Butter Tart Squares

Stress baking.

A term that unfortunately I am all too familiar with.

For some bizarre reason, whenever I feel:

a) Out of it; b) Stressed; c) Like there aren’t enough hours in the day; d) All of the above

I get an urge to escape those awful feelings and bake something, preferably something that doesn’t take up too much time, is delicious, and can be shared with friends should I ever have enough time for a social life. It’s a fairly counter-intuitive process, since baking something usually takes up time and energy, but it happens anyway. Stress baking isn’t logical, y’all!

The past couple days, I’ve been really nervous for my midterm exam (tomorrow) in my Cognition class. There’s a ton of information to learn, including 11 extremely detailed coronal sections of the human brain, and yes, I am expected to learn every single structure. Is it bad to admit that I’ve only memorized 7 so far?

Plus I have NaNo, plus I have exercise class tonight, plus I’m not sure what I’m going to make for dinner. Probably perogies. I was also a bit peeved/irritable because I did a work-out video yesterday, hoping it would pump me with some endorphins and give me a little energy boost. NO SUCH LUCK. Instead I felt even more exhausted and irritable. Boo!

So this morning, when I woke up, I decided to make butter tart squares. That just sounds like all kinds of goodness, doesn’t it? They’re extremely easy, require very few ingredients, and are probably the most delicious thing you’ll eat all week. Let me show you how to make them.

Butter Tart Squares

Adapted from my mom’s recipe

Makes an 8×8 pan of squares

For the base

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
For the filling
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp flour
Visual cast of characters:
(not pictured: brown sugar + butter..because I’m forgetful)


Preheat the oven to 350, and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.


Cube your butter.


For the base: mix together the flour and the sugar. Cut in the butter until it is distributed throughout the flour mixture in tiny bits – like pebbles. It should look something like this.



Press the flour mixtures into the pan with your fingers. Try and distribute it as evenly as possible, making sure the corners get filled in. It’s good to try and keep this step short, since the heat from your fingers might start to melt the butter and make the base sticky or less easy to manipulate. Bake the layer for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are only slightly browned.



In the meantime, make the filling. Cream together the brown sugar and butter until it’s light and fluffy. Then beat in the corn syrup and eggs until smooth, and add the vanilla, stirring to combine. In a small separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder, then stir into the filling.



Once the base is cooked, spread the filling overtop evenly, then bake for 2o-25 minutes or until it’s set (not wiggling around when you jiggle the pan!). Cool completely before cutting. In our house, we cut off the crusty edges before making pretty squares, and we nibble them as snacks. Mmm.



Can you say om nom?


If desired (and it’s always desired), sprinkle the bars with a small amount of sea salt before serving.



These things are highly addictive, so I recommend storing half in the freezer to increase your will power.


And dig in! Try and stay positive, and remember that the stress will soon go away. I’ll try and keep telling myself that too. Bon appetit!


What’s your favourite recipe for simple squares? Do you like this play on a traditional Quebecois sugar pie? 

3 thoughts on “Butter Tart Squares”

  1. Pingback: Creative coping. » Life In Limbo

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