I'm surprised I'd never really heard of these lovelies before. Apparently they are a Canadian invention, but in some ways they are a bit reminiscent of a pecan pie. The bars have a nice shortbread bottom and a gooey, caramel-like topping/filling. It's more like a filling, I guess, but it's weird for me to call it a filling when it's on top!
Now, typically you also put raisins or even chopped walnuts in the top filling, but as I'm not a huge fan of either one, and did not have either one in the house when I decided to make these, I decided to just go with the plain filling. If you want something extra in the topping, definitely go ahead and add some raisins or nuts, probably around 2/3-1 cup would be a good amount.
These bars can be quite sweet. I didn't add any salt this time around, but adding about 1/8 teaspoon to both the shortbread and the topping might add an extra depth of flavor as well. They don't necessarily need it as they are certainly good on their own, but certainly it's not something I wouldn't consider and in fact did wonder if the recipe I was reading didn't add in salt because they had used salted butter instead of unsalted. Nonetheless, I decided to do it without salt this time, and they are definitely yummy.
What I like is that the bottom is a nice, firm, shortbread, but the top is straight out of gooey dessert heaven. Eating just the topping on its own, however, would be waaaaay too much, so this combo makes a lot of sense. Way to go, Canadians!
I would definitely make these again. They're super easy and with the way you can add different things into the topping makes it quite versatile. Certainly these are not the healthiest treat around, but that's why you only make a square pan of them instead of a 9x13 huge amount! I mean, duh.
Seriously, though, try these out if you enjoy a nice sugary dessert. I don't think you'll regret it!
Butter Tart Squares
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted, butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup melted, unsalted, butter
- 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease a square 8 or 9 inch pan.
- Mix together the flour, sugar and butter in either a food processor or with a pastry blender until nice and crumbly. Press that into your prepared pan. Bake for 10-13 minutes until light golden brown. Remove and let cool a few minutes while you get the rest ready.
- Whisk together your eggs and brown sugar until well-blended. Stir in the butter, vinegar, vanilla and flour until it's all combined. Then, pour that over your base.
- Bake for another 25-30 minutes until the bars are set and golden. To double check if they are set, you can jiggle the pan a bit. If the middle stays firm, you are good to go.
- Take them out and let them cool completely. You can eat them warm, but they may seem overly sweet as compared to when they are cooled. Enjoy!