These gluten-free Canadian Butter Tart Squares have all the flavours of traditional butter tarts, without having to make pastry! A great choice for a holiday cookie exchange.
Plump raisins, crunchy pecans, and optional sweet coconut fill these slightly gooey, butterscotch-flavoured Gluten-free Canadian Butter Tart Squares, a classic Canadian dessert!
Nana's Butter Tarts, and the Best of Bridge Butter Tart Slice have been two of my all-time favourite things to bake for the holidays. Following a gluten-free diet, however, means that I have to adapt my favourite recipes that are usually made with wheat flour. I was determined to create a gluten-free butter tart square recipe with raisins that would rival the original.
Success! I was really pleased with how these turned out.
While a traditional butter tart square recipe calls for a shortbread crust, once again, I used almond flour as a gluten-free substitute. I found a combination of finely ground almond flour and oat flour worked best to replace the wheat flour, as a shortbread crust does not need gluten for structure.
My next challenge in creating a recipe for gluten-free butter tart bars was to replace the flour in the topping. I knew it was needed to act as a thickening agent, and I also knew that coconut flour was approximately three times more absorbent than wheat flour. Since the original recipe called for one tablespoon of flour, I substituted one teaspoon of coconut flour instead.
Stay with me now. I need to tell you just how delicious these bars are, and to give you the recipe! They're chock full of slightly syrupy butterscotch flavour, and if you're a Butter Tart fan from way back like I am, you need to make these.
A Classic Canadian Dessert Bar!
And if you're from the U.S. and you're not sure what I'm talking about, Butter Tarts and Butter Tart Squares are as popular in Canada as Pecan Tarts or Pecan Pie is in America, and you should definitely make these, too.
Let's get started!
Ingredients for Gluten-Free Butter Tart Squares
- almond flour: finely ground
- oat flour: to help give the almond flour shortbread crust a firmer structure
- butter: butter tart squares need real butter
- sugar: I used white granulated sugar in the crust, and brown sugar in the filling to give it that irresistible butterscotch flavour
- coconut: unsweetened, shredded. Adding coconut to the filling is entirely optional, but it does make them a little more firm
- vanilla extract: pure is best
- raisins: organic sultanas are delicious
- coconut flour: just a teaspoon to help thicken the filling
- chopped nuts: pecan or walnuts. Nuts are optional but good!
How to Make Butter Tart Squares
- Combine the shortbread crust ingredients and press firmly into a 9 " x 13" pan. Lightly grease or spray the sides of the pan.
- Mix the filling ingredients, then spread over the crust and bake.
- Here's the hard part. You have to wait until they are cool to cut them.
- Cool in the pan completely, refrigerate until firm and you'll find cutting them into tidy squares is a breeze.
With nuts or without nuts?
Some people like butter tarts with nuts, some are vehemently opposed! We like them with sultana raisins and either finely chopped pecans or walnuts. I added coconut to this recipe, as well.
How to store
These bars will last for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge. Cut them into squares or bars first, then store in layers with a piece of paper towel or parchment paper in between. This butter tart square recipe is a good choice for a holiday cookie exchange, as they're easy to cut and store.
Are these squares freezer-friendly?
Absolutely! Stored as directed above, they should last for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw for 20 minutes at room temperature and enjoy!
This recipe was originally published in 2016. It was time for an update!
In case you've used my recipe before, I'm letting you know that I've made a minor tweak to this recipe that results in a major improvement to the base of these bars. They now have a sturdier shortbread crust that makes them easier to handle and keeps them firm at room temperature.
Canadian Butter Tart Squares
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- ¾ cup coconut
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 tsp coconut flour
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease or spray the sides of a 9" x 13" baking pan.
- Put the crust ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Alternatively, put ingredients in a large bowl and cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives.
- Press the crust mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and add the remaining ingredients, stirring until blended.
- Spread the filling over the crust.
- Bake at 350°F. for 30 - 35 minutes or until middle is set.
- Cool completely in pan. Chill or freeze before cutting to insure clean cuts. Cut into squares and then into bars to serve.
I adapted this recipe from Butter Tart Slice in the Best of Bridge cookbook, The Best of the Best and More.
Love Butter Tarts? Here's what I think is the best recipe ever, Nana's Butter Tarts from my mother-in-law.
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