Butter Tart Squares with Raisins and Walnuts have a rich caramel taste with a gooey, chewy texture. Don’t miss this easy to make version of traditional Canadian Butter Tarts.
With a buttery shortcake bottom and caramel-like filling, these bars really have it all. Filled with raisins and chopped walnuts, they are sure to be your new favorite dessert square.
This simple recipe for butter tart squares would be a perfect dessert treat to serve on the holidays, for a shower or brunch, or just to have on hand when company arrives. They are simple and delicious, and the chewy gooey center really satisfies the sweet tooth!
Traditional Canadian Butter Tarts Variations
This recipe is inspired by traditional Canadian Butter Tarts. However, making them is much easier by turning those tasty tart treats into bite-sized squares.
The traditional butter tart is a tart consisting of butter, sugar, syrup, and egg baked into a small pastry shell. What makes the butter tart so delicious is the sweet bottom, gooey center, and semi-solid crunchy top.
As a Canadian expat, traditional Butter Tarts are still one of my favorites treats to make. However, they can be time consuming with having to make individualized pastry shells and, personally, sometimes too sweet with the only sugar-based filling.
The variations that exist for this tart include adding raisins, walnuts, and/or pecans. Around the Thanksgiving, I like to make the traditional tarts, but add in pecans to give it an almost mini pecan pie feel.
For these squares, I have added raisins and walnuts to give the traditional butter tart a chewy texture which slightly calms the sweetness from the tart. Even better the whole recipe is made in a 9 x 9 inch baking dish so there is no need to form individual tartlets.
How to Make Butter Tart Squares
There are only two layers to the squares, although it may look like more because of the top. That’s what so great about these bars! They get a slightly crunchy top to cover that gooey middle.
Firstly, you need to make the bottom layer. This is a simple shortbread layer involving flour, brown sugar, and chilled cubed butter that you have to cut into the dough.
There are a couple of ways you could cut the butter into the dough. Pictured above is a traditional pastry cutter / dough blender that you use to cut the butter up and mix it with the flour and sugar. If you don’t have one of these, you could always cut it in using two butter knives (although it takes longer, this option does work!) Alternatively, you could put the ingredients in a food processor and pulse just until the butter is less than pea-sized and incorporated with the rest of the mixture.
Next, press the mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 9 baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes until just set.
Secondly, to make the filling you will need to cream together the brown sugar and eggs until frothy. This is an essential step and really gives the butter tart squares the puffed and chewy center. You can use a hand mixer or whisk for this step. Beat until the eggs and sugar are incorporated and the mixture looks lighter in color.
Butter Tart Squares with Raisins and Walnuts
Lastly, fold in the remaining ingredients, including the walnuts and raisins. You could substitute pecans for the walnuts or golden raisins if you like. Additionally, you could leave the raisins and walnuts out altogether and make a more traditional version of the Canadian butter tart.
Pour on top of the baked shortbread layer and return to oven for about 25-30 minutes or until just set in the center.
Cool the squares on a wire rack completely before cutting, if you can wait that long! You could also pop these in the fridge. I like to cut my squares into small pieces, which is why I say you can get 36 squares from this recipe.
Give these squares a try today! I know you are going to love them.
Here are some other tasty square recipes you’ll love:
Butter Tart Squares
- 9 x 9 inch baking pan
- pastry cutter
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces (one stick)
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (could substitue pecans)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside a 9 x 9 ungreased baking pan.
- To prepare the bottom layer, whisk together the 1 1/4 cup flour and 1/3 cup of brown sugar. Cut in the chilled butter cubes using a pastry knife or two butter knives. Alternatively, you could pulse this mixture in a food processor until crumbly. Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Cool slighly on wire rack.
- To prepare the top layer, beat together the 1 cup of brown sugar and eggs, until light and thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the 1/4 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Fold in the raisins and walnuts.
- Pour top layer over bottom layer and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the center of the squares is almost firm. Cool completely before cutting into squares.