I got the craving for something sweet and maple tasting on this cold morning. This is an easy one to do, a one dish recipe, my favorite kind. I suggest doubling it.  Maple is the star of this show.I’m doing a class at Longo’s The Loft – “A Touch of Canada, Eh!” It is maple syrup based so it truly is a Canadian theme. This isn’t in the class (but there is plenty else – so drop by. I know, shameless self-promotion :))

I have made variations with this recipe, my most recent – today, a bit of flaked salt on top just added to the top in the last 10 minutes of baking – yes I jumped on the “salted” anything bandwagon. Maldon sea salt to be precise, I bought a large container from the Jean-Talon market in Montreal, when my kids took my wife and I there last year for our anniversary. I recommend the market, the city and the salt highly! You don’ have to put the salt on the bars if you are on a low sodium diet, it’s just an extra flavoring addition. There is salt in the maple mixture the recipe calls for it, so you don’t have to add more if you don’t want to.

Line the tray with parchment to make removal/clean-up much easier. The original recipe calls for an 8×8 container, I did mine in a 9×13 container so I doubled the recipe. I had enough left over to experiment with making some in mini-muffin tins – ideal for the buffet table as the Christmas season approaches. Free form, nothing fussy about crimped and primped edges, just sprayed the tins, finger/thumb pressed some of the dough in, threw some chopped pecans and topped with a teaspoon of the maple mixture. When the mini-muffin tarts come out of the oven the first time, use the back of a wooden spoon to press the half-baked dough forming a well, and then add the nuts and the mixture so they stay in place. This is a great tasting bar. My favorite type of dessert. As always – enjoy!

For the Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed – but I preferred the not packed 1/3 cup, too sweet with the packed
1/2 cup unsalted Churn 84, softened

For the Filling
1 large egg
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed – but I preferred the not packed 1/3 cup, too sweet with the packed
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup pecans – whole or chopped – both work equally well, but using the chopped makes it easier to cut the bars into nice squares

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray and line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment
Make the crust by combining flour and brown sugar – whisk/stir
Cut in the butter until you have pea-sized lumps – unlike short crust pastry where the butter needs to be cold, soft butter makes this step easier
Turn mixture out into prepared pan and hard pack it with a spatula or hands to form a smooth, even crust – I like to build a higher edge by pressing the edges higher. This keeps the liquid mixture from seeping over into the bottom of my prepared tin – why waste this liquid deliciousness
Bake for 17 to 18 minutes, or until crust is just set – while crust bakes, prepare the filling

Using the same bowl, make the filling by whisking the egg, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and salt
Stir in the pecans and set aside until crust is done baking
After crust has baked and cooled for a few minutes, pour the filling over the crust, using a fork, spread the pecans evenly – aren’t you glad you made higher edges!
I have done this method and I have also individually placed the pecans in the hot crust and gently pushed them in to hold them in place, then poured the mixture (without the nuts) over – both methods work well – just depends how much time/patience you have – remember it’s a bar, not a fine tart. Trust me, one bite and they won’t even care what it looks like!
Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven – it will still be liquid, sprinkle the sea salt over top and bake for a further 6 – 10 minutes until set
Use an oven mitt to shake the pan gently starting at about 16 minutes, and use your judgment –i.e. it shouldn’t jiggle when you remove it from the oven
The bars will set up more as they cool
Place pan on a wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares

Maple Pecan1a

Maple Pecan6a


Maple Pecan3a