These Butter Tart Squares are so sweet and gooey — a shortbread crust makes these so easy and SO good! So much quicker than butter tarts.
Please tell me you’ve had a butter tart.
If you haven’t, American friends, I am truly, truly sympathetic. Luckily, I’m sharing this recipe with you today. And Butter Tart Squares are so much easier than butter tarts.
When I cook, and create new recipes for the blog, I really try to think outside the box. I try to come up with some things that I (and maybe you) have never seen before.
But every once in a while I think maybe the best place to start is with what I already know and love. Maybe those are the recipes you really want. Maybe those are even recipes that you’ve never seen before.
So I know the butter tart is a Canadian thing, but tell me some American bakeries have caught on. If not, now is your chance to experience something totally unreal.
It’s butter. And brown sugar.
And essentially, not much more. You need some eggs in there to hold everything together. And you need something to put it on.
I’ve been meaning to make actual butter tarts for the blog for a long time now, but the thought of making homemade pastry and forming tart shells is just overwhelming right now. So I texted my sister and asked her for a butter tart square recipe.
I was right in assuming she would have one. She texted me right back with a picture of her recipe card. And all of her notes on it. I think I even managed to interpret it correctly.
But some of her notes just didn’t work out for me, so I knew I definitely needed a place to document the version that worked for me. The funny thing is, I have this blog here.
So, please, if you’ve never had a butter tart, start with these squares. You won’t believe how easy they are.
Updates to this Butter Tart Squares recipe:
This post, recipe and the images have been updated from November 2014 — five years later it was time!
I wanted to clarify which things I’ve adjusted from the original recipe to make it work even better, just in case you’ve been here and you’ve made them before:
- I added a tablespoon or two of water to the base — just enough so that it holds together when you squeeze it.
- I no longer recommend baking in a small cookie sheet — a 9×13″ baking pan will give you the best results and nice thick gooey layers!
- I no longer recommend lining the pan with tin foil (as I did often 5 years ago) — instead I recommend using parchment paper or nothing at all but a good layer of non stick spray. The problem with parchment is that the crust won’t hug the sides of the pan as tightly, which means a bit of the filling will drip down the edges. This is a not a real problem — but you will have some caramelized sugar along the sides. Don’t worry, it won’t leak all over the bottom under the crust.
- The vinegar, because some people have commented, is to cut through some of the sweetness and is a traditional ingredient in butter tart squares. If you prefer, or you’re worried about it, you can reduce to 1 tablespoon or omit, but I recommend enjoying with a strong cup of coffee.
How to store Butter Tart Squares:
- These Butter Tart Squares can be refrigerated for one week in an airtight container
- To store for a longer period, place in an airtight container or freezer bag, with wax paper or parchment in between the layers, and freeze for up to 3 months. They are delicious straight out of the freezer, or thaw at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
Butter Tart Squares
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 tbsp powdered icing sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter cold, cubed
- 1-2 tablespoons cold water optional
- 1/2 cup butter unsalted
- 3 cups brown sugar lightly packed
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- optional: 3/4 cup raisins
- Line a 9x13" pan and line with parchment paper or spray with non stick. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine flour and powdered sugar.
- Cut butter into icing sugar and flour with a pastry cutter or your hands until pea-sized lumps of butter remain. When you grab a handful and squeeze, you want it to hold together. If it doesn't hold together, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
- Dump flour mixture into pan and press down evenly to form a crust. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare your filling. In a medium bowl, melt butter in the microwave.
- Whisk in brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, then add the vinegar and vanilla. Stir in raisins if using.
- Pour over crust and bake another 25-30 minutes until filling is set or almost set -- a slight jiggle is fine but you don't want a lot of movement. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate several hours before slicing.