These Maple Walnut Squares are a classic sweet treat, with a shortbread base, a sweet, maple filling and lots of nuts. They set up beautifully, so they cut nicely and are perfect for anything from a bake sale to a BBQ, to a sweets table.
These Maple Walnut Squares are delicious, sweet bites with tons of maple flavour in the filling, lots of nuts and a crispy shortbread crust.
And they taste just like butter tarts! (And that’s a very good thing :)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup heavy (35%) whipping cream
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- 2/3-3/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans, or a mixture of both)
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan (with straight sides) with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on at least two sides (for removing it easily after baking).
- In a food processor (or in a bowl with a pastry cutter or two knives), whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and pulse/cut until mixture starts to come together. Stir in 1/4 cup of finely chopped walnuts. Pat evenly in to prepared 8-inch pan.
- Bake crust in centre of the preheated 350 F. oven until golden and set, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven, but leave oven on. While crust is baking, whisk together the filling ingredients and set aside. Then, scatter nuts evenly over a baking sheet and set aside.
- Once base is out of the oven, place baking sheet with the nuts in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until nuts are lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove nuts from oven and scatter over cooked crust. Re-whisk filling, the pour over-top. Use a fork to evenly distribute the nuts floating on top, if necessary.
- Place in 350 F. oven and bake until filling is set about 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a cooling rack, then carefully lift out of pan using the parchment paper edges. (I like to refrigerate for a bit before cutting in to squares, just to make the whole process neater, but the squares are quite sturdy without refrigerating, once cooled.) Cut in to squares. Eat as is, or serve on a dessert plate with a dollop of whipped cream and a scattering of nuts.
I like a combination of pecans and walnuts in these squares. Use what you have or like.
If neatness of squares is important (for presentation), once cooled, remove to a cutting board and cut off all the edges by about 1/2-3/4 inch, then cut the remaining piece in to equal squares.
While these are sweet, they are not over-the-top sweet. The nuts do a great job of tempering the sweetness, especially slightly bitter walnuts.
If you like the sweet/salty combination, sprinkle some finishing salt (like Maldon’s/Fleur de Sel) on top as soon as the squares come out of the oven.
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