canada, “icing sugar”)
- All-purpose flour
For the filling
- Brown sugar
- Salted butter
- White vinegar
- Vanilla extract
- Pecans (chopped)
How to Make Butter Tart Squares
- Step One: Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Step Two: Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
- Step Three: In a large bowl, combine the butter, powdered sugar and flour. You can then press this mixture into the base of the pan.
- Step Four: Bake the cookie base for 5 minutes
- Step Five: In another large bowl, stir together brown sugar, melted butter, eggs, vinegar, vanilla extract, and pecans.
- Step Six: Pour this mixture over the baked crust.
- Step Seven: Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is golden.
- Step Eight: Let the tarts cool before cutting them into squares and serving!
You’ll need just a few pieces of equipment to make the magic happen with these incredible butter tart squares. So, make sure you grab them for best results!
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What to Serve with Butter Tart Squares
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Make sure you don’t substitute all-purpose flour for self-raising. Self-raising flour has its benefits, but you’re not trying to achieve a rise with your base!
- If you’re struggling with a claggy or overly thick filling base, try adding just a touch of water to the mixture. A tablespoon or two is usually enough – just don’t make it too runny! If your mixture is too thick or too thin, your bars will probably fall apart.
- The vinegar is designed to remove some of the natural sweetness from the recipe. This makes it perfectly balanced and won’t give you that sickly sweet taste! So, don’t miss it out.
- Have your butter at room temperature to start. This will help it incorporate with the rest of the ingredients and helps avoid a lumpy mixture.
- If you have a stand mixer, that’s probably the best thing to use for the filling. If not, working by hand or using a food processor are fine!
- To make removing your bars as easy as possible, put a layer of baking parchment along the base of your pan. This way, the base of the bars won’t stick or crumble!
- Always make sure the base of your bars has fully cooled before adding the filling. This will help you avoid the dreaded spread of your filling ingredients!
- You’ll know when your filling is done when a light jiggle of the pan results in zero movement. If it’s still wobbly, keep the bars in the oven.
- If you’re struggling with pressing the filling down, lightly moisten the back of a fork. This should help you get into those nooks and crannies of the pan.
Variations and Substitutions
- If you don’t like pecans, just leave them out! This recipe also works well with raisins, chocolate chips, walnuts, and virtually any classic mix-in. The sky’s the limit when the result is guaranteed to be delicious!
- I like using darker brown sugar for a richer filling. If you prefer a lighter bite that’s less molasses-like, opt for light brown sugar!
These butter tart squares can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
I recommend storing them in an airtight container to maintain their freshness, but they should be fine covered with foil or plastic wrap.
Can I Freeze?
You can freeze these butter tart squares!
You just need to pop them in an airtight container or freezer bag with some parchment paper separating the layers.
They should last for up to 3 months stored like this, but it’s always worth checking for freezer burn.
When you’re ready to eat your bars, you can either eat them as-is out of the freezer or thaw them in the fridge.
Oh, and I always recommend cutting these bars before freezing them or you’ll struggle to separate each slice!
Butter Tart Inspired Recipes
- Keto Pecan Butter Tarts – These keto pecan butter tarts are a keto variation on this delicious recipe! They’re perfect if you’re eating low-carb.
- Pecan Butter Tart Buns – I can’t get enough of pecans, and these soft and tender buns are a sweet treat you’re bound to love. Eat them as-is or cover them with a tasty sauce!
- Butter Tart Muffins – If you want to turn these buttery tarts into a breakfast bonanza, then you’re going to adore these muffins. They’re packed with raisins for a hint of sweetness, and the brown sugar filling brings it all together.
- Pecan Butter Tarts – If you can’t get enough of traditional butter tarts, then swap the bars out for these round wonders!
Butter Tart Squares
- ½ cup salted butter
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup salted butter melted
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
- In a large bowl, combine butter, powdered sugar and flour. Press into baking pan. Bake for 5 minutes.
- In another large bowl, stir together brown sugar, melted butter, eggs, vinegar, vanilla extract and pecans. Pour over crust.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until top is golden. Let cool before cutting into squares.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.