Butter Tart Squares Recipe

Delightfully rich and sweet butter tarts are a home baked favourite during the Christmas holiday season. Tarts are yummy but they can also be quite a bit of work to prepare which is why it is nice to know that you can get around all that extra work by using my mom's special recipe instead. Her butternut squares are pure heaven on the palate. 
They are a delicious ooey gooey sweet dessert treat that is so very easy to make. 

In this recipe the ingredients that go into making traditional butter tarts are instead put into a square baking pan so you don't have to form and fill shells. The base is alike a shortbread cookie in flavour and texture but is pressed into the base of the pan rather than shaped into biscuits. It's a recipe that is delightfully quick and easy to make and ideal to serve up as a festive dessert treat for the Easter or Christmas holiday season. I find they suit virtually any occasion that requires the serving of a decadent sweet.

I had forgotten this recipe for quite a few years but then one day stumbled upon it inside a box of hand written recipes my mom had gifted to me in her elder years. It is a dessert she prepared quite often for special occasions and cuts the butter tart baking process by at least half. You get all the flavour of the traditional tart but it takes little time to whip up a batch of these squares and cleanup afterwards is a breeze. It is a wonderfully quick dessert to create but no one will ever guess how simple it is unless you let them in on the secret. These bar cookies look and taste too good to be this easy but that is a deliciously sweet secret that you don't have to share unless you want to.

All the ingredients that go into making butter tarts are put into a square baking pan so you don't have to take the time to form and fill tart shells. It is an ideal dessert to present at a social tea or to serve to the family as an everyday after school treat.

Bottom Crust Ingredients:

Three cups flour
Four tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine

Sauce Filling:

Two eggs
One teaspoon vanilla
Two teaspoons vinegar
1/3 cup soft butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8th teaspoon salt
3/4 cup soaked raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
One cup syrup

You can use pancake syrup, pure maple syrup, or corn syrup in this recipe. I used Aunt Jemima butter flavoured syrup simply because it was the brand I had on hand.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cut together your crust ingredients till the dough has a crumbly texture. Either a pastry cutter or a fork will work. As the butter is worked in I will crumble the dough lightly between my hands.

3. Divide the dough between two 8x8 buttered baking pans. Press dough into the bottom of the pans to form a thick crust.

4. In a second bowl combine the ingredients for the butter tart filling. Blend with mixer. This will chop the butter into smaller pieces. The ingredients for your filling should be thoroughly blended but you will still likely have tiny dabs of butter throughout the mix.This is okay. The butter will melt during the baking process.
5.Divide this mixture over the two crusts you have previously prepared. Spread the mixture to evenly cover both the bottom crusts.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly before cutting and serving. 

The bottom crust tastes deliciously like a shortbread cookie while the topping is buttery sweet and nutty. The squares look and taste luxuriously extravagant. 

These bars are also the perfect holiday delicacy. At Christmas time when life can be busy any recipe that can simplify holiday baking is a bonus. I love this recipe.

Butter tarts are ooey gooey sweet goodness that are so very delicious served up with your other home baked treats for the holidays. They are definitely one of my favourite desserts at any time of the year. What an ooey gooey sweet temptation they are.

People Who do Their Own Baking are Superheroes

When you skip the snack aisle at the grocery store and do your own baking you really do have superpowers. You have the ability to create healthier snacks, treats, and desserts for your family. You have the ability to control the ingredients in your recipes so you can adapt and alter to make these foods healthier for your family.

You can reduce the salt and sugar that go into the recipes you cook. That one step alone can have a tremendous impact on a person's health. You can substitute bad fats for good ones and replace unhealthy ingredients with much healthier options. Way to go! You really do know how to bake up a little love in every bite of food you serve up to your family and friends.You are a superhero and your super powers may help to keep those that you love a little bit healthier.

Simple Substitutions for a Healthier You

1. To make your desserts just a smidge healthier add fruit or nuts into your recipe. Most recipes can be easily adapted to replace, reduce, or eliminate any ingredients of your choosing.

2. Reduce the sugar you use or substitute it for honey. Chuck the corn syrup and use regular syrup instead.

3. Avoid transfat margarine. These fats are exceptionally hard on the heart as they tend to clog the arteries. Read the ingredients on every product before you purchase it. Saturated fats in baked goods can be  reduced or removed by substituting them with other ingredients such as banana or apple sauce ( just use equal amounts of mashed fruit to replace the oil) or use healthier fats and oils in your instead. 

4. Use 1% milk rather than evaporated or whole milk to reduce fat.

6. Cook with oatmeal whenever possible. Oatmeal is soluble fibre and classed as a heart healthy food. Fruit crisps and oatmeal cookies are delicious and have a healthier more filling added bonus to their consumption.