Butter tart squares

Butter Tart Bars are two treats in one! A buttery shortbread crust forms the base, and a sweet gooey filling is baked on top. It’s a delicious way to enjoy this classic Canadian treat without all the fuss of making pastry tart shells.

These delicious treats are a bit similar to a pecan pie. But not the same. If you are Canadian, then you know exactly what I mean. One thing for sure, classic butter tarts are delectable, sweet, gooey treats, and they are an especially popular indulgence during the holiday season here in Canada.

Butter tarts are really a very simple recipe. There’s a pastry tart shell, and the sweet and simple filling, which is made with eggs, brown sugar, (or sometimes maple syrup) and, of course, butter.

There is, almost always, an addition of either raisins, walnuts, currants, or pecans. Canadians tend to feel strongly about their traditional butter tarts, and people can have very strong preferences about the add-ins! For the record, I am on team raisin.

These squares come together quickly. The originally recipe suggests that you cut them into 16 squares. They seemed a bit large to me so I cut each square in half diagonally to create butter tart triangles. The nice things about bite sized treats at Christmas is you can eat more without seeming to have overindulged. The mind is a tricky calorie counter.

This recipe has an ingredient in the filling that might seem a bit off – vinegar. Don’t be put off by that as it is a classic addition in butter tarts to tame the sweetness and help the filling set. In addition to the arguments about butter tart add ins there are heated discussions about the runniness of the filling. With squares you definitely don’t want a filling that is too liquid!

Butter Tart Squares

Butter Tarts made simpler in one pan with a shortbread base, are still gooey, sweet and delicious.
Servings 16 squares (or 32 triangles)


  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup REAL maple syrup would work as well
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 cup raisins or currants


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a 9×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the first three ingredients. Mix using a pastry cutter or your hands until crumbly. Press into the prepared baking pan . Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  • While the base is baking combine the remaining ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix well. Pour over the base after it has baked for 10 minutes.
  • Bake for an additional 30-40 minutes until the topping is browned and no longer appears runny. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
  • When completely cooled cut into 16 squares or 32 triangles.